… do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them?” That’s one question in Gallup’s recent poll of 140 countries. It turns out that the wealthier and more stable your country the more likely it is that you have friends to whom you can turn.
(Guess which country tops the list, despite its recently reduced economy.)
This makes intuitive sense to me. Yet Foreign Policy’s Christina Larson wrote, “Poor countries are often assumed to have relatively weak government safety nets, but also strong social networks—extended families and friends who can pitch in during hard times.”
But the desperately poor, surrounded by conflict, don’t have the luxury of helpfulness. The more stable a political and economic culture the more able citizens are to be supportive of each other. If you lost your home long ago and don’t know when you and your children will eat next, it’s difficult to find time to help someone else.
As Steve Crabtree observed last year, “Money can’t buy happiness — but it sure seems to buy a lot of life satisfaction,” at least relatively speaking.
One side note in seeing the poll results: I’m tempted to re-visit Ireland. By country, here are the percentages of poll respondents who answered “yes”:
95% United States