Friday, November 23, 2012

Singapore: Less Emotional, More Prosperous

A new Gallup poll has just discovered that Singapore is the least emotional nation on the planet. Gallup also determined that the Philippines is the most emotional country in the world.

Naturally, the Gallup pollsters consider that the people of Singapore are missing out on the good things in life. They might be rich but they are not, according to Gallup, really enjoying their wealth.

The Guardian reports:

"If you measure Singapore by the traditional indicators, they look like one of the best-run countries in the world," Gallup's Jon Clifton was quoted as saying in a Bloomberg report on the survey. "But if you look at everything that makes life worth living, they're not doing so well."

If you live in a therapy bubble, you might actually believe that your emotional state defines your happiness. You might even believe that a life filled with emotional storm and stress is a good life. And you might believe that living in one of the freest, most prosperous nations on earth is bad for your emotional well-being.

Of course, Singapore has the highest per capita GDP in theworld. Depending on how you calculate it, it is between $50,000 and $60,000. The per capita GDP of the Philippines was closer to $2,300.

Where would you like to live?

Of course, Singapore has both good and bad. It does not rate very high on the free expression or free assembly scales. Yet, when it comes to other measures of freedom it surpasses even America.

Wikipedia explains:

The Singaporean economy is known as one of the freest,[58] most innovative,[59] most competitive,[60] and most business-friendly.[61] The 2011 Index of Economic Freedom ranks Singapore as the second freest economy in the world, behind Hong Kong. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index, Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, along with New Zealand and the Scandinavian countries.

Is Gallup correct to see a direct correlation between emotionality and happiness? Of course, not. People in the Philippines are wallowing in emotion, but they are also the most depressed in their region.

According to the Guardian:

In the Philippines – which ranked as the world's most emotional society, followed by El Salvador and Bahrain – analysts were quick to point out that being emotional doesn't necessarily equate with being happy. One reporter at GMA News stressed that the nation ranked 103rd out of 155 countries in the 2012 World Happiness Report – and that its 95 million inhabitants are said to be the most depressed in all of south-east Asia.

You would think that the conclusions would be obvious. Apparently, this is not the case.

To summarize: if you have to choose between a culture where people are relatively unemotional and a culture where people are relatively emotional, then the choice is clear: the first is associated with prosperity; the second is associated with depression.

If you want to achieve economic growth and prosperity, you need less, not more therapy.

In a dysfunctional culture people are more emotional because they do not understand what is going on and have little power to change things.

In a functional culture people do not need to emote all the time. They employ their rational faculties to solve problems because the problems are solvable. If the problems are not solvable, then they will fall back on plan B-- they will become slaves to their emotions.

But why does the Gallup organization persist in itss absurd idea when the evidence shows that the most emotional nation is also the most depressed?

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

They don't understand that "What's The Matter With Kansas?" is asking the wrong questions and analyzing the answers using incorrect assumptions.