A Happiness Report

A Happiness Report from Columbia University has been published. It is intersting that those countries with higher tax burden occupy the higher positions. Japan is the 46th in this report.

In Japan, the tax rate is generally low. The sales tax was balanced with the tax reduction enforced at the same time. There has been no tax increase since 1980s. The middle class has not, however, enjoyed much service by the governments, national or local. With the scheme of civil engineering driven economy collapsed, the people has had the feeling of paucity for public services.

It has lead to distrust of the people to the government, bureaucracy and, eventually, to the people in the society themselves. In this situation, the politicians won't be able to increase the tax but only would find out any expense, which they insist to be redundant, to be cut in the budget. The results are the astronomical amount of debt in the government and one of the lowest positions in happiness among the developed countries in the world.

The high tax countries are ranked at the high positions in this report. It is reported that the peoples in those countries enjoy much more for the public services, so that they could be content with the politics and won't resist paying the huge tax.

Once certain amount of income is secured, the relationship with the others in the society determines the happiness as this report says. Could we reach or realize the anthropocene, a new term quoted in this report, by any means?



  1. Shin, to provide a counter argument, these countries like Denmark with out of control taxes have caused the departure of all of the most talented and hard working and entrepreneurial citizens for other countries where their contributions will be appreciated. Those left behind are happy to be freeloaders and lazy people who are just like parasites on their economy! No wonder they are happy! They do not have to earn anything through hard and smart work. Eventually those economies will collapse!

    1. Bob,

      Denmark has had 14 Nobel prize winners so far. It is not too few for the population size. It may be not fair to name her as one of the countries which have lost any talented people due to the socioeconomical sysytem.

      I believe that the idea of "social trust" would be of primary importance in the democracy from now. The neoliberal ideology has destructed this virtue for the past decades.

      According to "Citizenship 2004" by International Society Survey Programme, Denmark took the 1st place in the study of social trust among the people, followed by Norway and Sweden. This data agree well with the happiness report quoted in this article.

      It is a problem of choice,a society with freedom without any regulations or a society with trustful and cooperative relationships.

      The recent history shows the former has resulted in a world where Leviathan governs. From the standpoint of economy, the neoliberal economy has ended in the credit failure in the finance system. In the freedom of Leviathan, we should not forget it started with affecting other's freedom.

      So far as you are satisfied with the neoliberalism, it is your choice. But, as you know, I won't choose that way by myself. I don't believe it would solve the current problems in the world.