Tag Archives: economy

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



Advertisements

Economy: Holland’s latest development; Milland – the cure to all problems!

As we are considering how the Spanish victory over Germany will influence our economy and how we can survive the shaking, overextended, unbalanced threatening economical situation in our world, the Dutch have taken innovative steps to make Milland the hub of the world!

At times like these I am reminded of my Dutch roots and am dazzled by the fact how such small nation can be so great!

Just an observation…?

John

Accountability in leadership… transparancy, protection and trustworthiness!

Some preachers have still issues with financial transparency according to Dagen (here, here and here) and Världen Idag… The request from US senator Charles Grassley to get information on the financial dealings of a number of influential and thus often financially well-off spiritual leaders and their ministries have caused many and long discussions and hesitancy on the part of some of the ministries involved. Bennie Hinn only recently submitted his financial records to be scrutinized (because that will happen!), others, among them Kenneth Copeland and Dollar ministries (what a name!) are opposed to the requests of the senator.

With the number of financial abuses in mind both in Sweden as throughout the world we should be more than willing to go beyond the required formal accountability due to national or organizational guidelines. Those involved in ministry should be wiling to walk an extra mile in regard of these matters to even remove the shadow of doubt over our economic dealings. Honestly speaking we need that accountability not only on financial matters but others too. The fact that some continue to argue against such openness make me more or less suspicious, there is no reason to withhold anything from public scrutiny… that’s part of the deal of being Christians!

Jack Hayford, a senior pastor of Church on the Way and presently acting as leader of the Four Square denomination has for years tried to build accountability into ministry. He strongly suggested already in 2004 for all ministries to become part of an International Council for Ethical Accountability.

Another interesting initiative is the national “ministry watch” in the US which tries to give update information on the financial dealings of the different ministries, they even give recommendations on financially accountable organizations, Interesting is that fact that quite some of the organizations refuse to inform this organization about their financial records!

Based on the initiative from Jack Hayford, a number of charismatic leaders got together in Orlanda and developed the following document (here). As we see there is nothing new under the sun and we can only hope that we will voluntarily submit ourselves to accountability and openness, not only within networks with friends, but even organized networks. (Let’s be honest, the loose informal networks don’t always do the job!)

That’s it for now…my appeal: let’s be more open, transparent and accountable! That’s the Way I see it!

John