31st March 2013

Hooray. European summer time. More light for a SAD person like me, doomed from my East European ancestors and northern childhood to be forever depressed. I've never understood why people don't all move to sunnier, warmer places when their situation allows it. And, why isn't property more expensive than in the colder, darker ones. So, I was surprised to read a new report from the Paris School of Economics that France, famous for its joie de vivre, is suffering from existential gloom. It seems the French are "taught" to be miserable by elements of their own culture, so they are far less happy than their wealth and lifestyle suggest they should be. The French enjoy a high standard of living,  have a generous welfare state, plus universal and free access to healthcare, hospitals, public schools and universities. It has a 35-hour working week and many foreigners (including 150,000 British expats already here) aspire to make it their home. Yet the French are gloomy. A recent WIN-Gallup poll found that their expectations for the coming year ranked lower than those in Iraq or Afghanistan. And, the WHO notes that the suicide rate in France is much higher than in any of the "old European countries", with the exception of Finland. But, in many poor countries people are happy with what they have.  So, what's the answer? What a paradox. The very reason I came to France has now been rubbished. Oy vay!

1 comment:

Dyonn said...

Don't worry about how happy the French are, if you're happy then that's the most important thing!