Turks are among the least happy Global Emotions Report finds

Dünya Executive - - COMMENTARY - Guven SAK Columnist

Polling company Gallup recently released its Global Emotions Report 2017. Yemenis, Turks and Iraqis are among the least happy with their lives, according to Gallup’s 2017 Global Emotions Report. Gallup’s Positive and Negative Experience Indexes measure life’s intangible­s — feelings and emotions — that traditiona­l economic indicators such as GDP were never intended to capture. Each index provides a real-time snapshot of people’s daily experience­s, offering leaders insights into the health of their societies that they cannot gather from economic measures alone The polling company asked 149,000 people in 142 countries about their emotional states on the day previous to survey to generate an index that found people in Iraq top the negative experience list.

The most discontent nations: Yemenis, Turks and Iraqis

Iraqis and Yemenis are ravaged by conflict and epidemics, why is relatively stable Turkey among the most discontent­ed countries this year? Let me summarize the results about Turkey: Turks are discontent with their lives, that’s my interpreta­tion anyway. Let me explain the results and you decide for yourselves.

The survey found Turkish people smile less than the average human, feel they are respected less, are more tired and are generally sadder. They also do not find their lives interestin­g. While just over half of Turkish respondent­s to the survey - 52 percent - say that they have positive experience­s and are content with their lives, 48 per- cent are down in the dumps. Belarus (54), Georgia (55), Bangladesh (55), Azerbaijan (55), Lithuania (56), Haiti (56) and Ukraine (57) are following countries with least positive results.

Scores worldwide for positive experience index ranged from a high of 84 in Paraguay to a low of 51 in Yemen. Paraguay also led the world in 2015. Syria earned the lowest score in 2015, but Gallup could not survey the country in 2016 because of security issues.Paraguay, a country that has less than half the gross domestic product per capita of Turkey, tops the list of happiness, with 84 percent of people claiming to be content. In Norway, where per-capita income is eight times that of Turkey, 81 percent of people feel positive. As they have for much of the past decade, Latin American countries dominate the list of countries in 2016 where adults are reporting a lot of positive emotions each day.

The only countries outside this region that top this list are Uzbekistan, the Philippine­s and Norway. Last year, the Turkish Statistica­l Institute changed the way it calculates national income, which shot up to more $11,000 per person overnight. Even that didn’t please us. So if the reason why half of Turks are miserable isn’t the economy, what is it?

Switching methods

The report observed a correlatio­n between the respondent­s’ emotional state and income when researcher­s asked, “Are you content with your life?” When the question is put this way, the happiest nations are Denmark and Sweden. But when the researcher­s split the question into five sub-questions about whether respondent­s smiled, were well-rested, felt they were treated with respect, did anything interestin­g or experience­d one of a range of emotions the previous day, seven of the 10 happiest countries surveyed were Latin American.

Latin America and Scandinavi­a are very different places and have different climates than Turkey. So if it’s not geography that makes people happy or unhappy, we need to look elsewhere for why Turks are so glum.

According to the report, personal freedom and the presence of social networks are also highly related to scores on the Positive Experience Index. The latter helps explain why — year after year — people from lower- and upper-middle-income economies in Latin America are more likely than those in most high-income economies to report positive experience­s. This relationsh­ip also helps explain why some of the countries at the bottom of the list do not change much. Several of the countries at the bottom — Ukraine, Iraq, Yemen and Turkey — have ongoing internal and external conflict in common.

People need excitement caring, courage… They need a change, a reform…

Now we talk about a reform process. What does reform literally mean? To change the current state with a new state. Why is it so hard to make reforms? Because it’s impossible to think of a no-loser game. Every reform adds another burden for today as it saves tomorrow.

All reforms bothers the voters while trying to fortify the future. That’s why it’s difficult to make reforms. To make a reform means to be able to say “That’s wrong what you do! Now you have to change it!”. So, let’s think… Is it possible to make reforms with people feeling so discontent with their lives? Frankly, I believe that, it can… People need excitement, incentive, to be cared as an important individual, and to change their current state - a reform process - eventually.

Turkey has a set of opportunit­ies to grow easier incase the government doesn’t neglect the required reforms. People are already discontent with their lives. Old state is impossible, so either a new state or a collapse… According to Harvard University, our potential annual growth rate is 5.64 percent every year until 2015. So, if we remain below this rate, it will be a loss due to wrong measures and long neglected reforms. And the people who are responsibl­e will also be obvious. Let’s observe it together. Here is a point of bearing for you, to help you to grade the skill set of the management.

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