Happiness Link between post-capitalist culture and higher happiness

Maciamo

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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.

CountryGreen vMeme scoreHappiness Score (2019)
Sweden92.427.343
Iceland80.957.494
Finland74.117.769
Switzerland73.887.480
United Kingdom73.617.054
Norway72.717.554
Ireland70.577.021
Netherlands67.997.488
Denmark65.997.600
Austria64.277.246
Germany63.636.985
Belgium63.566.923
New Zealand62.907.307
Singapore59.986.262
Australia56.657.228
France56.586.592
Slovenia55.986.118
Luxembourg55.917.090
Israel54.267.139
Estonia53.565.893
Spain52.106.354
Canada51.337.278
Taiwan51.026.446
Portugal50.985.693
Italy50.766.223
Malta47.386.726
Lithuania45.566.149
United States44.846.892
South Korea44.385.895
Czechia43.276.852
Slovakia39.566.198
Latvia39.075.940
Croatia38.905.432
Poland38.886.182
Hungary37.155.758
Uruguay36.976.293
Japan36.305.886
Cyprus35.666.046
Greece34.995.287
Bulgaria34.695.011
Costa Rica34.447.167
Argentina33.296.086
Chile32.766.444
Hong Kong30.225.430
Mexico29.686.595
Peru27.955.697
Serbia27.925.603
China27.685.191
Malaysia27.335.339
North Macedonia27.085.274
Brazil26.016.300
Romania24.776.070
Turkey23.125.373
Russia19.605.648
Saudi Arabia13.966.375
Qatar10.016.374
Kuwait7.846.011



Europe only


CountryGreen vMeme scoreHappiness Score (2019)
Sweden92.427.343
Iceland80.957.494
Finland74.117.769
Switzerland73.887.480
United Kingdom73.617.054
Norway72.717.554
Ireland70.577.021
Netherlands67.997.488
Denmark65.997.600
Austria64.277.246
Germany63.636.985
Belgium63.566.923
France56.586.592
Slovenia55.986.118
Luxembourg55.917.090
Israel54.267.139
Estonia53.565.893
Spain52.106.354
Portugal50.985.693
Italy50.766.223
Malta47.386.726
Lithuania45.566.149
Czechia43.276.852
Slovakia39.566.198
Latvia39.075.940
Croatia38.905.432
Poland38.886.182
Hungary37.155.758
Cyprus35.666.046
Greece34.995.287
Bulgaria34.695.011
Serbia27.925.603
North Macedonia27.085.274
Romania24.776.070
Turkey23.125.373
Russia19.605.648

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


CountryGreen vMeme scoreHappiness Score (2019)
Singapore59.986.262
Taiwan51.026.446
South Korea44.385.895
Japan36.305.886
Hong Kong30.225.430
China27.685.191
Malaysia27.335.339

Nearly perfect match between the two scores.


New World only



CountryGreen vMeme scoreHappiness Score (2019)
New Zealand62.907.307
Australia56.657.228
Canada51.337.278
United States44.846.892
Uruguay36.976.293
Costa Rica34.447.167
Argentina33.296.086
Chile32.766.444
Mexico29.686.595
Peru27.955.697
Brazil26.016.300

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.
 
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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.
 
If I exclude Fairtrade from the total Green vMeme score, here is what I obtain for the New World.


CountryGreen vMeme scoreHappiness Score (2019)
New Zealand71.687.307
Australia68.477.228
Canada61.307.278
United States56.676.892
Uruguay47.926.293
Costa Rica44.557.167
Argentina43.026.086
Chile42.316.444
Mexico38.206.595
Peru35.905.697
Brazil34.416.300

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.
 
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.

CountryOld scoreGreenpeace bonusNew score
Sweden92.422.5094.92
Iceland80.952.5083.45
Switzerland73.886.2080.08
Finland74.112.5076.61
United Kingdom73.612.5076.11
Norway72.712.5075.21
Netherlands67.995.0072.99
New Zealand62.905.9068.8
Denmark65.992.5068.49
Germany63.633.0066.63
Belgium63.563.0066.56
Australia56.651.8058.45
France56.581.5058.08
Spain52.101.3053.40
Canada51.330.8052.13
Italy50.760.7051.46
United States44.840.3045.14
Czechia43.270.2043.47
Greece34.991.3036.29
Mexico29.680.6030.28
Brazil26.010.4026.41
 
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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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