Thursday, October 8, 2009

French Happiness

A recent story in the New York Times (free registration required) points to data showing that France's suicide rate is the highest in Europe, and about 50% higher than America's. Even more surprising, most of these suicides appear to be related to workplace stress.

Two months ago I came at this from a different direction:

And does [France's 35-hour work week] lead to more personal satisfaction? There may be "some indication" that it does, but there is also plenty indication that it does not. The world map of happiness shows the U.S. ranked 23rd out of 178 nations surveyed (and the highest-ranked really large nation). France comes in 62nd. "Industry is the enemy of melancholy," said William F. Buckley. Why should we assume that more leisure equals more happiness?

These suicide numbers are just more evidence that mandatory short work weeks does not happiness make.

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