World Values Survey – 2008; reasons to be happy?

Among the last hundred people visiting my blog today were people from 24 different nations of our world (Sweden, Australia, Canada, United States, Denmark , Netherlands, Romania, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Finland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Nicaragua, Hungary, Chile, Mexico, India, Turkey, Switzerland, Singapore, Greece, Hong Kong and Bulgaria). Honestly speaking this was the broadest category of nations represented on one and the same day visiting my blog. The reason for that? I can only guess, but I am inclined to believe that it is related to an article in Science Daily called: “Despite Frustrations, Americans Are Pretty Darned Happy”

The article proudly stated “We’re number 16 … in world happiness. Feel the joy. The United States ranks ahead of more than 80 countries, but below 15 others in happiness levels, according to new World Values Survey data released in the July issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.”

The fact is that I in an earlier article addressed the World Values Survey (WVS) as I gave some pointers: WVS – another way of looking at cultures.

I am happy that the Americans are happy to be among the top 16 nations in world happiness. Dr. Inglehart argues that improving economic conditions and rising political and social freedom can improve satisfaction within whole societies long term.

For example, the United States, though ranking relatively high in many factors that contribute to happiness, has room for improvement in such areas as social solidarity and universal health coverage, says Inglehart. “To some extent, well-designed social policy can help raise U.S. happiness levels even more,” he says. “Policies that help increase the society’s sense of solidarity and tolerance may also help.” But, as the article clearly declares: “Even so, researchers note that wealth is important for happiness. Not surprisingly, three of the world’s poorer countries with long histories of repressive government–Moldova, Armenia and Zimbabwe–are at the bottom of the happiness list.”

As we all know; studies and polls can be interpreted and angled in many different ways no matter “how scientifically” the different measuring tools and surveys might have been designed. An observation that I want to give has to do with one of the graphs drawn by the organization which conducted this enormous research.

The ones scoring highest on the happiness scale, have according to the researchers also scored high on greater economic growth, it ranks relatively high in gender equality, tolerance of ethnic and social diversity and has high levels of democratization and political freedom.

My personal observation and question:

When looking at the graph below we see that almost all of the highest ranking nations have a common history; they are historically protestant societies. Could it be that this fact has influenced and transformed the make up of the nations and its inhabitants to such degree that even now, after many years of secularization we still are reaping some of the positive and good fruit of this, (for many nations), once natural and fundamental ground for life, namely a personal faith in Jesus Christ?

Without a doubt we know that freedom, democracy, equality and tolerance have been advocated by these communities and believers… Economic growth has been a natural consequence as economic lift was experienced by people who had become believers throughout the history of the Church whether in their own or in the generations following them as they were taught to be good stewards of their abilities and possessions. Their lifestyle based on stewardship and accountability was changed with as result a greater economic responsibility and thus transformation.

Again… could this fact be the real reason behind our still positive outlook on life and expectancy even though we have in many different areas of life become secularized?

What do you think?

For me, this is the Way I see it!

John



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2 responses to “World Values Survey – 2008; reasons to be happy?

  1. Pingback: World Values Survey – Download 24 nations “happiness document” « Synergetics

  2. Yes I think that, historically, that is a large part of it, that “work ethic”, stewards of what God has gifted us with, investing the talents for a good return, the quality of this present life actually matters…Out of the movement to return to faith and grace came a living-out of Kingdom values, at least for a while…So much of the structures of these nations are, I think, Biblically inspired, but now have been secularized (the memory of their origins and purpose lost)….

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