According to numerous reports, Denmark is the happiest, – or, if you prefer, – the least un-happy.., – nation on earth. Evil tongues have suggested, however, that this prestigious status should be viewed rather as an expression of low expectations, – the gap between expectations and actual achievements is narrower than elsewhere, – the consequence of which is less frustration and disappointment, – i.e. “happiness”..
Now, – it is not my aim here to discuss this. I would say there is some truth in asserting that Danes in general prefer a cozy and secure life with coffee and cakes in front of the TV, but whether or not this tendency is stronger than in other nations.., – who knows..
Our “happiness” is of course a product of many factors, and I don’t mean to get into this either, but one important factor is clear to everyone: Our highly developed Welfare System.
This, however, is increasingly being attacked. The huge budget deficits in many European countries are perceived as a stumbling block on the road to the liberal Utopia, which, according to a host of economic analysts, is our only salvation in a globalized world. We are warned, plainly, that if we fail to drastically reform our Scandinavian Model, – reduce taxes, – especially for the rich.., – cut down on welfare, work harder, and longer, we will end up as a nation of loosers.
In the US it is of course the same scenario: Republicans warn their countrymen, that economic doom is just around the corner, if expensive welfare systems are introduced, – public health care, better education opportunities, etc.
In light of these warnings, and the mounting pressure from ultra-liberal, anti-government groups, I’ve done a little “surfey” of the state of our nation, and my conclusion is clear:
There ain’t all that rotten in the state of Denmark !
Now, – in case evil tongues should suggest, that we Danes are also a bunch of smug, complacent, nationalistic, racist, islamophobic, pork-eating and beer-drinking bigots, you should know that we are also the worlds least gelotophobic: (fear of being laughed at) :
“Researchers at Aarhus Universitet have investigated the degree of gelotophobia in 72 countries. Their research shows that the danes are the least gelotaphobic people in the world. Only 1.67 % of the danes are gelotophobic. In contrast, people from the Orient, – read: Muslims, - are the most gelotophobic people in the world. 33 % of them suffer from gelotophobia”.
Apart from being the least unhappy nation on earth then, we are also:
The most democratic: Democracy index
The least corrupt: Corruption Perception Index (CPI)
Have the highest degree of freedom of speech: Press Freedom Index (2009 ranking: 1. ; 2010 ranking: 11 )
Are Best at technologcial research and engineering
In addition, we are the:
We are also the “best” meat-eaters: Meat consumption per capita
The biggest (European) pigs *
* The majority of US trash – 54% – ends up in landfills, compared to only 4% in Denmark, where approximately half of all waste is recycled.
Ok, – I could probably add to the list, but let me finish by mentioning also, that we have the third fewest prisoners per capita in the Western World. Only Faroe Islands, – autonomous part of Denmark, – and Island, have fewer prisoners per capita.
It appears to me then, that the Scandinavian Model has not been such a bad idea, and that we should take the gloomy outlook and warnings of the ultra-liberals with a grain of salt..