By Eric Robinson
Two recent studies out of Britain rate Costa Rica as one of the happiest nations on the planet. The Happy Planet Index calculated by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) places Costa Rica third. The calculation is based upon the efficiency with which countries convert the earth’s finite resources into well-being, experienced by their citizens based on life expectancy, life satisfaction, and the ecological footprint, or impact on the earth.
Top of the list was Vanuatu, an archipelogo in the south Pacific, and Columbia ranked second. Several other Central American countries placed in the top ten. The other study, ‘The World Map of Happiness’ by the University of Leicester in England ranked Costa Rica first in Latin America and 13th among 178 countries around the globe. It was based on 80,000 personal surveys, life expectancy data from the United Nations Human Development Report, per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and access to secondary education.
Health was the most important factor, then wealth and education. Denmark, Switzerland and Austria were in the top three positions, while the USA ranked 23rd. Sometimes I wonder just how awful the rest of the world is, if Costa Rica is ranked so high. Some of the slums on the outskirts of San Jose are very scarey places, and the quality of life of people living in these overcrowded ‘Skinner boxes’ can not be optimum by any means. It all gets back to my thesis that the world is sliding down a slippery slope until it gets its population stabilized, or even preferably reduced. We can do it voluntarily, or we can let nature take its painful course.