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Thread: Link between post-capitalist culture and higher happiness

  1. #1
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Link between post-capitalist culture and higher happiness

    Two years ago we discussed the factors that make some countries happier than others. I wondered why countries with a high level of development like Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, Portugal or Hungary scored relatively low on happiness. Even the United States ranked 18th worldwide (19th in the 2019 ranking) even though it had one of the highest GDP per capita. After getting acquainted with the psychological stages in a society's evolution (known as spiral dynamics), I set about devising a scoring system to assess how far advanced were various countries on the path to a post-capitalist culture. The classification was based on values and not on GDP per capita, although the spiral dynamics theory postulates that a society mist past through each stage of development before going to the next. The 5th stage (green vMeme) represents post-capitalist, ecological, post-modern, relativistic, multicultural and egalitarian values, and can only be attained after people have passed through the 4th stage of capitalism (orange vMeme) and rejected its excesses.

    The old adage has it that 'money does not bring happiness'. Psychologists have confirmed that this was true, at least once basic needs were met. One must realise that before adopting the values of the green vMeme. My score table shows that there is a reasonable correlation between those "post-capitalist" (for want of a better, more encompassing term) values and levels of happiness - especially after being adjusted for GDP per capita at PPP. The correlation seems stronger within a same region though. It works well within Europe. It works within East Asia or within Latin America, but not when all countries are mixed up, probably because other cultural factors also play a role.

    Country Green vMeme score Happiness Score (2019)
    Sweden 92.42 7.343
    Iceland 80.95 7.494
    Finland 74.11 7.769
    Switzerland 73.88 7.480
    United Kingdom 73.61 7.054
    Norway 72.71 7.554
    Ireland 70.57 7.021
    Netherlands 67.99 7.488
    Denmark 65.99 7.600
    Austria 64.27 7.246
    Germany 63.63 6.985
    Belgium 63.56 6.923
    New Zealand 62.90 7.307
    Singapore 59.98 6.262
    Australia 56.65 7.228
    France 56.58 6.592
    Slovenia 55.98 6.118
    Luxembourg 55.91 7.090
    Israel 54.26 7.139
    Estonia 53.56 5.893
    Spain 52.10 6.354
    Canada 51.33 7.278
    Taiwan 51.02 6.446
    Portugal 50.98 5.693
    Italy 50.76 6.223
    Malta 47.38 6.726
    Lithuania 45.56 6.149
    United States 44.84 6.892
    South Korea 44.38 5.895
    Czechia 43.27 6.852
    Slovakia 39.56 6.198
    Latvia 39.07 5.940
    Croatia 38.90 5.432
    Poland 38.88 6.182
    Hungary 37.15 5.758
    Uruguay 36.97 6.293
    Japan 36.30 5.886
    Cyprus 35.66 6.046
    Greece 34.99 5.287
    Bulgaria 34.69 5.011
    Costa Rica 34.44 7.167
    Argentina 33.29 6.086
    Chile 32.76 6.444
    Hong Kong 30.22 5.430
    Mexico 29.68 6.595
    Peru 27.95 5.697
    Serbia 27.92 5.603
    China 27.68 5.191
    Malaysia 27.33 5.339
    North Macedonia 27.08 5.274
    Brazil 26.01 6.300
    Romania 24.77 6.070
    Turkey 23.12 5.373
    Russia 19.60 5.648
    Saudi Arabia 13.96 6.375
    Qatar 10.01 6.374
    Kuwait 7.84 6.011



    Europe only


    Country Green vMeme score Happiness Score (2019)
    Sweden 92.42 7.343
    Iceland 80.95 7.494
    Finland 74.11 7.769
    Switzerland 73.88 7.480
    United Kingdom 73.61 7.054
    Norway 72.71 7.554
    Ireland 70.57 7.021
    Netherlands 67.99 7.488
    Denmark 65.99 7.600
    Austria 64.27 7.246
    Germany 63.63 6.985
    Belgium 63.56 6.923
    France 56.58 6.592
    Slovenia 55.98 6.118
    Luxembourg 55.91 7.090
    Israel 54.26 7.139
    Estonia 53.56 5.893
    Spain 52.10 6.354
    Portugal 50.98 5.693
    Italy 50.76 6.223
    Malta 47.38 6.726
    Lithuania 45.56 6.149
    Czechia 43.27 6.852
    Slovakia 39.56 6.198
    Latvia 39.07 5.940
    Croatia 38.90 5.432
    Poland 38.88 6.182
    Hungary 37.15 5.758
    Cyprus 35.66 6.046
    Greece 34.99 5.287
    Bulgaria 34.69 5.011
    Serbia 27.92 5.603
    North Macedonia 27.08 5.274
    Romania 24.77 6.070
    Turkey 23.12 5.373
    Russia 19.60 5.648

    Pretty good correlation in general. A few countries are happier than their Green vMeme score suggest. This includes Luxembourg because of its extremely high GDP per capita; Israel, Malta and Cyprus, probably because the sunlight has a positive effect on mood; and Czechia for reasons I can't explain (especially considering the big gap in happiness with Slovakia, which is very similar culturally).

    Countries that are less happy that they should be are Portugal, and to a lower extend also Greece and Bulgaria.


    East Asia only


    Country Green vMeme score Happiness Score (2019)
    Singapore 59.98 6.262
    Taiwan 51.02 6.446
    South Korea 44.38 5.895
    Japan 36.30 5.886
    Hong Kong 30.22 5.430
    China 27.68 5.191
    Malaysia 27.33 5.339

    Nearly perfect match between the two scores.


    New World only



    Country Green vMeme score Happiness Score (2019)
    New Zealand 62.90 7.307
    Australia 56.65 7.228
    Canada 51.33 7.278
    United States 44.84 6.892
    Uruguay 36.97 6.293
    Costa Rica 34.44 7.167
    Argentina 33.29 6.086
    Chile 32.76 6.444
    Mexico 29.68 6.595
    Peru 27.95 5.697
    Brazil 26.01 6.300

    The countries in the New World (Americas, Australia and New Zealand) are all happier than their Green vMeme score would suggest. This is especially true for Costa Rica, Mexico and Brazil.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 13-08-20 at 19:35.
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  2. #2
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    I thought about the reasons why Latin American countries score considerably higher on happiness than on post-capitalist culture. One factor is that I could not find data for all categories in my scoring system. None got any point for consumption of Fairtrade products, because they are typically the beneficiaries of Fairtrade agriculture rather than the consumers of goods labelled as such. I had to give the same Wikipedia score to all Spanish speaking countries as there was no way to distinguish the country of origin of contributors. Nevertheless it is undeniable that some countries contributed more than others.

    Last but not least, the ecology score is usually low in Latin America, but that is not entirely the fault of the population. If the governments do not have the means or the will to recycle municipal waste in every city, or if CO2 emissions are high because of (foreign) companies abusing the environment, we can't put all the blame on the population.

    The choice for ecological and Fairtrade products is generally only possible once people become wealthy enough to vote with their feet and boycott abusive companies. It's not a choice that most ordinary people have in Latin America yet.

  3. #3
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    If I exclude Fairtrade from the total Green vMeme score, here is what I obtain for the New World.


    Country Green vMeme score Happiness Score (2019)
    New Zealand 71.68 7.307
    Australia 68.47 7.228
    Canada 61.30 7.278
    United States 56.67 6.892
    Uruguay 47.92 6.293
    Costa Rica 44.55 7.167
    Argentina 43.02 6.086
    Chile 42.31 6.444
    Mexico 38.20 6.595
    Peru 35.90 5.697
    Brazil 34.41 6.300

    All the Green vMemes scores are higher and more in line with the Happiness scores. Costa Rica and Mexico still get considerably higher happiness scores.

  4. #4
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    If I give a bonus for Greenpeace donations (adjusted for GDP per capita) as calculated here, the countries for which Greenpeace data is available obtain the following score.

    Country Old score Greenpeace bonus New score
    Sweden 92.42 2.50 94.92
    Iceland 80.95 2.50 83.45
    Switzerland 73.88 6.20 80.08
    Finland 74.11 2.50 76.61
    United Kingdom 73.61 2.50 76.11
    Norway 72.71 2.50 75.21
    Netherlands 67.99 5.00 72.99
    New Zealand 62.90 5.90 68.8
    Denmark 65.99 2.50 68.49
    Germany 63.63 3.00 66.63
    Belgium 63.56 3.00 66.56
    Australia 56.65 1.80 58.45
    France 56.58 1.50 58.08
    Spain 52.10 1.30 53.40
    Canada 51.33 0.80 52.13
    Italy 50.76 0.70 51.46
    United States 44.84 0.30 45.14
    Czechia 43.27 0.20 43.47
    Greece 34.99 1.30 36.29
    Mexico 29.68 0.60 30.28
    Brazil 26.01 0.40 26.41
    Last edited by Maciamo; 13-08-20 at 19:37.

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    indebted people live on the edge thus not loosen enough to say we are happy, also emotional intelligence in places where gambling corruption and fear are high contribute a lot to the feeling ... but lets say happy people are those that have good quality of social life, in ex-yu think that was even in poor times pushed till ceiling first because clear belongingness to still traditional families and having chance to earn more as emigree ...

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