Money != Happiness
More evidence, if it be needed, that money does not equal happiness. I've generally believed that as the UK has started to work longer and longer hours, we've become a richer nation, in economic terms, but poorer in our private lives, I'd quite happily take reduced working hours if they were on offer (instead they've been trying to increase my hours from 40 to 44 a week -- voluntarily at the moment). My Japanese colleagues have expressed envy towards the amount of free time UK workers have (they seem to work 10-12 hour days as standard) and yet we're supposed to work some of the longest hours in the EU (strangely the Japanese also seem to be envious of all our sports groups and clubs -- no one seems to do/organise group activities once they get out of university in Japan, the only real options are to join a gym or play golf, someone ought to get on that, probable goldmine).
Anyway, one phrase grabbed me:
One recent table has Switzerland as the happiest country, followed by Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and the USA. Britain comes eighth.
Unfortunately, there's no mention of France there, as they seem to have a reputation in Europe for wanting to work less and enjoy the shortest working week, it'd be interesting to see if that has had an impact on their happiness level.
I wonder if anyone has charted historical rankings of happiness against economic affluence though (statistics can be very misleading, my grandad has always said that the first question he asked when someone asked him to conduct a survey was what they wanted it to say, numbers can be bent in all manor of ways to support what you're after). Both France and Germany are currently experiencing economic hardships, with high unemployment, does that affect national happiness? I'm guessing it does.