Saturday, May 12, 2007

More Ranking

Ranking the 44 countries in my sample according to just happiness (satisfaction with life), peace (fraction of a population not being assaulted), and conservation (amount of the maximum ecological resources per capita not being used), Colombia is at the top of the list, South Africa at the bottom, and the United States second-to-last. If just happiness and conservation are used, Colombia remains at the top rank, and the United States is at the bottom (these positions are preserved even if life expectancy, also linearly correlated with happiness, is included with happiness and conservation).

If the United States were to impose its entire way of life on the whole world, would it be a good thing? I think the answer is clearly no. We would at least want to be selective, cutting out what is responsible for our high level of violence, along with what induces us to create so much of the waste that is helping to overwhelm the Earth’s biosphere. In short, we should find the most harmless ways we can to increase our happiness and share them (also in the most harmless way possible) with the rest of the world, which I think is a good philosophy for everyone.

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