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Happiness is on the Wane in the US, UN Global Report Finds (theguardian.com) 382

From a report on The Guardian, shared by five anonymous readers: Happiness in the US is declining and is expected to continue on a downward path, with Donald Trump's policies forecast to deepen the country's social crisis. The US has slipped to 15th place in the World Happiness Report 2017, produced by the United Nations. The world's economic superpower is well behind top-ranked Norway, although it remains above Germany in 17th place, the UK in 19th, and France in 32nd. Norway knocked Denmark off the top spot as the world's happiest country, with Iceland and Switzerland rounding out the top four. The report's authors stress, however, that the top four are so close that changes are not statistically significant. The next tier of countries are regular leaders in international happiness surveys: Finland is in fifth place, followed by the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. The world's "unhappiest" countries are all in the Middle East and Africa: war-stricken Yemen and Syria feature in the bottom 10, with Tanzania, Burundi and Central African Republic making up the final three.
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Happiness is on the Wane in the US, UN Global Report Finds

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  • Sounds about right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20, 2017 @01:22PM (#54074931)
    I'd expect this trend to continue for at least the next 4 to 8 years, depending on how the 2020 elections go. Perhaps even longer than 8 years, depending on how much damage is done to the average citizens' lives due to selfish and thoughtless policy decisions and legislation.
  • Something stinks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 )

    Happiness in the US is declining and is expected to continue on a downward path, with Donald Trump's policies forecast to deepen the country's social crisis

    This line should tell you everything you need to know about the related article.

    Look, I get it. Your candidate didn't win and it's upsetting to you. However, throwing little hissy fits every chance you get only serves to reinforce WHY folks had the temerity to vote for trump; the behavior of Hillary supporters ( and, let's face it, Hillary herself ) so

    • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @01:38PM (#54075139) Journal
      Friend, we don't have time for an 'amusing' Leader of the Free World; not anymore. It's not Amateur Night on Planet Earth anymore, things have gotten terribly, horribly real, and we really, really needed someone responsible, experienced, respectable, and capable of making thoughtful, insightful decisions on big and little issues alike. Sadly, we were not offered any such Candidate, not from any political party. So now we're stuck with this disgusting clown who is taking a chainsaw to just about everything. I'm not laughing. Neither are a lot of people who voted for the sonofabitch, either, and neither are a whole bunch of the GOP. Oh and by the way if you didn't figure it out, I am also not a Hillary or Trump supporter.

      Oh and by the way I'd like to point out that Angela Merkel was called 'Leader of the Free World' by the press last week; that's about the worst black-eye the U.S. could possibly get so far as I'm concerned; the destruction of the credibility of the U.S. is now more or less complete. We're right down there, now, in the muck with so many African and South American countries, that seem to have a regime change every other week. It'll likely take many decades for us to fix our reputation, if it's even possible to do anymore.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by grasshoppa ( 657393 )

        . We're right down there, now, in the muck with so many African and South American countries, that seem to have a regime change every other week.
        Were that true, then Trump would have been disposed by now. So saying crap like this undermines your point.

        Regardless, I can take this as the joke it is because in the 20+ years I've been voting I have never had a candidate worth voting for. They've all been horrible. Yet every damn election cycle we pretend they're some holy figure come to save us, only to say

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Get over yourself.
        The only reason anyone ever called America the leader of the free world was ironically to point out how over inflated the american ego is.
        The fact that you took this seriously just goes to show how delusional you really are.
        Any credibility the US had was destroyed by bush and nobel peace prize bomber Barack Sadam Hussein Osama bin Laden Obama.

      • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @01:57PM (#54075397) Homepage
        having been to germany in 08 and most recently last year, i can say that the country is not as great as it used to be
      • What exactly? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ishmaelflood ( 643277 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @01:59PM (#54075419)

        "It's not Amateur Night on Planet Earth anymore, things have gotten terribly, horribly real,"

        Poor people are living longer, earning more, eating more, all over the world. There are fewer large wars.Sure there's a few existential problems around, but you are living in a very successful century so far as homo sapiens is concerned.

      • This is to me more indicative of how relevant the press is in today's world and the attitude that at least in part is responsible for their decline in relevance.
      • If you need a federal government to make you happy, your problem may be something entirely different and far deeper [youtube.com]

      • Every president we've had since I was born has been inept, just in different and lest obvious ways.
      • Oh and by the way I'd like to point out that Angela Merkel was called 'Leader of the Free World' by the press last week; that's about the worst black-eye the U.S. could possibly get so far as I'm concerned; the destruction of the credibility of the U.S. is now more or less complete.

        So lets pull out of Europe and see how this new German leadership goes. As near as I can tell they haven't been able to solve the Greek debt problem nor the Syrian refugee problem despite both having gone on for years. I'd say that their leadership record doesn't look so hot recently.

        • Sure thing buddy, let's 'pull out of Europe', and NATO while we're at it. Who needs those freeloaders, right? And we'll get a nice 'thank you' card from Vladimir Putin out of the deal, since it'll make it that much easier for him to conquer Europe -- or didn't that occur to you?
          • Russia does not have the resources nor technology to conquer Europe. They can bomb us into the stone age, but so we can bomb them.

            And why would they? They gain more from Europe by simple trade.

            If the US pulls out from Europe, they basically lose the most important bases to attack/control the "middle east".

            Pulling out of the NATO, well, then you probably need some new trade agreements, too. Lets see how long a Nimitz class carrier can operate without spare parts from Germany, rofl. (Less than 40 days ... for

        • The "Greek Debt Problem" can only be solved by the Greek.
          The "Syrien Refugee Problem" can only be solved by removing the terror regime in Syria. And killing IS(IS).

          Why you think Germany or the EU had a magic button it just could switch to solve one of the two problems is beyond me. Germany or the EU per se has no "Syrian Refugee Problem". The total amount of refugees is about 4million. Over 3 million immigrated into the EU. The EU has now about 750 million inhabitants. So this is roughly 1 refugee per 200 E

    • So the nonsense that happiness is expected to trend downwards is...exaggeration at least.

      Is it?
      Hint: Are Trump's policies going to bring the USA closer to countries making the top of this report? It seems pretty obvious he is going in the opposite direction.

    • Re:Something stinks (Score:4, Interesting)

      by iMadeGhostzilla ( 1851560 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @02:11PM (#54075535)

      I didn't see in TFA any mention of *who* and how has forecast that Donald Trump's policies will deepen the country's social crisis. But I've noticed the sources The Guardian quoted in the past were those who forecast Hillary's victory and people like the Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman whose forecast was "if Trump wins the market will crash and will *never* recover".

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @02:17PM (#54075579) Journal

      Your candidate didn't win and it's upsetting to you...the behavior of Hillary supporters ( and, let's face it, Hillary herself ) soured her support outside of her base.

      Rather than argue about which side is the most evil/bad/mean/incompetent, let's agree the culture war in the USA is intensifying, which is a big source of tension in the USA for both sides. Remember, Texas talked of secession after Obama's election win.

      Progressives want bigger gov't-backed safety nets and education opportunities, and conservatives believe that the private sector will make everyone's boat float higher if the gov't gets out of the way such that they don't need a safety net. (And there's also climate change, abortion, pollution, etc. etc.)

      I believe heavy-trickle-down is kaflooey* in modern times, but realize I'm not going to change conservative minds on that such that both sides are stuck at an impasse, thinking the other side is getting in the way.

      Perhaps it's time to split the USA rather than waste resources and anger on gridlock and seesaw politics.

      * The benefits of increased economic activity from lower taxes and deregulation almost always have flowed UPward since about 1980, not outward. Automation, offshoring, and the death of unions changed things toward the 1% compared to pre-1980. Trickle down ain't work anymore; the TD model is broken and leaking oil.

    • Exactly. Trends like that don't happen overnight nor are they accurately measured that way, so none of this is currently indicative of "Trump's America".
      What grinds down people's spirits? -increased violent crime, rioting, racial strife, an increased welfare state, a stagnate economy, etc.. most or all of which worsened over the past several years.
      Besides, this is from The Guardian. Might as well be posting something from Breitbart, if you wanted the opposite opinion. Not biased at all, nope... Now,

    • by bongey ( 974911 )

      The five anonymous readers were BeauHD, BeauHD,BeauHD,BeauHD and you guessed it BeauHD.

    • and a huge cut in public services for everybody else. This isn't rocket science. Elections have consequences. 22 million will lose health care under Trump (getting a paltry $3000 tax credit in it's place). There are massive cuts to science programs coming. The EPA is getting slashed. Water will be less clean, and in poorer cities contaminated with lead. Air will be dirtier. Kids will get asthma. These things will happen. It's got nothing to do with Red/Blue. It's just what happens when you deregulate. Those
      • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
        A tax credit that most people who will lose their health care won't qualify for anyway.

        Politicians continue to ignore the root cause and that is sky rocketing health care costs.
  • Meh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by creimer ( 824291 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @01:30PM (#54075029) Homepage
    As a moderate conservative, I was happy with Obama and would've been happy with Hillary. None of the 16 Republican candidates in 2016 made me happy, which was why I switched my political registration to Democratic in late 2015. Now we're stuck with sore loser Donald Trump, who is neither a conservative nor Republican, and, until a few short years ago, was a Clinton Democrat. Sad!
    • "Sore loser" Trump? In what alternate reality are you living?

      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        "Sore loser" Trump?

        Have you noticed that Trump just won't shut up about the 2016 elections?

        In what alternate reality are you living?

        The present. What about you?

    • As a Maoist conservative, if there isn't a candidate conservative enough, you vote liberal socialist. Not very interesting
      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        As a Maoist conservative, if there isn't a candidate conservative enough, you vote liberal socialist. Not very interesting

        I vote moderates, I don't vote for extremists.

    • by bongey ( 974911 )

      Just stop with "I am really, really was a conservative that voted Clinton". No one believes you were a conservative ever.

      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        Just stop with "I am really, really was a conservative that voted Clinton".

        That's what I did after being a Republican for 20 years.

        No one believes you were a conservative ever.

        Both Obama and Hillary are right of center if you examined their policies closely (i.e., co-opting the Republican like Bill Clinton did with welfare). It's one of the reasons why Bernie Sanders came out of the woodwork, why the progressives wanted someone more liberal than Hillary, and why the Russians interfered with the elections to get Trump elected.

  • NO WAY! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    A culturally homogenized society is happier than a very diverse one where conflicts is bound to happen! NO WAY!

    In other news water is wet...

    • Re:NO WAY! (Score:5, Informative)

      by afgam28 ( 48611 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @07:46PM (#54078427)

      Is that really true though? The report has an entire chapter on "The Key Determinants of Happiness and Misery", and the authors don't seem to think that multiculturalism is something that makes people sad. Why do you think that?

      Japan and South Korea are probably the most culturally-homogeneous and highly-developed nations around. They sit at 51st and 56th place, respectively. Meanwhile Switzerland speaks four different languages and are the 4th happiest in the world. Canada, Australia and New Zealand, all of which are just as multicultural as the USA, are in the top 10.

      I'd argue that Japan and South Korea's unhappiness comes because of, and not in spite of, their strict cultural homogeneity.

      • To be fair in Australia it is a happy day when you get to work in the morning without being killed by some dangerous animal, angry weather, or the sun itself along the way.

  • I was happy (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    until I discovered how unhappy I should be.

  • And yet the cure is available online: https://www.youtube.com/playli... [youtube.com]

  • Hooray! MAGA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 )

    Happiness in the US is declining and is expected to continue on a downward path, with Donald Trump's policies forecast to deepen the country's social crisis.

    Make America Grim Again - or something like that...

  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @01:42PM (#54075197)

    But, we chose the entertaining choice! How could we not be entertained? Trump is the only person I can think of that would be more absurd as a president than William Shatner when in-character.

    I think the problem might be the same with someone trying to make a sequel of the 1950's, without understanding it, and trying to fix that by just going completely over the top in terms of ambition, trying to make up for a completely broken budget process. It's entertaining in a sense - but sort of a sad entertainment.

    The folks that supported trump did seem to do it out of a sense of ironic satisfaction rather than actually something they wanted.

    Turns out though, it's not a sequel to the 1950's, it's actually a sequel to the Robber Barons, it just couldn't be marketed that way, because that's only ever been popular with a small audience.

    Ryan Fenton

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @01:45PM (#54075241)
    If you read the actual report [amazonaws.com] (figure 2.3, Changes in happiness from 2005-2007 to 2014-2016), you see that pretty much every first world nation except Germany and South Korea, and Norway and Switzerland (barely - within the confidence interval) have gone down in happiness, not just the U.S. The U.S. isn't even the first world nation with the biggest drop (Italy is, with Spain close behind).

    A more fitting headline would've been "Happiness is on the wane in developed nations. Which might actually help explain the rise of nationalism in recent elections.
    • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @01:56PM (#54075367) Journal

      A more fitting headline would've been "Happiness is on the wane in developed nations. Which might actually help explain the rise of nationalism in recent elections.

      No, you're messing up the narrative! Here's how to spin this: Trump is causing a drop in happiness across the world, especially among Italians and Spaniards, who had such high hopes for Hillary Clinton. Just stick to the narrative, or people might start thinking for themselves.

      • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @03:07PM (#54076109)

        Trump isn't the cause, he's a symptom. People feel threatened, they get tribal and mean... and they tend to do stupid things that make the problems causing them to feel threatened get worse.

        Trump was elected over economic fear. Fear of the 1% (whose frankly ludicrous levels of wealth get thrown in our face by the media daily... and those aren't even the richest tier of people), fear of foreigners stealing our jobs.

        So... vote in Trump to keep out the foreigners and stop the 1%ers in Washington. Which damages the economy and it turns out the kind of guy you vote in to the top position actually wants to line his own pockets and those of his (significant) supporters... the 1%.

        It's a global problem because the same socioeconomic forces are driving the same mob reactions around the world.

    • Very good! Nice cut through the partisan, First World Problems [youtube.com] bullshit.

  • by Kernel Kurtz ( 182424 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @01:46PM (#54075245) Homepage

    but he makes me really, really happy to be Canadian!

  • Even with climate of extremely cold winters, top 5 are all countries from cold climate. Yet countries that are gifted good climate are well behind. Looks like folks appreciate more what they got if it is scarce.

    • by Piata ( 927858 )

      That's because you will freeze to death in cold climates if you don't look out for one another.

      Living in a place where a blizzard can strand you in your car tends to make people a lot more considerate of others. Just last week about 300 people got stranded on a highway in Montreal: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/... [www.cbc.ca]

  • Remember when Slashdot used to be News for Nerds, News That Matters?

    Pepperidge Farm remembers....

  • Per usual for this report they use non-normalized data for things like generosity and life expectancy.
  • so article talks of many countries, some with greater happiness drop than U.S.A., but oooo it's Trump's doing for USA?

    tards

  • The USA will rise again. Unfortunately, that's because the damage Trump et. al will do will damage lots of other countries so they sink. Basically, everyone will get more unhappy which will make the USA look less bad.

    Slashing the State Department budget coupled with a crazy hike in military spending... you'd have to be stupid not to see that Bannon et. al. mean to lead the United States into war.

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