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The 2020 World Happiness Report ranked Finland, for the third year running, as the world’s happiest country.
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?
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 levels of literacy and education?
Finland has problems of its own – for example, a high level of gun ownership and high 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.
In the quest for the best of all possible societies, Danny Dorling and Annika Koljonen explore what we might learn from Finnish success.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Danny Dorling is the Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford.
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.
"Among the world’s countries, Finland ranks at or near the top in air quality, education, equality, happiness, honest government, milk consumption, opportunities for children, preparedness, safety, trust in its police, and many other things. Eighty years ago, most of those things were not true. How did Finland become so successful, so quickly, across such a broad spectrum? How can other countries achieve Finland’s happiness? Read this wonderful book, and learn the answers! "
--Jared Diamond, Professor of Geography, UCLA, and Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs and Steel