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Denmark: Small, Happy Prosperous Families (Commentary)

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Denmark: Small, Happy Prosperous Families -- In Contrast to U.S.

 

CopenhagenMetroCropped6.jpg

 

Despite the difficulties associated with quantifying happiness, each year the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) unveils its report on life satisfaction in the developed world. Since it was founded in 1961, the OECD has strived to help governments design better policies for better lives for their citizens. Based on this experience, its 11 topics reflect what the OECD has identified as essential to well-being in terms of material living conditions (housing, income, jobs) and quality of life (community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance).

 

- Once again, the United States failed to make the top 10 list of happiest nations in the world, while all the Scandinavian nations did. They all have small stable populations. The US has the highest population growth rate of any industrialized nation. Denmark tops the OECD ranking with the most satisfied citizens. If one only glances at the numbers, the reason is not obvious. Denmark ranks no higher than fourth in any of the categories that appear to correlate strongly with overall satisfaction. Yet, in addition to the OECD, organizations such as the World Map of Happiness and the World Database of Happiness have consistently put Denmark at the top of their list of the world’s happiest countries.

 

- When asked why they are happy, Danes usually give two reasons. First, they point out that most of their society is not created for the upper class. Just the opposite, nearly all things are catered to the middle class. Hence, there is a sense of contentment, which is key. There is little of the mentality of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ or a 1% vs 99% debate. Second, they mention the great services that the state provides. This comes at a price—extremely high taxes. But it turns out high taxes have another benefit. People tend to decide on an occupation based on what they like and not based on earning potential. Incomes are somewhat comparable across the country so that a garbage collector lives in the same kind of neighborhood as a doctor. As a general rule, prestige is not so important: the garbage collector gets the same kind of respect as the doctor for a job well done. This creates happiness as well.

 

- Denmark has a high employment rate (73%), and a low percentage of employees working long hours (less than 2%). Not surprisingly, having enough leisure time affects a person’s mental health and strongly impacts happiness. The citizens of Denmark have the most leisure time per day of any country in the study, at 16.06 hours (including sleep) —and this is encouraged by government policies. Badly hit by the 1973 Arab oil embargo, Denmark responded with a sustained, focused and systematic approach to energy production and use that today is the envy of the world. Denmark is one of very few energy independent nations. This didn’t happen by Danish politicians telling their people the solution was ‘drill baby drill’ and fracking.

 

More below:

http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/view/865/1/


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Is Denmark really the urban utopia that we imagine it to be? Just for fun, I looked up how much petroleum they produce.

 

Like Saudi Arabia, Denmark is an oil exporter. Interestingly, Denmark produces MORE petroleum on a per-capita basis than the United States does. Maybe that's how they pay for all of those amenities.

 

Denmark

221,100 barrels per day (2011)

Population 5,543,453 (2012)

0.04 barrels per capita*day

 

United States

9,023,000 barrels per day (2011)

Population 313,847,465

0.03 barrels per capita*day

 

Source: CIA world factbook https://www.cia.gov/index.html

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Maybe that's how they pay for all of those amenities.

 

My apologies if you were being sarcastic, but you realize that that difference in oil production amounts to a dollar a day per capita in gross production value, no? And that gap is probably smaller now, given growing U.S. production. I doubt that explains much.  The fact they are actually net exporters probably has lot more to do with their lower domestic energy use (as the article suggests) than with relative production volume. Pretty sure their extra amenities are paid for primarily through relativly higher taxes. Might be different in Norway though.

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Love Denmark. Though it does have (non)diversity issues. Probably a more hospitable place if you're white. And Danish.

Denmark may be considered a "happy place" right now, but just wait until its Muslim population exponentially increases--then, for good reason, it will experience the unhappiness of Sweden, Germany, France, and Britain.

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What can Cleveland learn from Denmark?

 

I know you're being silly, but there are a lot of things to learn from Copenhagen. Like hoe to bring home a Christmas tree:

http://www.copenhagenize.com/2010/12/copenhagen-christmas-tree-transport.html

 

 

 

Yeah I was.  I think Copenhagen is an awesome city, but the comments before mine in this thread reminded me of the line of discussion that tends to take place whenever Portland/Seattle/Minneapolis fawning occurs on UrbanOhio.

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