The Danes are at it again.
Making me re-obsessed about what makes them consistently among the Happiest Countries In The World.
After reading numerous books on hygge, lykke and what it means to actually live in Denmark, I have come to the conclusion that it is because they are so heavily taxed.
They, like all Nordic countries, and even us here in Canada, to some degree, pay a large amount of taxes.
As I understand it, the Danes pay so much in taxes that it virtually levels the playing field as far as income goes.
For example, if you make not very much money, say under $10,000, you pay no taxes.
If you make a bit more, you pay some taxes.
And if you make a lot more, you pay a lot more taxes.
That is it.
It makes everyone more or less equal.
There really is no have and have not.
It is really everyone has about the same.
At social events, in neighbourhoods, community gatherings, wherever, you have doctors and lawyers mixing it up with carpenters and landscapers.
And before the question is asked, what is the point of going to school and getting a good (free!) education to have a good career and income when the tax is so heavy that the income is reduced to that of someone who earns much less, may I say that their tax system seems to create a level of equality that may have something to do with the contribution to happiness.
And because of those high taxes, the Danes have it good.
Along with free education, there is free health care, heavily subsizided daycare, help to get by if you are unemployed, so many perks.
And the theory is that because the Danes feel safe in that they will be taken care of by their state, there is more trust, a feeling of safety, of cooperation and collaboration.
Heck, it seems there is so much trust that parents don’t blink an eye at leaving their children outside restaurants in their strollers while they go inside for a meal!
Try that in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world for that matter.
And perhaps indeed they are onto something.
Studies have shown that money can’t really buy you happiness.
And it seems in Denmark having money and showing off is really frowned upon.
No one likes a braggart.
Humble and kind seems to be their moniker.
And because even cars are heavily taxed, bicycles are THE way to get around.
And all that exercise releasing all those endorphins and feel-good chemicals in the brain – well, you can’t argue with that!
And when you think of the inequality that is rampant in some countries, in the sense of money and access to health care and other basic necessities of life, it is no wonder there is division and derision and bitterness. A lack of trust in the system, a sense of despair that education is out of reach financially, that child care is through-the-roof expensive, and that one has to make a choice to pay out of pocket to go to a hospital or suffer.
The Danes seem happy to pay their sky high taxes, because they are happy with their welfare, or all fair, state.
They have trust that the government will use their tax money for good things, for the betterment for all.
They must be doing something right.
The Danes are at it again.