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The Blue & Gray Press | August 18, 2019

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How do you measure happiness?


Imagine you were handed a piece of paper or told to log on to a site to complete a survey, and it asked you to rate your happiness in America based on a zero-to-ten scale. What factors would you take into consideration?

Would you take a more individualistic approach, or would you take a more holistic worldview approach to answering that question?

In 2012, the United Nations reported that the top five countries with the highest levels of happiness were Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands and Sweden.

The least happy countries were reported to be Togo, Benin, Central African Republic and Sierra Leone, with average life evaluation scores of 3.4.

The UN used a Gallup World Poll in which surveyors were asked, using fresh annual samples of 1,000 respondents aged 15 or over in each of more than 150 countries, to evaluate the quality of their lives on a ten-point ladder scale, with zero being the worst and ten being the best.

The world poll is based on a framework called the Gallup Macroeconomic Path, a leadership model for successful societies.

While this information was used to analyze the well being and progression of society in countries and implement public policy domestically, what does it say for the gap between developed and developing countries?

Not surprisingly, the statistics show that developed countries that are both stable and economically prosperous have a higher rate of happy people, whereas underdeveloped and unstable countries tend to contain people who are less happy.

Global governance, in turn, is a theory that is commonly called upon as a source of eradicating the division between developed and developing countries. For, the idea is that if the world were to be under a global system the problems of the developing world could be more easily addressed.

It seems simple, but of course it is complex, dirty and warped just like politics always are. I do not support a world government, but I do see how it could work.

For me, as a millennial who has seen a fair share of war, as I am living in a world that has not stopped fighting, whether it’s been in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia or even here in the United States, how can I even begin to think of a unified global unit?

I could not say what it is like for every single person in Norway, Sweden or Switzerland on a daily basis and what makes them happy, nor do I believe could a score of zero-to-ten.

However, I could say how I would rate my happiness if asked in a survey. My line of thinking is very inclusive, and I do not think I would answer such a question without looking at the rest of the world.

I sit in the 11th happiest country in the world, as of 2012, and type on the lit keyboard of my shiny silver MacBook Air, and I am not happy that the world is concerned with my happiness and not the real issue: what is causing the unhappiness.

The economic prosperity of the United States has allowed me to live in a bubble where I am seemingly unaffected by the plight of the rest of the world. But I am not unaffected; the thought lingers in my head on the fact that a teenager in Syria or Iran has seen their school demolished and subsequently their future squandered while I type away and at the same time worry that I have finals next week.