What's the secret to happiness in Buenos Aires?

RWS

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jp said:
. . . . it[']s difficult to understand what poverty, or insecurity, or illness and corruption mean to people who according to our western eyes "live in hell". I lived out in south india for a while. People were remarkably optimistic and overall seemed very happy to me. Religion played a huge part in their lives . . . . Family and religion were important in a way I wasn't used to. . . .
Happiness can be as simple as low expectations, optimism and an absence of TV telling you how bad things are on an hourly basis.
Happiness is just a perspective on life.
My father was an attaché in Addis Ababa for two years in my childhood, long before the Communist revolution. I think that the quoted portions of "jp"'s observations may be applicable worldwide -- if there's any place left without television!
 

mini

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Stanexpat said:
The link below supports your point and shows the average tax burden in Denmark is very high, about double the U.S.
http://www.forbes.com/global/2006/0522/032a.html

I just skimmed the article, but even though it's called a "Misery and Reform" study, I didn't see where it said the people are miserable.

Also, Denmark & Sweden deduct total heathcare, retirement costs. I wonder how much total deduction would in the US if they included heath insurance in the total deductions.

ANyway, the high tax issues was mentioned in the interview I posted. Some Danes talk about how they feel about this.

I don't know how this became a discussion of Denmark as a whole. We were talking about what makes people happy and the interview described a country where people are generally happy (Denmark) and some of their attitudes such as security, healthcare, jobs, low exceptions, realistic vs optimistic attitude toward life, free eductation, family, & not necessarily high salaries, etc. I didn't mean for this to be a discussion if the Danes are really happy or not.

jp said:
The study was based on fieldwork of teenagers across the world, respectable sample sizes in each country, sound methodology etc. Was specific to youth, but nice to see results supported in other studies (nigeria & bangladesh)

I'd be interested to read that study if you have a link as, in the case of Denmark, religion or even freedom of religion where not mentioned at all.
 

mini

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RWS said:
My father was an attaché in Addis Ababa for two years in my childhood, long before the Communist revolution. I think that the quoted portions of "jp"'s observations may be applicable worldwide -- if there's any place left without television!

My house! But then again, I end up having heated debates with people online!! :D
(j/k)
 

soulskier

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Quickroute said:
Not legal but there is an old army base called Cristiania which is an island in the center of the city that was taken over by hippies in the seventies. They set up a commune and it's still there today. Hash is sold pretty openly but they have their own law and anyone found selling 'hard' drugs gets a serious beating. It has some of the best bars and restaurants in Denmark. The police only enter as a last resort and usually in groups of a hundred in full riot gear.
Very interesting place and worth a visit. Sampling the local wares optional :cool:

QR, thanks for the breakdown!
 

tangocherie

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I agree with Sergio. I don't like to be negative, especially where people don't even know me, but I've lived in BsAs for 5 years, 4 of those with an Argentine. And my perception is they are not a happy people--and that's where the tango comes from.

Because of one corrupt and ineffective government after another, they have no hope for the future, no hope that times will change for the better, no hope that sacrificing for a good education will change their lives at all. Here at the ends of the earth, they feel alienated from the rest of world, so very far from the Europe they still think of as "home." So they have become fixated on being happy "now!" They sacrifice to have plastic surgery, they exhaust themselves in gyms, appearance is everything--and that includes material goods. And in Argentina, everything is so expensive.

This is not a criticism; I would be exactly the same if I had grown up here.

My Argentine is a naturally cheerful person, even though he's lived at the poverty level all of his life. He had to quit school in the 4th grade to cut sugarcane in the fields of Tucuman. But how can anyone be happy when they can't pay the light bill, or their kids have to survive on mate and sugar?

Happiness is for those with full stomachs, a roof over their heads, and electricity. For the rest, "happiness" is survival.
 

ReemsterCARP

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I think happiness is in the little things. Especially when you're (almost) skint. When living on a tight budget, eating out becoms a special thing, or going to see a football match is an even more intense experience, because you know you've had to sacrifice a lot to be able to do it.

On a more scientific note, Ted Robert Gurr wrote an interesting book called, "Why men revolt", and explained that people's happiness depends on their social-economic status and what values they associate with membership of that certain class.

Belonging to the middle class goes with owning a decent home, having a fairly new car, and being able to go on a holiday at least once a year and being able to vote in elections (for example). In other words, people have certain value expectations (material and immaterial). They measure these against reality.

The bigger the gap between expectations and reality, the more unhappy they'll feel.
 

soulskier

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TangoC, I think you might find a different view in the interior of the country. We lived outside San Rafael, Mendoza province for 2 years, which was very poor. We were constantly amazed how happy people were, most with virtually nothing to their name.
 
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