Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Eric Weiner visits Iceland, a place where the people are happy, in the dead of winter, when there is virtually no sunlight. This of course, is counter-intuitive. What about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Icelanders don't suffer from it. I was in Iceland for three days in 1974 when I was 10 years old in the summertime, when I never saw darkness. It is easy to see why people are happy in the summer, but harder in the winter. Apparently it has much to do with drinking, cooperation and a high inflation rate.

I remember my mother writing a postcard to one of her friends when we were in Iceland that the prices were higher than in New York City. This doesn't bother the folks in Iceland as much as it probably bothers the citizens of Gotham. Everyone in Iceland is related, so they would rather share the burden of high inflation than see a few suffer greatly through being unemployed. The Icelandic people appear to be on to something: "High unemployment, research has found, reduces overall happines much more than high inflation." According to this NPR story having a job when others around you are losing theirs does not make one feel better.

Iceland is one place I have always wanted to return to.

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