Off Topic – What makes us "Happy" – A formula for good government… (3 Responses)

Interesting article on the happiest (aka most prosperous) countries in the world
“…Indeed, most of the top 20 ‘happiest’ countries according to the index are in western Europe. So what gives? What do these nations have in common that can somehow explain their prosperity? Being an electoral democracy is virtually a given. Being small also seems to help. Big countries with heterogeneous populations are more unwieldy; disparate groups make it harder for a society to build social cohesion and trust.

What else? They are all borderline socialist states, with generous welfare benefits and lots of redistribution of wealth. Yet they don’t let that socialism cross the line into autocracy. Civil liberties are abundant (consider decriminalized drugs and prostitution in the Netherlands). There are few restrictions on the flow of capital or of labor.

So where does the United States rank? It’s at 12th place this year, slipping from 10th. According to Legatum, the U.S. has slipped in the areas of governance, personal freedom, and most troubling, in entrepreneurship & opportunity. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, but Legatum notes ‘a decline in citizens perception that working hard gets you ahead.’ ”

…It sounds like an excellent aspirational model for any government, national or local, would include a strong social agenda (we have this in Massachusetts), access to “deep pockets” funding (ditto) but realization that business drive prosperity (don’t kill the golden egg laying goose…hmmmmm) and a strong commitment to personal freedom (oh-oh….)

Our Federal system is horribly broken and our state’s system is not much better off — here in Massachusetts the “cradle of liberty” we are constantly faced with challenges to personal freedom and a government that treats us like piggy banks. The overarching feeling seems to be that it’s OK to legislate most of the aspects of our daily life. It’s death-by-a-thousand-cuts…the slow creep of bureaucracy and autocracy… maybe it’s just me, but I’d like to see us back in the top ten. An easy way to do this is to say “NO” to legislation aimed at limiting personal freedom. Then let’s make sure we encourage business success instead of thinking we can tax it to death.

oh yeah.. here’s the list..

1. Norway
2. Denmark
3. Sweden
4. Australia
5. New Zealand
6. Canada
7. Finland
8. The Netherlands
9. Switzerland
10. Ireland

Sorry for the near-rant….I guess it’s just January.

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    Will Brownsberger
    State Senator
    2d Suffolk and Middlesex District