by Stephen J. Dubner @Freaknomics
(在這個榜單中丹麥排行第 3 名，臺灣排 26 名，新加坡排 34 名，香港特別行政區排 76 名，中華人民共和國排 86 名)
“快樂” 可以有很多含義，哥倫比亞大學的經濟學家 Jeffrey Sachs 認爲，經濟學界很遺憾地在一百五十年前認爲快樂無法被測量，轉而測量消費者偏好，以至於經濟學家在他們的世界觀中遺漏了很重要的一個面向。
SACHS: I go with Aristotle — he’s my guy, my favorite philosopher. And he pointed out in the Nicomachean Ethics, 2,300 years ago, that to be happy requires the good benefit of having material needs met. So don’t deny those, he said. But he also said, only aiming for wealth, single-mindedly pursuing a higher wealth, is certainly no way to happiness and after a certain point of income, work on other things — work on your friendship, work on your mental health, work your physical health. Work on good governance, work on your charitableness. Because in this kind of world, a good life is a balanced and a virtuous life. Not a single-minded pursuit of income.
丹麥平均一周工作 27.6 個小時，而美國平均是 34.4 小時 (編按: 臺灣平均是 39.1 小時)。丹麥也提供非常慷慨的產假和育嬰假，而且強調男女平等，育嬰假可以由父母一起分享，其中有 13 周的假期還可以延後使用。Helen Russell 是《The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country》這本書的作者，她因爲家庭因素從英國搬家到丹麥，她一開始對這種 “佔便宜” 的行爲就感到難以置信，但慢慢的她也就習慣了丹麥人的生活方式，並且提高了自己的日常快樂水平。
RUSSELL: It’s really interesting. So I — literally this morning, I’ve just come from an independent coffee bar and there’s an equality there. There is not a difference between the person who is serving me coffee and the person buying the coffee. You can talk as equals, because you know that you are both probably, after tax, taking home around about the same amount. And everybody is having a sort of decent life.
On the flip side, there’s not the same service culture. I was just back in the U.K. for work. Oh my goodness, everyone was so nice to me. And when I go to the States, that’s even more so, and I have to remind myself, “Oh, they’re being nice to me because there’s a financial imperative.” And there is more of a service culture in some places than others. In Denmark, that’s not the case. You don’t expect bells and whistles. But I’m kind of fine with that now.
WIKING: Well done. So I think the best explanation of what hygge is, is the art of creating a nice atmosphere. So it’s about togetherness. It’s about pleasure. It’s about warmth. It’s about relaxation. And that is a key cornerstone of Danish culture. To Danes, hygge is perhaps what freedom is to the Americans.
SACHS: Now one thing that those countries do, which is unimaginable in the U.S. context as of today — they tax themselves, and tax themselves.
DUBNER: One counterargument is that well, if you have that, you have that, what you don’t have are the huge rewards for innovation and invention. So there are a lot of things that we complain about in the U.S., including income inequality, including the lack of a lot of the social-service network that a lot of European countries have. But we are the country that makes Apple and Google. And on and on and on and on. It seems that there’s an upside to status-seeking, as well as downsides.
但北歐這些民主社會主義國家認爲他們這樣在創新和快樂間的折中是比較合理的。比起擁有 Apple 或 Google 這樣的公司，他們更希望讓大多數人擁有有趣的工作、快樂的家庭、健康的身體等：
WIKING: I think perhaps Danes have lower materialistic ambitions than in some countries. But in terms of having an interesting job, having a happy family, having a healthy hobby and keeping fit, I think there is a lot of, sort of, expectations that people want to live up to.
SACHS: People who move from a poor, unhappy, violence-filled country to a happy Nordic country become like the Nordic citizens in the country. They do carry some of the legacy of the country that they came from. But the adjustment is remarkably fast.
(SACHS:) So it’s basically social democracy, but for the Danish people, not for migrants. Whereas in the United States — and in many other countries — we tend to think of anti-immigrant also as being right-wing. But Scandinavia has, “Yeah, we love our social democracy, but it’s just for us.”
DUBNER: I’ve read and heard from people who move here either as highly skilled workers or as refugees, that Denmark works great if you’re Danish. And that it’s much harder — and granted, most countries are this way — but one particular complaint in Scandinavia is that even when you’re being treated fairly and given opportunities, economic and educational opportunities, and so on, it can be very, very hard to break into the society.