Why, despite greater economic wealth, people from post-Soviet states are not living happily ever after
Money can buy you happiness. Or at least in the UK, according to a study released last month by the Office for National Statistics. “Life satisfaction, sense of worth and happiness are higher, as the level of household wealth increases,” its authors say.
You would think these findings apply to the rest of the world, at least to some degree. And given that most people from the ex-Soviet bloc are richer today than they were under their old regimes – both in absolute and relative terms – you’d imagine life satisfaction there has now caught up with that observed elsewhere. While transition has rarely been a happy process, pundits have indeed long believed that economic and political reforms would in time be rewarded.
Well, it seems they haven’t. Despite strong income gains since the end of the 1980s, perceived welfare in post-communist states still hasn’t converged towards that of countries with a different historical baggage. Ukraine and Russia, for instance, are still to be found towards the bottom of most life satisfaction rankings; Armenians, Bulgarians, Georgians, Moldovans and Serbians are less happy than Peruvians and Indians. Why? Read More