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Happy countries: Are the individualists happier than the collectivists?

May 19, 2009

As I searched for clues as to why some countries are happier than others (see the top 10 happiest countries in the world list) I came across this video clip that contrasts individualism with its opposite – collectivism.

Put two and two together. Notice something?

The top 10 happiest countries in the survey all have strong individualist cultures. (Watch the video if you want to know what an individualist culture is).

That rang a bell. A statistician might say, lets look at the Happiest Country survey again. Were the questions asked from an individualist’s point of view?

Take the question, “Were you treated with respect yesterday?” for example. Was the collectivist equivalent asked, “Was your clan treated with respect yesterday?”

Will the results change if the questionnaire was written by someone from a collectivist culture?

If its a yes, it raises another question. Do we (the younger generation) define happiness by (a) what tradition tells us happiness should be, or (b) what the outside world (= movies, advertisements and the internet) tells us it should be.

Could that be why we score so poorly on the individualist scale of happiness?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 20, 2009 9:51 am

    (3) what we ourselves define it 😛

    wat our culture or what the movies/media is telling us don’t really matter if we, ourselves, don’t feel happy at all. i think this kind of thing, people will need to do some soul searching. 🙂

    Only a few people our age will do soul searching. Most would tell us why think too much. Its easier to let the movies and tv dramas teach us what’s happy and what’s not. 🙂

  2. May 25, 2009 11:21 am

    mmm ppl hv been telling me not to think so much for a number of yrs now. but recently, the same people came to me and said they’re lost…they donno which direction they shld b heading. 😐

    Haha, you noticed that too huh. 🙂 If they had put their trust in fate’s hands, then just tell them its also their fate that they got lost.

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