Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Singapore an Unhappy Place to Live

When browsing the BBC website, I came across a story on a report compiled by think-tank the New Economics Foundation (Nef). This report considers statistics like the average happiness of a nation, the lifespan of its citizens, then compares it against the ecological footprint the nation occupies. Using these data, they generate a statistic, the 'Happy Planet Index' (HPI), which attempts to measure the efficiency at which a nation converts resources into the well-being of its citizens.

Ok, that sounded complex. But I suppose we all want to know how Singapore did, right? I'll post an extract of the report here. By the way, the first column is the Life Satisfaction index, the second the Life Expectancy, the third the ecological footprint (the number of earths we need if everyone lived like that), and the final column the HPI.

The results are not very pleasing. While Singapore scores well in two categories, it suffers from a very severe habit of high resource consumption. This same problem is faced by much of the Western world-- if you turn to the table documenting the Western world, you'll find the entire table to be much like Singapore, two columns green and one red.

The report, which can be downloaded free at the Nef Website, suggests that human well-being doesn't require lots of resource consumption. While many parts of the report may not be very objective, I think that their suggestion makes a lot of sense. Happiness doesn't always mean buying more stuff.

**For those people who downloaded the report, the tables start from page 16. You might want to skip the first few pages.

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Anonymous said...

And I crossed upon a blog which is obscenely pessimistic, and written obscenely well. :-D

I have to agree that Singaporeans are indeed an unhappy lot. Just look at their faces in the bus, and you can see the weariness in their eyes...


The Negative Man said...

There might be an explaination behind this unhappiness. Access the link below.

I have verified the information on Google Zeitgeist myself :)

The Negative Man said...

It appears the links are down. Oh well, anyone who wants the report just comment your email here. I'll send the 1.62 mb file to you.

Jackson Tan said...

Gee, you're horrible at hyperlinking!

Click me!

Anyway, Singaporeans' worries have changed. The May 2006 Singapore Zeitgeist ranks the IRAS at third place and CPF at 11th. Amusingly enough, Pokemon came in 13th.

Anonymous said...

Opps I didn't know that HMTL could be used in the comments box :(

Anyway here's the new link for the HPI website. Good time as any to test the html.