Happiness is lateral

Vanuatu is the happiest nation in the world. The variables saying so are the countries' levels of resource consumption, life expectancy and happiness. It must strike everyone as extraordinary that you can measure such a thing like “happiness” and yet on the back of our mind there is something telling us there is something about this story and about this statistic that makes sense, that illustrates and informs. The fantasy of living in a semi-deserted island remains alive as ever, be it for the popularity of the series “Lost” and “Temptation Island”, “Survivor”, Tom Hank's “Cast Away”(!), the bombardment of holiday brochures promising you evasion, small transparent waves, sandy beaches mixed with exotic dresses and smiles or even because of the enduring all-time childhood classics of Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, Peter Pan and Jurassic Park (!) permanently engraved deep in our individual and collective psyche. Which 21st century urban dweller wouldn't like to (at least for a couple of hours) experience being lost in an deserted Island with a great love and a (preferably not too complicated) mystery to solve?

The Happy planet index reaches some curious conclusions such as that life satisfaction seems to be higher in Island Nations and regions, the reasons for this are shrewd in mystery but seem somewhat intuitively correct. At the end of the day, the index intended to assess and provide figures for the long-term sustainability and development of well-being, whilst recognizing that just like any other statistical table it is subjective and does not provide you with a straightforward ranking of the best places in the planet to live in. It is, of course, perfectly understandable if you are one of those who has never read Robinson Crusoe and went through a terrible, chilling experience when watching “Cast Away”. Even if you are one of those, the Happy planet index numbers shouldn't be disregarded. These studies by the New Economics Foundation advance the valid point that hazardous environmental impact and high levels of resource consumption do not have a direct correlation with a longer, happier life. Global development, liberalism and politics are, more than ever, longing for innovation, debate and lateral thinking at many different levels.

Happy Planet Index

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