Danny Dorling, Annika Koljonen
The 2019 World Happiness Report ranked Finland, for the second year running, as the world’s happiest country. The United States was placed 19th and the UK ranked 15th. The “Nordic Model” has long been touted as the aspiration for social and public policy in Europe and North America, but what is it about Finland that makes the country so successful and seemingly such a great place to live?
Danny Dorling and Annika Koljonen go in search of some answers. Is it simply the level of government spending on health, education and welfare? Is it that Finland has one of the lowest rates of social inequality and childhood poverty, and highest rates of literacy and education? Finland clearly has problems of its own – for example, a high level of gun ownership and rising rates of suicide – which can make Finns sceptical of their ranking, but its consistently high performance across a range of well-being indicators does raise fascinating questions, which are explored by the authors.
In the quest for the best of all possible societies, Danny Dorling and Annika Koljonen explore what we might learn from Finnish success.
Part 1 Context 1. The geography, geology, climate and weather 2. History and politics 3. The economy since 1945
Part 2 Social Policy 4. Childhood 5. Adulthood 6. Old age and health
Part 3 The Future 7. Austerity, populism, Europe and the immediate future 8. Demography and environmental challenges 9. Attempts to overcome success fatigue
Danny Dorling is the Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford, an Academician of the Academy of the Learned Societies in the Social Sciences and a former Honorary President of the Society of Cartographers. His books include, most recently, Do We Need Economic Inequality? (2018) and A Better Politics: How Government Can Make Us Happier (2016).
Annika Koljonen graduated in Politics and International Relations from the University of Cambridge in 2019 and is currently an intern at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.