America: losing its smile
One of the founding principles that America was built on was the pursuit of happiness. Now, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report, America is not as happy as it once was.
The report states, in 2007, America was the third happiest country in the world. Now, America is 14th of 151. While 14th isn’t terrible, there has been a noticeable decline, which should make American citizens wonder where did we go wrong?
Jeffrey D. Sachs, one of the authors of the report, and director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, New York, believes that Americans are too focused on fixing economic issues with the goal of the “American Dream” but are taking the wrong steps.
The report is based on six variables: log income per capita, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom to make life choices, generosity of donations, and perceived corruption of government and business.
According to past studies the only variables to increase over time are income per capita and healthy life expectancy; coincidentally these are the only two materialistic variables in this study.
The other four variables focus more on social issues that are perceived. With the uproar that the country has been in especially in the past few years, there is no surprise that many citizens feel less personal freedom, show less social support, give lower donations, and have more perceived corruption of government and business.
America has been so focused on repairing the economic situation that we have lost our happiness and pride as citizens. It’s no secret that big business corporations have taken over and imposed their will.
Bank accounts now have surpassed personal happiness and many people feel that they can’t be happy unless they have money and live a certain lifestyle.
The rich continue to enjoy the luxuries of tax cuts, offshore accounts, and making sure that the wealthy stay wealthy. While less-fortunate families struggle to make any type of real income, and less help from the government creates a distrust that has grown more with each passing year.
Another issue that America is currently facing that deeply impacts the country is the alarming racial tensions. Areas with higher ethnic diversity reportedly have less social trust than areas with less diversity.
Racial tensions in the country are starting to revert back to the days of the Civil Rights movement and no steps are being taken to stop it from happening. More racial issues and racial violence have been shown on the news now than ever before, which creates more distrust with other citizens.
America’s happiness has been slowly declining but this report will hopefully shine a light on the current issues that we are facing and spark a change in people. If not, one can only assume that Americans will continue this unhappy trend and things will go back to the way they were in the Civil Rights days.