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Britons among happiest people, says satisfaction study


The British are one of the world's most satisfied peoples, according to an influential economic thinktank's attempt to examine how happy humans are.

Andrew Oswald, professor of economics at the University of Warwick, said: "The advantage of measuring mental wellbeing is that it captures the real emotion of people.

"It's like a painting where health stats, income and welfare figures are the background and satisfaction measures are the colour."


UK has 'worst quality of life in Europe'


The UK has been named the worst place to live in Europe for quality of life, behind countries with damaged economies such as Ireland and Italy, according to the latest uSwitch quality of life index.

The UK emerged as having the second lowest hours of sunshine a year, the fourth highest retirement age, and the third lowest spend on health as a percentage of GDP.

As a result, more than one in 10 Britons (12%) said they are "seriously considering" emigrating, with "broken society" the biggest concern for 59% of those questioned, followed by the cost of living (49%), and crime and violence (47%). Just 5% of those questioned are happy in the UK.

The study examined 16 factors to determine where the UK sits in relation to nine other major European countries. Variables such as net income, VAT and the cost of essential goods were put under the microscope, as well as lifestyle factors such as hours of sunshine, holiday entitlement, working hours and life expectancy.



UK among Europe's worst countries for ageism

Britain has one of the worst records in Europe on age discrimination, with nearly two out of five people claiming to have been shown a lack of respect because of how old they are.

The UK is also driven by intergenerational splits, with half of us admitting we do not have a single friend over 70. Only a third of Portuguese, Swiss and Germans say that they do not have a friend of that age or older.

And the statistics show that, while there is admiration for the elderly, more people pity than envy those they regard as old, suggesting a perception that age brings weakness and unhappiness.

"Even on the perception of when old age starts, the UK is the worst in Europe in a way," said Nicola Robinson from Age UK, who helped to analyse the data for 2009. "Britons thought old age started at 59, whereas in Greece they thought it started at around 68. There is a similar question about when youth ends. The UK thought that was 35, while in Greece they thought it was 52."

"We know it is a serious problem across Europe and it may be that we are ahead of the curve on the issue, that there has been some successful awareness-raising.
"That said, the statistics on intergenerational friendship show that we are a segregated society and there are definitely problems here.

"There is a segregation within work and social lives. The social spaces in the UK are generational specific, so people don't do things together.

"Generally, those in their 20s don't have contact outside the family with people in their 70s. In places like Cyprus or Portugal there are spaces, squares or bars where people of all ages mix. Ageism is a problem and it does need to be explored."




Rude Britannia is a myth - we are among the world's most polite people


But while the results of the work by social campaigners the Young Foundation showed a nation trying hard to mind its "pleases" and "thank yous", it also suggested that when courtesy breaks down, so do communities. People reported that rudeness in their neighbourhood upset them more than crime.

 イギリスで暮らして日常生活で常に感じるのは、Thank you とplease がどれほどコミュニケイションの潤滑油になっているかということ。

The research, published tomorrow, finds Britain ranks positively in international surveys of tolerance and politeness and by some standards behaviour is better than a generation or two ago.

But the findings showed that people are quick to find incivility in others but are much less aware of how their own behaviour may cause offence. It warns that modern life presents particular challenges to civil behaviour including social mobility, technology and pressures on space and time. One of the report's authors, Will Norman, said technology was undermining strides being made in social interaction, with too many people unaware of how their loud mobile phone chats, music or simple inattention upset their fellow citizens.

"Taxi drivers and shop assistants really get offended at people acting as if they don't exist because they are on their phones," he said. "But a lot of people simply don't realise – a common reason for rudeness. I spoke to a man who ran a kebab shop and he had a customer who never ever said please or thank you. It drove him mad and one day he asked her why. She was embarrassed and from that day on was extremely polite – she just hadn't realised."


Wherever they lived, most people agreed that civility is central to shaping life; many said it was the single most important factor to their quality of life. Most reported experiencing regular acts of politeness and felt they were treated with respect in their neighbourhoods.

The director of the Young Foundation, Simon Tucker, said civility was enormously rated: "Its importance is often only bought home to us when absent. Small acts of daily civility and incivility are often invisible, but play a vital role in helping societies to get by and flourish. We often only notice and appreciate the power of civility when it disappears – when estates become no-go areas or, as we saw recently, when high streets descend into violence.

The report found very high levels of civility in some of the most disadvantaged areas, as well as instances of serious incivility, in the form of intolerance and rudeness, in more prosperous areas. There seemed to be few regional differences, though Norman said it was clear that the stressful commuter jams of London were hotbeds of incivility. Kaliya Franklin, 35, from Liverpool – who blogs at benefitscroungingscum – who uses a wheelchair and says she finds people "unfailingly willing to help, delighted to have the chance", was at the Labour party conference in Liverpool.

"I asked someone for help with my wheelchair and it was immediately obvious he was from the south-east. A scouser would have pushed me all the way home and probably offered to buy me a new scooter. As it was, the guy looked at me as though I'd just ruined his life!"


Civility is contagious and the research concludes that it can be nurtured by encouraging people to be more aware about how their behaviour impacts on others. As US linguistics professor Robin Lakoff wrote: "Politeness is developed by societies to reduce friction in personal interaction." In other words, smile and the world might just smile back.


 皆さんもイギリスに来たら、PleaseThank you は忘れずに。この二つがあれば、皆さんが思っているよりはイギリスは楽しい国だと思います。



- ハマちゃん

smile and the world might just smile back.






2012.02.23 Thu 11:21 URL [ Edit ]

- 守屋

ハマちゃん さん


2012.02.24 Fri 20:38 URL [ Edit ]


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