Productivity and happiness

We had an interesting discussion on Sunday night over many glasses of wine with a few friends about productivity. Very quickly, the talk became about the French lifestyle vs the American. The beauty of the technology is that you can now access real data when you have those debates. 

That topis is not new, and I’ve witnessed so many different opinions. Having spent most of my work life outside France, I love taking automatically the opposite opinion that whoever is in front of me (that’s so French of me!). Usually, it’s either “the French system doesn’t work, it doesn’t create enough productivity unit per capita” or “there is something else than work in life, what about happiness!”. 

So let’s look at some data point: 

First, the GDP per hours worked (as found on Wikipedia). 

Screen_shot_2011-05-31_at_8

Norway comes first, USA, 4th and France 6th. 

Then, let’s look at the GDP (nominal) per capita (according to the IMF). 

Screen_shot_2011-05-31_at_8

Luxembourg is first (small country, great taxes, lot of wealth). Norway is second. US #9 and France #18. 

So right here, I can hear some of my friends already screaming: it’s not just about $! What about time you spend with your family, personal growth, diving in your passions etc… But here’s the data that’s really interesting: 

According to Forbes, Norway is the happiest country in the world. 

 

 

 

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