On May 24 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released the “Your Better Life Index,” a customizable tool to rank countries around the world according to your personal standards of living. While several other similar ‘happiness indexes’ exist to evaluate countries beyond their GDP, this is the first one based on personal preference.
Soon after North Korea released its own world happiness index. Personal preferences are also heavily reflected in this ranking—that is, the preferences of whichever loyal government official threw the list together.
The top five are as follows:
1: China (100 pts)
2: North Korea (98 pts)
3: Cuba (93 pts)
4: Iran (88 pts)
5: Venezuela (85 pts)
Surprisingly, North Korea had the humility to concede the throne to China, albeit by quite a narrow margin.
It is unclear what the basis is for the point system, though given the ranking we can likely infer that it’s a mix of government censorship and degree to which the dictator abhors the West. Incidentally, South Korea ranked in at #152 with 18 points, and the mighty USA fell dead last at #203 with a whopping 3 points.
Of course, North Korea isn’t going to put itself at #2 out of 203 countries without valid reason: “Our country provides free housing, all necessary supplies for daily life including food and clothing, and free medical care. And, since the people are provided with work by the government, there is no fear of unemployment.”
This ranking was published just in time to overlap with Kim Jong-il’s visit to China, so perhaps North Korea put itself at #2 as a sign of deference. However, a measly two point lead on a nonsensical list will probably only serve to put off the Chinese, and once again make North Korea look like a stubborn child begging for attention in a room full of busy adults.