The world’s happiest country survey for 2017 just came out. Once again, a Scandinavian country has grabbed the honor of being number one. I don’t know quite how they manage it, but then, I happen to be a warm weather kind of guy so what do I know? This time around, it’s Norway in the numero uno slot, displacing Denmark which had held the top ranking for the past three years. Now here’s my question: Do you believe that the Danes are all going to jump into the Baltic or North Seas like the lemmings leaving Norway? Or, do you believe they really don’t give a damn and have no clue as to what it’s like to be viewed as the world’s former happiest country? And how about the Norwegians, jumping from the number four slot to take top honors? Are they holding parades or are they just going about their daily business.
The United States? Oh, we’re there somewhere…can you say “number fourteen,” dropping a spot from last year [Note the opportunity for political comment that is not being exploited here despite the wringing of hands and the gnashing of teeth]. Asking around at the gym about the world’s happiest country, people look at me like I have two heads or something…I must remember to leave one of my heads at home in the morning before going to the gym…little wonder my heads-aches have been getting worse.
Just to give you a bit of background, “In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognized happiness as a ‘fundamental human goal.’ In 2012, in the first ever UN Conference on Happiness, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that the International Day of Happiness would be celebrated on March 20 every year. It was celebrated for the first time in 2013. Since then the world has come a long way. Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. In June 2016 the OECD committed itself ‘to redefine the growth narrative to put people’s well-being at the center of governments’ efforts.’ In February 2017, the United Arab Emirates held a full-day World Happiness meeting, as part of the World Government Summit. Now on World Happiness Day, March 20th, we launch the World Happiness Report 2017, once again back at the United Nations, again published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and now supported by a generous three-year grant from the Ernesto Illy Foundation.”
It appears to me that the United Nations, once more, has done something that is just about as ineffective as anything else that the UN has ever done. I have no quarrel with world happiness. In fact, I think that world happiness is a hell of an idea, as I’m quite sure the members of ISIS, the Taliban, Al Queda, and the rebels in Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo. In East Africa, the countries include Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda. What the hell does the UN know about happiness or unhappiness for that matter? Can you imagine the United Arab Emirates holding a full-day World Happiness Meeting when twenty percent of the population is living below the poverty level? Who the hell is trying to kid whom?
Norway, for all of its happiness, still has a poverty problem, and for children, it is a growing poverty problem. How can any country bear a title such has been given to the Norwegians as long as there is one, yes one person living below the poverty level? In Africa alone, there are 332 million people without access to clean water. In Latin America and the Caribbean, that number is 32 million. According to the United Nation’s International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), “Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day. 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.” And some other group within the UN is talking about a frigging world happiness day? Come on, folks, get your shit together and spend a little more time and money on alleviating the ills of the world. How about, instead of world happiness, we concentrate on world crisis day, where every man and woman living above the millionaire or billionaire line donates $100,000 to alleviate world poverty. However, this money should not be turned over to the UN or to any single country. Put it into the hands of people who can make it really work. If the UN wants to establish a committee to determine what the best charities are, and who will make the best use of the collected funds, fine, but keep governments and politics out of it.
World’s happiest country is a joke and it’s unconscionable to believe that anyone in the UN would even consider such a ranking. This brings idiocy to an all-time high, and until such time as Chad or Cameroon, Guatemala or Suriname become the “world’s happiest country,” I will continue to believe that the majority of UN committees are nothing but boondoggles for poor little rich folk to spend a few years in New York City.