April 1, 2023

By Ahmet Abdulaziz….

Sometimes I wonder why do we need a report listing the countries on the basis of their happiness? Do we really need such a list, every year, year after year? The reason for my question is that we all already know the happy, happier, and happiest countries of the world. Don’t we all know that the happiest countries would always be one of the first world countries?

My interest in the “World Happiness Report”, wanes when I see that Finland is still there on top of the world, for the sixth year in a row. Most of the Scandinavian countries are in the top slots, this year too as they have been in previous years. They do change places among themselves, and that’s all. Switzerland though is an exception by getting the third position after Finland and Denmark.

So in short we can say that the happier countries of the world are mostly those who are the coldest in Europe. For once one may like to link the weather with the overall happiness levels of these countries. But of course it’s not so, since happiness is related to more than one factor other than weather.

On the other side, if we look at the latest report, Afghanistan is at the tail end. This in other words means that the American influence failed to do anything good to the overall happiness of the Afghan population. They still are as poor and unhappy as they used to be decades ago. Other third world countries doccupy most of the 146 listing report. The countries appearing above Afghanistan, being the least happy countries are Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, and Haiti, just to name a few. I am sure they all simply compete with each other every year, without making a major breakthrough.

Israel is the first Asian country that notches the 12th post, among the European countries. Costa Rica got the 16th position just one above The United Kingdom. USA, interestingly gets the 19th one. France 21st and Cyprus 38th, just to name a few more.

Of course, I am more concerned about Turkey, which appears on the list just after crossing the 100th mark. Turkey stands at the 102nd position, just one ahead of Pakistan. India on the other hand appears down at 136. To my great astonishment, Russia appears in the 74th slot.

When I tried to look a bit more about the “World Happiness Report”, I found out that there exists an interesting method to lead to the points table on the basis of constant gallop polls, carried out everywhere. The system then converts the comprehensive data for three years to find out the points to be given to every country. For this, they have hypothetically created a country named “Dystopia”, as the “world’s least happy country”. Once they get the least happy country as the base, they provide points to other countries, as compared to “Dystopia”.

There are 6 basic categories, as under, which have been taken into consideration for the sake of marking:

  1. Gross Domestic Product per capita
  2. Social Support
  3. Healthy life expectancy
  4. Freedom to make their own life choices
  5. Generosity of the general population
  6. Perceptions of Internal and External Corruption levels

I personally got quite excited while reading out this process. However, I wonder how far this list for 2022 will be affected by the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, which is yet to come to some conclusion. The point is that this particular war has started directly affecting the overall mood of the European countries. Though I am sure the ultimate report for 2022 would not show big upsets in the line that was there in the 2021 report, the same countries would be getting lesser points on an overall basis. The same would be the impact on all other countries too. So let’s wait to see what the future has got in store for human beings, particularly their happiness.

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