Thursday, October 24, 2013

Distopia



I recently had the pleasure of perusing the 2013 World Happiness report which attempts to ascertain the level of “life satisfaction” experienced by a particular country’s populace and then compare that to other countries. The study utilized a fictional sovereign nation called “Distopia” to which they attributed the lowest worldwide average of 6 key variables: GDP per capita, years of healthy life expectancy, social support, perceptions of corruption, prevalence of generosity, and freedom to make life choices. They then ranked the 156 countries to decide which sovereign nation was the happiest.

Out of all the nations to appear in the report, Denmark received the study’s highest marks for happiness while the United States wasn’t even the happiest country in North America (Canada and Mexico were both ranked higher). Aside from making our fight against illegal immigration seem ironic, the report highlighted some interesting aspects of our country.


The first sub-category is GDP per-capita (or the total value of all goods and services produced by a country divided by country’s population) and according to the International Monetary Fund, the United States is consistently ranked lower than Denmark or Canada in this category so that would contribute to our 17th place overall finish. Using this economic metric, Denmark generates an average of $6,000 more per citizen per year and Canada generates about $2,000 more per citizen per year. Mexico wasn’t even in the running. 

The second sub-category is years of “healthy” life expectancy. I assume this means that they adjusted the regular life expectancy for people who are vegetative or enjoy Taco Bell on a regular basis. The United States was again ranked below Denmark and Canada but ahead of Mexico. This could also be partially explained by the fact that America’s obesity rate is almost double of those in Canada or Denmark.


The last three sub-categories are much more difficult to quantify as they are generally the result of responses to “yes” or “no” questions like, “Do you have someone in your life that you could count whenever you need them?” and “Are you satisfied that you have the freedom to do what you want with your life?" It appears that several countries scored lower because their populace is prohibited from answering questions about freedom.

Mostly, I was disappointed that they did not further elaborate on what Distopia would look like in practical terms so I took it upon myself to create some specifics on this depressingly unhappy country.

Governance –Revolving monthly dictatorship based on height.

Geography – 12,452 square miles of treacherous ravines bordered by a half-dozen active volcanoes. Area is prone to flooding, drought, and holiday landslides.

Education – Compulsory repression classes until the age of 12 followed by six months of mandatory self-loathing seminars.   

Climate –High risk for arctic tornadoes and drought lightning. Sun is visible only between 11:42 and 11:46 AM during the month of June.

Economy – Carcinogen manufacturing and Maury Povich transcription services provide the majority of household income. Individual tax rates are determined by zodiac sign.

Military – Standing army is comprised of 150 nearsighted middle school children armed with T-shirt cannons. Navy consists of 3 decommissioned “bumper-boats” and one Nerf N-Elite RapidStrike CS-18 Blaster.
 
Religion – Charismatic Scientology (85%) / Militant Quakers (14%) / Orthodox Agnosticism (1%)
 

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