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Ecuador Index

Ecuador’s index of happiness is pretty good according to NEF. See more about the NEF international business and investing index here.

ecuador index

NEF is an independent think-and-do tank that tries to analyze real economic well-being.  NEF’s aim is to improve the world’s quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environmental and social issues.

NEF’s has a report, the Happy Planet Index that says: An index of human well-being and environmental impact, published in association with Friends of the Earth, moves beyond crude ratings of nations according to national income, measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to produce a more accurate picture of the progress of nations based on the amount of the Earth’s resources they use, and the length and happiness of people’s lives.

The report shows that:

* Self appointed world ‘leaders’ – the G8 – score generally badly in the Index: The US comes in at a low 114.

ecuador index

*  Many Western countries like the US and England are below most of Latin America.

ecuador index

* Central America is the region with the highest average score in the Index: The region combines relatively good life expectancy (an average of 70 years) and high life satisfaction with an ecological footprint below its globally equitable share. Central America has had a notorious history of conflict and political instability, but the last 15 years have been relatively peaceful, which perhaps, with traditionally high levels of community engagement, explain its success.

ecuador index

* Countries classified by the United Nations as ‘medium human development’ come out better than both low and high-development countries: Only one ‘low-development’ country has a strong HPI score, whilst 21 per cent of countries classified as ‘highly-developed’ do. However, 44 per cent of countries with ‘medium-development’ score well. This is because, beyond a certain level, vastly increasing consumption fails to lead to greater well-being.

ecuador index

His painting:

ecuador index

* Well-being is not based on high levels of consumption: For example, Estonia – with high consumption – rates poorly on well-being.  And, in the Dominican Republic where well-being is high, consumption is not above a globally equitable share.
ecuador index

* Life satisfaction varies wildly country by country: Questioned on how satisfied they were with their life as a whole, on a scale of 1-10 (1 being ‘dissatisfied, 10 ‘satisfied’), 29.4 per cent of Zimbabweans rate themselves at 1 and only 5.7 per cent rate themselves at 10. By contrast, 28.4 per cent of Danes rate their satisfaction with life 10/10, with less than one percent rating 1.

ecuador index

* Life expectancy also varies wildly: Babies born in Japan can expect to live to 82, but only to 32 and a half if born in Swaziland.

ecuador index

* Overall, we are over-burdening the Earth’s currently available biocapacity: By consuming 22 per cent above our ecosystems’ ability to regenerate we are eating into and degrading the natural resources that our life-support systems depend on. In the process we are depleting the environmental goods and services that future generations will depend on, with potentially devastating consequences.

ecuador index

“We are used to comparing countries in terms of crude riches or what they trade. There are international league tables for performance on issues from corruption to sporting success. But, NEF’s Happy Planet Index measures something much more fundamental. It addresses the relative success or failure of countries in giving their citizens a good life, whilst respecting the environmental resource limits on which all our lives depend. The order of nations that emerges may seem counter-intuitive. But this is because, to a large degree, policy makers have been led astray by abstract mathematical models of the economy that bear little relation to the real world.”

Some of the most unexpected findings concern the marked differences between nations, and the similarities among some groups of nations:

* Island nations score well above average in the Index: They have higher life satisfaction, higher life expectancy and marginally lower Footprints than other states. Yet incomes (by GDP per capita) are roughly equal to the world average. Even within regions, islands do well. Malta tops the Western world with Cyprus in seventh place (out of 24); the top five HPI nations in Africa are all islands; as well as two of the top four in Asia.  Perhaps a more acute awareness of environmental limits has sometimes helped their societies to bond better and to adapt to get more from less. Combined with the enhanced well-being that stems from close contact with nature, the world as a whole stands to learn much from the experience of islands.

* It is possible to live long, happy lives with a much smaller environmental impact: For example, in the United States and Germany people’s sense of life satisfaction is almost identical and life expectancy is broadly similar. Yet Germany’s Ecological Ecological footprint is only about half that of the USA. This means that Germany is around twice as efficient as the USA at generating happy long lives based on the resources that they consume.

Here are the 25 top nations in the NEF Happiness Index.
Country               Life               Life          Foot        Happiness
Expectancy  Satisfaction    Print    Potential Index

1. Costa Rica        78.5               8.5           2.3             76.1
2. Dominican
Republic               71.5               7.6            1.5              71.8
3. Jamaica           72.2               6.7            1.1               70.1
4. Guatemala       69.7               7.4            1.5             68.4
5. Vietnam           73.7               6.5            1.3              66.5
6. Colombia         72.3               7.3            1.8              66.1
7. Cuba                 77.7                6.7            1.8             65.7
8. El Salvador     71.3                6.7            1.6              61.5
9. Brazil               71.7                7.6             2.4             61.0
10. Honduras      69.4               7.0            1.8              61.0
11. Nicaragua      71.9                7.1             2.0             60.5
12. Egypt              70.7              6.7             1.7              60.3
13. Saudi Arabia 72.2              7.7             2.6              59.7
14. Philippines    71.0              5.5             0.9              59.0
15. Argentina      74.8              7.1              2.5              59.0
16. Indonesia      69.7              5.7             0.9               58.9
17. Bhutan           64.7              6.1             1.0                58.5
18. Panama         75.1               7.8             3.2               57.4
19. Laos               63.2              6.2              1.1                57.3
20. China            72.5              6.7               2.1                57.1
21. Morocco       70.4              5.6               1.1                 56.8
22. Sri Lanka      71.6              5.4              1.0                 56.5
23. Mexico          75.6              7.7               3.4                 55.6
24. Pakistan        64.6             5.6               0.8                55.6
25. Ecuador        74.7              6.4               2.2                 55.5

Gary

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