Friday, April 18, 2008

Hey, whatever makes you happy! 

The other day an article in the New York Times on money and happiness (the two DO go together apparently) had this interesting little chart:

The further to the right you are the more money you have and the higher up the happier you are. Sure enough the countries go up as they move to the right confirming that at least to some extent money buys happiness.

What I thought was interesting was one obvious outlier on that trend - Venezuela.

Note that although they are about in the middle of the pack in terms of income they are very high up in terms of happiness. And this even given the 500,000 perpetual cranks and malcontents that live in eastern Caracas!!

Looking at how they compare to specific countries note they are the HIGHEST in terms of happiness of all the Latin American countries. The only country that comes close is Costa Rica - and they are way ahead of countries we are constantly assured are better off than them such as Chile, Brazil and Mexico.

In fact Venezuelans are as happy as anyone on the planet, even countries where people have much higher standards of living than they do, with only Denmark and Finland have populations that are clearly more content.

Rather embarrassingly for this blogger the countries he keeps holding up as models for Venezuela, such as South Korea, score quite low on the happiness scale - well below Venezuela. I guess the benefit of the higher income is more than offset by having to bust your ass everyday.

Anyways, whatever Venezuelans are doing, whether it is electing leftist leaders, having good social programs, or simply drinking lots of Polar it's obviously working.

So keep it up guys!


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