Aaron in Azerbaijan

Just another blog about Azerbaijan.

Want to Be Happy? Don’t Be Post-Soviet

with 4 comments

In Bhutan a few years ago, they introduced the Gross National Happiness measure.  Even more comprehensive, however, is the World Values Survey, chiefly administered by Ronald Inglehart at the University of Michigan.   He and his team found some interesting information that just serves to reinforce what we already know here.  Namely, that post-Soviet countries aren’t big on happiness.  Here’s a look at the top ten (reported in 2008):

Zimbabwe (least happy)

Notice that of those 10 countries, eight of them are post-Soviet countries, including Russia, the most of the posts.  If you take a look at the report from Inglehart, you find that Azerbaijan falls right in with those countries.  Somehow Azerbaijan beat out Georgia but, based on experiences that some of our Azerbaijan PCVs have had when they traveled to Georgia, this probably has changed since that survey was conducted.  I want to see how Azerbaijan would fare in such a survey today, after a few years of at least some improvements due to oil wealth.  For you who are curious, Denmark was considered the happiest.  But Bhutan got left out of the study.  If you want to see how they’re doing, you can check on the Bhutanese here.

Update: Thanks to Movie-ing Maniac for keeping me honest.  When I wrote post-Soviet, I meant countries that had gone through periods of Soviet-ideology rule.  As he notes: “…specifically, Albania and Bulgaria were not part of the Soviet Union. They had socialist ideology, governmental system, and Soviet influence but they were never part of the Soviet Union.”


Written by Aaron

April 8, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Hey Aaron,

    Came back to share something on your last post.
    I hope it will not be helpful.
    You wrote that there were EIGHT post-soviet countries in the list. But it seems to me there are SIX of them. Obviously, either our (yours and mine) concepts of post-soviet country are different or one of us can’t count well.
    I’m sure both of us have enough math education to know the difference between eight and six so I would say we understand concept of post-soviet countries differently.
    It seems to me “post-soviet countries” as a word means only those nations which were among the fifteen republics in the Soviet Union and became independent after collapse of the USSR. In your list there are only six of them: Armenia, Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, and Russia. Others, specifically, Albania and Bulgaria were not part of the Soviet Union. They had socialist ideology, governmental system, and Soviet influence but they were never part of the Soviet Union – they were independent nations. Of course, you can contest my claim but it is historical fact that those nations had more political freedom from Moscow than anyone of 15 republics, were not among establishing republics of the USSR, were recognized internationally as independent nations with their own borders, constitutions, and politics.
    Overall, I agree with what you claim. If you want to be happy, be whatever you want except post-soviet (and except country that was soviet satellite nation like Albania and Bulgaria).

    Sag ve salamat

    Movie-ing Maniac

    April 10, 2010 at 2:50 am

  2. oh, sorry, I wanted to write “I hope it WILL BE HELPFUL.” But mistyped (after editing) “I hope it will NOT be helpful”.
    In all honesty, no Freudian slip though:)….

    Movie-ing Maniac

    April 10, 2010 at 2:54 am

  3. […] There are some things that post-Soviet countries are great at, and compete fiercely for, like least happy populace and coolest Olympic uniforms.  It turns out that that’s not all!  You would think that […]

  4. […] post-Soviet countries stack up in corruption.  We’ve already covered how they do happiness here (could corruption and happiness be related?)  Of the 15 former Soviet Republics, 11 are currently […]

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