There are always odd stories that pop up here in Europe....that make you want to ask more questions.
This week....a German economic institute sat down and laid out research that they'd done on Denmark and this happiness factor. If you didn't know....for a decade or two....various polls had been indicating Danes are awful happy people....in good times and bad.
Naturally, the general journalist explanation was that Denmark had sufficient taxes and made sure everyone in society there equally suffered.....thus the poor were non-existent and this all led to socialist values being wonderful....if you'd just do it the Danish way.
All through the years that I'd heard this explanation and the general polling data....I'd just shake my head. It just didn't make a lot of sense, and someone ought to do a real poll, with Danes who left Denmark years ago and see if they were the same happy way in their new country.
Well...the is Center for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) did the research with Danes who left the country figured into the mix, and the German economic group IZA published it.
It's kinda shocking. Danes have this DNA additive that some other cultures lack. Danes have this extra bit of gene that helps the brain produce the mode happiness chemical of Serotonin. So, you can take a Dane out of Denmark for years and years.....putting him into Italy, New Jersey, Oklahoma, or even Columbus, Mississippi......and he's still pumping out this Serotonin, and in a fairly happy mood.
So, they went into another part of the research.....genetic distance from Denmark. The further away from Denmark....the lower your happiness. Folks near Denmark were awful happy.....those in distances away like Greece or Turkey....lesser happy. The same goes for Spain, Russia, and various Middle Eastern cultures.
A person could sit here now and see several observations.
First, there are around 1.5 million Americans who can claim some type of Danish gene or ancestor. The majority of which live in Utah, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan (only slightly in one area of the state). If you notice.....rugged areas of the US where people are usually positive and happy.
Second, there is some reason that triggered the people clustered around Denmark 50,000 to 100,000 years ago....to have more of this gene producer of Serotonin. Just an accident? Maybe. But you'd figure something was a trigger in this.
Third, this talk for a number of years of socialist lifestyle and distribution of taxation making people happy? All bogus. You can throw out the various studies which simply kept looking just short of physical and gene data.
Fourth? A large segment of folks who live in Iceland.....came originally from Denmark. If you look around Iceland always come up on the happiness scale and folks want to "blame" this on the social lifestyle in Iceland. Sadly, it may have nothing to do with taxation, redistribution of government funding, or a big fish diet.
Fifth and final? There's this odd thing which most Danes will discuss away from the table....about the number of Muslims who are immigrating into Denmark. Danes will question the wisdom of this. Using the old logic of taxation and socialism.....then you'd think that Muslims would generally get happy after a decade or two of living in Denmark. But if you look at this study....Muslims will likely never reach this happiness stage....because they lack the same Serotonins. So, you will forever have unhappy Islamic people in Denmark.
The happy Dane? Well....he or she....is really in a naturally doped-up stage, and it doesn't matter if you took him to New Jersey to live, or taxed him at a fifty-percent rate or a five-percent rate....he'd still be happy.