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  1. #21
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    I think the happiness level in Europe depends a lot on who you ask. Europe as a whole has an immigrant problem.

    The US and Canada are largely nations of immigrants. Prior to the end of WWII when people in Europe left their birth nation they went to NA. The Italians didn't move to Germany, etc. and so their cultures were largely static or stable if you prefer.
    The end of WWII saw a lot of displaced people, refugees, scattered around europe and later the EU provided for freeier movement between nations. The population dynamics have changed and many countries in Europe are having a hard time dealing with it. A country such as France or Switzerland or Germany is very proud of its cultures and traditions and a native Frenchman isn't particularly interested in changing. But the Turkish or Algerian immigrant doesn't want to become French. I think in general most european countries are having a harder time dealing with this.
    I wasn't always a Smurf
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    Visiting is not living there.
    No kidding Bluey...I'd never guess something so obvious...not. One thing you have to admit is very few people leave some of these countries like Switzerland to come here. Most of our immigrants are from 2nd and 3rd world countries...not nations where the standard of living is roughly equivalent to our own...ours is falling though and will continue to do so unfortunately. The people I know there are Swiss man, his American wife and their two sons who hold dual citizenship. They choose to live in Switzerland as they feel their kids will get a better education and have better opportunities there. Given our economy and situation now in the US, I suspect they are right.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm as patriotic an American as anyone here but I'm not willing to turn a blind eye to our faults which are growing by the day. You and I are much alike in our political views and realize we have other differences, but don't nitpick my post because I dared to mention a "local food system" that works.

    This thread was about other countries that "work" and why they work. It's irrelevant as to how big they are or whatever. The Swiss people as a whole are way healthier than Americans much to their culture of get out and walk for enjoyment as well as to their wholesome non industrialized food system. I saw two moderately obese Swiss people while I was there at a huge expo all weekend visited by many thousands of visitors...obesity as we have it here in the US is nearly nonexistent. I was stunned. You can't even buy a drink with HFCS in it. They are an example of what CAN work and while the scale is obviously not on the same level as our entire nation, it is on the same level as one of our states. That is all I was saying.



  3. #23

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    the Europeans who are happy,stay
    the others leave for the USA or Australia or elsewhere.

    tamara
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



  4. #24
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    I happen to be half Swiss and yup, Switzerland is a great place to be Swiss.

    Switzerland has some differences from EU nations but there are many Swiss and French and Germans who are not happy about the influx of guest workers. Sound familiar? And there are many guest workers who are not happy because the locals are not willing to accommodate their culture. Visitors aren't likely to see the fringes.

    And in general the Swiss or French or Germans aren't all that interested in moving to the USA or Australia. They want to stay there and have what they see to be their society back.
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  5. #25
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    Scandanavia, particularly Denmark. All of the Scandanavian countries have a markedly homogeneous population. That means that they are culturally uniform and all have the same values. They have excellent economies with a lot of exportation, and are large social wefare states. Not only does Denmark have socialized health care, but it also provides college education to its citizens. The benefit of a homogeneous population is that all citizens adhere to the "social contract" among government and the people, and between people in the society. There is very little "abuse" of the system or divisive class warfare for this reason. Not much crime. Very low unemployment.

    Of course, it depends on how you define "happiness," but if happiness includes lack of economic anxiety and stress from competition and crime then Denmark is the place to be.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


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  6. #26
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    You must realize that EVERY country has their problems and great benefits. Before I went abroad as an exchange student in college, I had to take a pre-test a part of a study my university did on the open-mindedness before and after students went abroad. My university did not have these study abroad programs where you go abroad with a group from your university and stay with them the whole semester. We actually went abroad, studied at a foreign university, thrown in to mingle and meet new international people instead of clinging to our fellow Americans for comfort. I went to Germany, as I studied linguistics and German. I had been to Germany before as an au pair/nanny, and I thought Europe was the greatest thing ever and America was a huge failure. I had such a good impression of not only Germany being an au pair, from their culture and way of raising children and family values to their liberal and socialistic politics and education. I returned as an exchange student, got a real job at the university as an English teaching assistant.

    What I found is that this country is extremely bureaucratic which really bothered me in many ways. I taught discussion groups of an English humanities course for Engineering and Logistic students needing to better their conversational and writing English skills. The whole purpose of this portion of my job was to simply get the students thinking and talking. The majority of the students had very good English, just made minor grammatical mistakes, but they spoke clear English. Though, I found that by teaching them and also in my other courses in the university and also on the streets just having everyday conversation, Germans are generally not taught to criticize, but better said they are taught not to ever criticize or question authority, which I was also bothered me in many ways. I also slowly discovered how f**king prejudice Germans are against anyone that do not look white/European, particularly against those looking remotely Turkish.

    I backpacked many (I think 16?) European countries for a few months off and on between semester breaks and at the end of my last semester and I feel like I was able to see and experience real Europe, because I was NOT a real tourist as I was couchsurfing (couchsurfing.org), meeting and mingling with locals and having real conversation. I have a feeling that the majority of Europeans are a lot like I experienced in Germany. I do think Europe is doing a lot of things right such as not treating medicine and medical care as a luxury like in the USA, and also offering affordable/free higher education (except England!!), and the fantastic public transportation system. But then again, when I came home after being gone for some 15 months or so, I was kissing American soil. In America, we have so much freedom you do not realize until you've left it all behind.

    When I returned to my home university, I had to take the post-test to see how my international perspective of the world changed... Before I left, I was convinced that the US was a fail and Europe was awesome and way better. My test after my trip abroad revealed that I have a more realistic point of view that all countries are essentially the same in that there are good things and bad things, and one country is only better than another country to an individual due to personal perspectives, experiences, and needs.

    That said, I think we as western 1st world countries kind of look at poor 2nd and 3rd world countries in disgust, but I almost think that I would really enjoy simple lifestyles. But now that I am a spoiled American, I would miss my air conditioning, "never ending" supply of running water, etc. But then again, these people don't really know any different. What they do have is real fresh fruits and vegetables and simplicity. I am generally tired of living in a really complicated society, where my success is measured on how much money I make and people judge me on what car I drive or what I wear.

    I spent 2 weeks on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, in a tiny village. I loved being able to wake up go to the market and get said fresh fruits and vegetables. Everyone seemed so happy to just be simply living. All of the children had freshly pressed perfectly clean uniforms and combed hair going to school. It seems like in this western lifestyle, everything is more awesome than it has ever been before with fast speed internet, cable tv, smartphones, etc. etc. and people are still not happy, which is really troubling to me.

    Just remember the grass isn't always greener on the other side! I am still trying to "find" myself
    Last edited by Swishy-Tails; Nov. 26, 2012 at 02:43 PM.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body / love what it loves
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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swishy-Tails View Post
    You must realize that EVERY country has their problems and great benefits. Before I went abroad as an exchange student in college, I had to take a pre-test a part of a study my university did on the open-mindedness before and after students went abroad. My university did not have these study abroad programs where you go abroad with a group from your university and stay with them the whole semester. We actually went abroad, studied at a foreign university, thrown in to mingle and meet new international people instead of clinging to our fellow Americans for comfort. I went to Germany, as I studied linguistics and German. I had been to Germany before as an au pair/nanny, and I thought Europe was the greatest thing ever and America was a huge failure. I had such a good impression of not only Germany being an au pair, from their culture and way of raising children and family values to their liberal and socialistic politics and education. I returned as an exchange student, got a real job at the university as an English teaching assistant.

    What I found is that this country is extremely bureaucratic which really bothered me in many ways. I taught discussion groups of an English humanities course for Engineering and Logistic students needing to better their conversational and writing English skills. The whole purpose of this portion of my job was to simply get the students thinking and talking. The majority of the students had very good English, just made minor grammatical mistakes, but they spoke clear English. Though, I found that by teaching them and also in my other courses in the university and also on the streets just having everyday conversation, Germany are generally not taught to criticize, but better said they are taught not to ever criticize or question authority, which I was also bothered me in many ways. I also slowly discovered how f**king prejudice Germans are against anyone that do not look white/European, particularly against those looking remotely Turkish.

    I backpacked many (I think 16?) European countries for a few months off and on between semester breaks and at the end of my last semester and I feel like I was able to see and experience real Europe, because I was NOT a real tourist as I was couchsurfing (couchsurfing.org), meeting and mingling with locals and having real conversation. I have a feeling that the majority of Europeans are a lot like I experienced in Germany. I do think Europe is doing a lot of things right such as not treating medicine and medical care as a luxury like in the USA, and also offering affordable/free higher education (except England!!), and the fantastic public transportation system. But then again, when I came home after being gone for some 15 months or so, I was kissing American soil. In America, we have so much freedom you do not realize until you've left it all behind.

    I think we as western 1st world countries kind of look at poor 2nd and 3rd world countries in disgust, but I almost think that I would really enjoy simple lifestyles. But now that I am a spoiled American, I would miss my air conditioning, "never ending" supply of running water, etc. But then again, these people don't really know any different. What they do have is real fresh fruits and vegetables and simplicity. I am generally tired of living in a really complicated society, where my success is measured on how much money I make and people judge me on what car I drive or what I wear.

    I spent 2 weeks on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, in a tiny village. I loved being able to wake up go to the market and get said fresh fruits and vegetables. Everyone seemed so happy to just be simply living. All of the children had freshly pressed perfectly clean uniforms and combed hair going to school. It seems like in this western lifestyle, everything is more awesome than it has ever been before with fast speed internet, cable tv, smartphones, etc. etc. and people are still not happy, which is really troubling to me.

    Just remember the grass isn't always greener on the other side! I am still trying to "find" myself
    That is a bit more realistic than others think they know about other countries.

    In Europe, I was watching some students demonstrate about this or that around campus.
    There were walking paths all over and there was NOT ONE that stepped on the carefully manicured grass, respecting the "do not thread on the grass" signs.
    That sheep mentality is what Swishy-Tails is referring to.
    Can you imagine that in an USA campus?
    Can we see the important differences in what we may consider happiness?
    Is being happy not to have any but a few "first world" problems, living a life that is well oiled so there is little strife, amongst people we consider congenial and equal to us?
    Is being happy making our way in a diverse society, where we interact with all kinds of people, so many not like us at many levels and experience a really richer if more anxiety filled, more unsettled reality coming at you from so many other different humans?

    I tell you a little story, when I was getting my visa to come to the USA, the fellow at the consulate told me, "you realize you will never be back? Better make arrangements for that."
    I didn't say anything, that was such an improvable, impossible thought.
    To think that I would ever want to live there, with those ugly americans we think so little of in Europe.
    Well, I am still here, the fellow was right, who would have thought that?

    What I think is that every country has it's own "flavor".
    Whatever that may be, if it is the one you like, that is what you may consider the happiest place.
    For some, that will be some of those european countries.
    I myself love them for many reasons also.
    For others, that may be a third world village.
    For me, the USA, warts and all, has been a good fit, but of course will never know now who else I may have become if I had lived somewhere else all these years.
    Most humans tend to be immensely adaptable.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eclectic Horseman View Post
    Scandanavia, particularly Denmark. All of the Scandanavian countries have a markedly homogeneous population. That means that they are culturally uniform and all have the same values. They have excellent economies with a lot of exportation, and are large social wefare states. Not only does Denmark have socialized health care, but it also provides college education to its citizens. The benefit of a homogeneous population is that all citizens adhere to the "social contract" among government and the people, and between people in the society. There is very little "abuse" of the system or divisive class warfare for this reason. Not much crime. Very low unemployment.

    Of course, it depends on how you define "happiness," but if happiness includes lack of economic anxiety and stress from competition and crime then Denmark is the place to be.
    I have a lot of family in Norway and it is/was much the same. The children born in the 70s and 80s have reaped many benefits from the oil and gas found off shore and their lives are different from their parents and grandparents. But the influx of muslims in the 80s and early 90s and the eastern europeans in the 90s and 2000s has introduced people with different cultural values and morals. I think the Norwegian's thought they'd look at Norwegians and want to adapt and adopt their way of life. That may yet happen in future generations.

    I read an article in which the author recounted how his grandmother would tell him stories about being a maid for a wealthy family after she finished school and before she got married. This was quite common in the latter part of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. Now Norwegian young adults don't want to do menial labor, instead they want to travel and study abroad. I've also noticed that my cousins' children who are now starting families are "more Norwegian" in someways than their parents had been. It's interesting to observe.

    One thing to remember about the United States is that for the most part we are descended from people who chose to leave their home country and family because they were not happy with their life there. Maybe it was religious, or economic or political but they decided to leave and come here to make a life they hoped would be better for themselves and their children. I see that trait in many Americans even now. We will pick up and move to another part of the country to improve our lives instead of sitting and complaining. (well most of us). I think it is one of the big differences between us and other countries. I see it with my cousins in Norway. I'm descended from the 2 members of the family who left Norway for a better life.


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  9. #29
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    Happiness/success does not = wealth.

    The Scandinavian countries (and Switzerland) take very good care of their citizens from cradle to coffin. They are not nervous of crime, they do not have to worry about money if they get hurt or sick, their schooling is excellent and free.

    My daughter lives and is faising her family in Switzerland - it is pretty sweet there.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamara in TN View Post
    the Europeans who are happy,stay
    the others leave for the USA or Australia or elsewhere.

    tamara
    Errr no. You have to give up some things that make you happy/successful in order to gain something else. ie a European tends to give up culture and education for an easier/cheaper way of life in immigrant based countries.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    The reason some like to find one country better than another is generally driven by some agenda, like finding a country with nationalized health care and higher in whatever measure of happy citizens and assume that is because of the nationalized health care.
    That happened with Denmark some years ago, their nationalized health care made an example of wonderful bringer of happiness to all.
    If that's a component of resident satisfaction with a nation, then it's telling. IMO, a safety net for biological health isn't something that the rich traditionally thought about. After all, they could generally buy their way to living with less disease or accidental injury that others. Maybe folks around the world are getting poorer?

    Oh, and another amazing statistic: Infant mortality rates in various nations. The US is higher up there than we'd expect, being the canonical example of a First World country.

    And the point about the cheaper living near the tropics where you don't have to buy heat and do have enough water. Good point!
    The armchair saddler
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  12. #32
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    I lived and studied just north of London, England for 6 months in 1977.
    I was surprised at the lack of economic and social freedom people had, both teen and adult. True one is not accepted in certain clubs or groups here, but that is always subject to change. Better education, more wealth, charitable works or fame opens doors in this country. Once opened your family can chose to associate or not associate with your peers. Not so much in England several decades ago.
    Other differences, back then all fruits and vegetables were available year round due to England's trade. But it was difficult to find a place to get a munchie after 8pm, such a MickeyD.
    The kids considered me well off as I owned my own car back home - a Ford Pinto.

    Probably the greatest impact on me was in general freedom. The freedom to move about, take different jobs, school, friends, etc that I had in the US was not reflected in the British students.

    Now I see more of the British/European viewpoint being "talked up" here. As in you belong to the social/economic group you were born, don't bother attempting to move up. It matters more where you were educated and less on what you learned and how you applied that knowledge.

    Freedom is a dangerous thing. With personal freedom one can destroy oneself or rule a country or anything in between.
    I wonder if the Wright Bros would be able to set up shop on a beach to learn how to fly today. Thinks of the permits, ecological studies, licenses, etc required. . .
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim


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  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by hastyreply View Post
    I have a lot of family in Norway and it is/was much the same. The children born in the 70s and 80s have reaped many benefits from the oil and gas found off shore and their lives are different from their parents and grandparents. But the influx of muslims in the 80s and early 90s and the eastern europeans in the 90s and 2000s has introduced people with different cultural values and morals. I think the Norwegian's thought they'd look at Norwegians and want to adapt and adopt their way of life. That may yet happen in future generations.

    I read an article in which the author recounted how his grandmother would tell him stories about being a maid for a wealthy family after she finished school and before she got married. This was quite common in the latter part of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. Now Norwegian young adults don't want to do menial labor, instead they want to travel and study abroad. I've also noticed that my cousins' children who are now starting families are "more Norwegian" in someways than their parents had been. It's interesting to observe.

    One thing to remember about the United States is that for the most part we are descended from people who chose to leave their home country and family because they were not happy with their life there. Maybe it was religious, or economic or political but they decided to leave and come here to make a life they hoped would be better for themselves and their children. I see that trait in many Americans even now. We will pick up and move to another part of the country to improve our lives instead of sitting and complaining. (well most of us). I think it is one of the big differences between us and other countries. I see it with my cousins in Norway. I'm descended from the 2 members of the family who left Norway for a better life.
    My mom (born in Norway) thinks most of the younger Norwegian kids are spoiled these days. (Isn't that what we think of the kids here too? : ). She was raised in Norway during WW2. Things were very different..... But all this easy life is causing problems. As you say, kids don't want to do menial labor. There is money and education for everyone, so people aren't forced to take those kinds of jobs. They end up having immigrants do that kind of stuff.... In the meantime, my relatives are running around the world having a grand old time...



  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunny59 View Post
    My mom (born in Norway) thinks most of the younger Norwegian kids are spoiled these days. (Isn't that what we think of the kids here too? : ). She was raised in Norway during WW2. Things were very different..... But all this easy life is causing problems. As you say, kids don't want to do menial labor. There is money and education for everyone, so people aren't forced to take those kinds of jobs. They end up having immigrants do that kind of stuff.... In the meantime, my relatives are running around the world having a grand old time...
    To put that in perspective, they then resent the immigrants that come do the work that is beneath the rich and better educated Norwegians.

    Imagine if, say, every state in the USA is it's own country, with it's own centuries long culture and their own language.
    Some states have resources so large they now can make every citizen's standard of living some of the best ones in the world and thru taxing them very much, since there is so much out there and redistributing that wealth, everyone in their state equal participant in those riches.
    Then some from NM, a poorer country, go to NY, rich now, to work there and are treated like the poor, less lucky foreigners they then are.

    That is part of what is going on in Europe, that the European Common Market was trying to handle so the poorer countries didn't rebel and made it more difficult for the richer ones to function.
    You can see how that is working, by fits and starts.
    Will be interesting to see how it goes from here.

    I am not sure that anyone, anywhere in this world, that has enough or more than enough, can possibly be that happy anyway, knowing that so many don't even have the basics and, for an accident of birth and luck, they happen to have so much and live where they have some basic security and a fair to good to excellent standard of living.



  15. #35
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by sunny59 View Post
    My mom (born in Norway) thinks most of the younger Norwegian kids are spoiled these days. (Isn't that what we think of the kids here too? : ). She was raised in Norway during WW2. Things were very different..... But all this easy life is causing problems. As you say, kids don't want to do menial labor. There is money and education for everyone, so people aren't forced to take those kinds of jobs. They end up having immigrants do that kind of stuff.... In the meantime, my relatives are running around the world having a grand old time...
    AARRGG! I tried to hit the little green thumb and hit the ding dang red one instead! NO way to change it back! Sorry about that. I agree with you. My cousins who are my age had very limited traveling and educational opportunities. Some whose parents had more money had it a bit better. Not so for the children. They have pretty much all traveled in Europe, many in the USA and Asia. Some of them have gotten degrees in Europe because the competition is tough in Norway. 2 are even professional athletes - imagine being a professional biathlete in the US.
    Time will tell how it all works out. (sorry again about the red thumb)



  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Equibrit View Post
    Errr no. You have to give up some things that make you happy/successful in order to gain something else. ie a European tends to give up culture and education for an easier/cheaper way of life in immigrant based countries.
    the ones I have among my family (extended) felt confined by the way of life...where you know and are given your path that you do not stray from until you die...

    so they left,they love the old country and love the family and love to visit but they could not live the dreams that they wanted and stay there.

    so they left for America and Central America and New Zealand and elsewhere...
    tamara
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


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