All posts tagged society

Happiness in times of crises

How many of us are happy – or claim to be happy? The counterintuitive conclusion of a poll of 19000 adults in 24 countries, recently reported in the Economist, reveals that some 77 % residents report that they are happy, up 3 points on 2007, the last year before the crisis. Despite global economic gloom, the world is a happier place to be: 22 % describe themselves as very happy. Even better: 28 % of Australian and Americans say they are very happy. Interestingly, the share of very happy people has increased six points in Japan, defying tsunami and nuclear accidents. Obviously, perceived happiness depends on a lot more than material welfare. The highest levels of self-reported happiness are not found in rich countries, as one would expect, but in poor and middle-income ones, e.g. Indonesia, India and Mexico. According to the Economist, the biggest falls in happiness occurred in large emerging markets, in Russia; described as perennial misery guts (i.e. always unhappy and also tries to make others feel negative).

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Life or death?

A visit to Cracow in Poland means you have a lot of things to see and do, but a visit to Auschwitz may not be at the top of the list for everyone. I decided to join a tour during my recent visit. It took about 7 hours, with a lot to see and learn; what it was like during World War II. The guide in the concentration camps – Auschwitz I and II – stated very clearly to the group: “You are not tourists here. You are visitors – at a memorial”.

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