Oh, how happy you have made me

World Happiness Report, Gross National Happiness, Bhutan, the state of happiness, keep calm and get happy,I’m so excited. Finally, the United Nations has gotten in on this happiness thing. I’ve been writing about the culture of happiness for over three years now: The world has gone happy, Smile when you say that, The happiness quest ~ overrated?, and lastly in Locanomies, locazens + locavores unite. Where has the UN been?

Well, I’ll tell you.

The United Nations has been compiling this gem. The very big, first-ever World Happiness Report (you’ve been warned, it’s a 7.6MB download) reflects a new worldwide demand for more attention to happiness (less to misery) as criteria for government policy. The report reviews the state of happiness in the world today.

This dense report is chock full of stats, case studies (one of them on Bhutan!), metrics, analyses, etc. Enough to keep you happy for days (if not happy exactly, at least your curiosity about the state of happiness will be sated.) Here are a few excerpts to get you thinking.

What’s wrong with our current societal model?

>> We increasingly understand that we need a very different model of humanity, one in which we are a complicated interplay of emotions and rational thought, unconscious and conscious decision-making, “fast” and “slow” thinking. <<
– on Rethinking the Keys to Happiness, from the World Happiness Report

Whose responsibility is it to foster happiness?

>> Most people agree that societies should foster the happiness of their citizens. The U.S. Founding Fathers recognized the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. British philosophers talked about the greatest good for the greatest number. Bhutan has famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness (GNH) rather than Gross National Product. <<
– on Taking Happiness Seriously, from the World Happiness Report

Can happiness be effectively measured?

>> A generation of studies by psychologists, economists, pollsters, sociologists, and others has shown that happiness, though indeed a subjective experience, can be objectively measured, assessed, correlated with observable brain functions, and related to the characteristics of an individual and the society.

[The chapters ahead] …report on the two broad measurements of happiness: the ups and downs of daily emotions, and an individual’s overall evaluation of life. The former is sometimes called “affective happiness,” and the latter “evaluative happiness.” <<
– on Taking Happiness Seriously, from the World Happiness Report

Listen to Bhutan’s secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission, Karma Tshiteem, talk about the recent World Happiness Report, and learn how his government promotes the metric.

I’m digging in to that report to get some new ideas on global happiness, what about you?

Poster design (based on the British Government’s 1939 propaganda poster, now in public domain): © 2012 Janet Giampietro

3 Responses to “Oh, how happy you have made me”

  1. JohnSmiley Says:

    Cheers the curious g:

    As an Englishman, I appreciate the parody of our beloved poster. Good one.


  2. Janet Giampietro Says:

    “Happy” to see there are no hard feelings there.

    Thanks for the comment JS.

  3. lisa-p Says:

    So Bobby McFerrin was right…..”Don’t worry, be happy,”

Leave a Reply