Tolerance for Happiness

Richard Florida compares happiness levels across nations:

While income and the level of economic development play an important role in the happiness of nations, well-being is also related to the type and nature of economic development and the values it engenders. There is something in the nature of post-industrial economies and in their values that appears to affect the greater happiness of their people over and above the effects of income.

Perhaps it is that people with higher levels of education have more flexibility or choice in pursuing their dreams, building families and social relationships that are more fulfilling, or simply in their ability to adjust to misfortune or bad times. Perhaps it is that knowledge-based jobs are more challenging and fulfilling. It’s also clear that the most troubled societies — those with the highest reported levels of suffering — also, generally speaking, face the highest levels of intolerance. While income and the level of economic development certainly need to be top of mind considerations when we think about or attempt to act on the happiness of nations, one simply cannot neglect the effects of economic and social structure and of values in social well-being.

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