Absurdities in the latest UN 'Ranking of Happiness'

Attempting to quantify "happiness" will inevitably lead to nonsense, but leave it to the United Nations to try anyway (or perhaps because).

The U.N. has released its latest "World Happiness Report," and to its credit, the first 20 nations are plausible:

1. Denmark

2. Switzerland

3. Iceland

4. Norway

5. Finland

6. Canada

7. Netherlands

8. New Zealand

9. Australia

10. Sweden

11. Israel

12. Austria

13. United States

14. Costa Rica

15. Puerto Rico

16. Germany

17. Brazil

18. Belgium

19. Ireland

20. Luxembourg

Then the problems start to creep in.

The narco-state of Mexico – which contains a sufficiently high number of unhappy people to contribute tens of millions of illegal immigrants into the U.S. – is ranked #21, ahead of the U.K. (#23).  The Brits are inherently dour but unlikely to be less happy than Mexicans on any meaningful index.  We can be certain that, unlike Mexico, one quarter of the U.K. population has not illegally immigrated to America (yet) and that the average U.K. citizen would not trade places with the average Mexican.

The United Arab Emirates is in #28, essentially tied with the Czech Republic and ahead of France in #32 – which is itself in a statistical tie with Saudi Arabia at #34.  Qatar in #36 is ahead of Spain in #37, with the Spaniards barely holding off Algeria, Guatemala, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Venezuela.

Italy lingers down at #50 and Japan at #53, both trailing Nicaragua (#48) and Uzbekistan (#49).

Certainly there are economic and immigration troubles in France and Spain, but to rank these modern democracies equal to, or worse than, (1) authoritarian Arab petro-states where one half the population (i.e., women) have no real freedom, (2) impoverished Central American narco-states whose populations are so desperate to leave they are illegally showing up in large numbers at the U.S. southern border, (3) murderous North African Islamo-theocracies, and (4) the Bolivarian Revolution economic basket cases with massive amounts of public unrest in South America collectively strains any sense of reality.

Then put two members of the G7, albeit both facing severe economic challenges, behind more  impoverished Central American narco-states and the authoritarian nightmares of the Central Asia "stans," and rigorous intellectual credibility has evaporated.

Now equate Hong Kong (#75) and Somalia (#76), and we have entered laughability territory, especially since countries like Hungary (#91), Portugal (#94), Greece (#99), and India (#118), whatever their challenges, are well below that pirate-laden failed state of Black Hawk Down fame on the Horn of Africa.

Finally, consider how much wealthy member countries of the U.N. pay for this garbage, and perhaps our national happiness scores will slide accordingly.

Attempting to quantify "happiness" will inevitably lead to nonsense, but leave it to the United Nations to try anyway (or perhaps because).

The U.N. has released its latest "World Happiness Report," and to its credit, the first 20 nations are plausible:

1. Denmark

2. Switzerland

3. Iceland

4. Norway

5. Finland

6. Canada

7. Netherlands

8. New Zealand

9. Australia

10. Sweden

11. Israel

12. Austria

13. United States

14. Costa Rica

15. Puerto Rico

16. Germany

17. Brazil

18. Belgium

19. Ireland

20. Luxembourg

Then the problems start to creep in.

The narco-state of Mexico – which contains a sufficiently high number of unhappy people to contribute tens of millions of illegal immigrants into the U.S. – is ranked #21, ahead of the U.K. (#23).  The Brits are inherently dour but unlikely to be less happy than Mexicans on any meaningful index.  We can be certain that, unlike Mexico, one quarter of the U.K. population has not illegally immigrated to America (yet) and that the average U.K. citizen would not trade places with the average Mexican.

The United Arab Emirates is in #28, essentially tied with the Czech Republic and ahead of France in #32 – which is itself in a statistical tie with Saudi Arabia at #34.  Qatar in #36 is ahead of Spain in #37, with the Spaniards barely holding off Algeria, Guatemala, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Venezuela.

Italy lingers down at #50 and Japan at #53, both trailing Nicaragua (#48) and Uzbekistan (#49).

Certainly there are economic and immigration troubles in France and Spain, but to rank these modern democracies equal to, or worse than, (1) authoritarian Arab petro-states where one half the population (i.e., women) have no real freedom, (2) impoverished Central American narco-states whose populations are so desperate to leave they are illegally showing up in large numbers at the U.S. southern border, (3) murderous North African Islamo-theocracies, and (4) the Bolivarian Revolution economic basket cases with massive amounts of public unrest in South America collectively strains any sense of reality.

Then put two members of the G7, albeit both facing severe economic challenges, behind more  impoverished Central American narco-states and the authoritarian nightmares of the Central Asia "stans," and rigorous intellectual credibility has evaporated.

Now equate Hong Kong (#75) and Somalia (#76), and we have entered laughability territory, especially since countries like Hungary (#91), Portugal (#94), Greece (#99), and India (#118), whatever their challenges, are well below that pirate-laden failed state of Black Hawk Down fame on the Horn of Africa.

Finally, consider how much wealthy member countries of the U.N. pay for this garbage, and perhaps our national happiness scores will slide accordingly.