For most of us, the key of a happy existence is to have enough food to feed ourselves and our families and enough money to buy what we want and when we want to.
For example, this means to have a nice home, decent clothes, a car or two, cable TV, good times with family and friends. Moreover, being happy means that we get the chance to speak freely about what’s on our mind and feel safe and secure in our home.
If we extend the meaning of “being happy” we can say that getting an education and being an entrepreneur is part of the list.
The fact is that it would be very satisfying to have a big idea and then transform it into a successful business. What’s more delightful than knowing all the way that the harder you work, the more reward you can expect?
Researchers at the Legatum Institute, a London-based nonpartisan think tank, had this in mind when they set out to rank the happiest countries in the world. Of course, in this case “happy” equals “prosperity”.
According to Forbes, the objective of the institute’s work was to figure out what it is that makes happy countries happy – so that the less fortunate corners of the globe might have a benchmark to work toward.
The research is based on a study of 142 countries comprising 96% of global population. Nations are analyzed and ranked on 89 indicators in eight categories, such as education, government and economics.
The inputs for the index are both objective and subjective. It’s not enough to just look at per capita GDP or unemployment rates. It also matters how hard people think it is to find jobs, or how convinced they are that hard work can bring success.
Therefore, these are the places where the happiest people in the world live:
5. New Zealand
8. The Netherlands
Norway takes the crown, so it’s safe to ask – what’s got that the rest of the world doesn’t?
First of all, a stunning per capita GDP of $57.000 a year and also, Norwegians have the second-highest level of satisfaction with their standards of living: Ninety-five percent say they are satisfied with the freedom to choose the direction of their lives; an unparalleled 74% say other people can be trusted.
An interesting fact is that most of the top 20 “happiest” countries according to the index are in Western Europe. So, what do these nations have in common that can somehow explain their prosperity?
- they are all borderline socialist states
- they are small – big countries are more unwieldy
- they don’t let that socialism cross the line into autocracy
- there are few restrictions on the flow of capital or of labor.