National Geographic : 2017 Nov
56 national geographic • november 2017 Erik Gordon, the owner of Carabiner Coffee, serves climbers from a vintage Volkswagen van at Castle Rock, just a 20-minute drive from Boulder. Happiness for many of the city’s residents arises from its small-town character and its close proximity to nearby mountains. MATTHIEU PALEY S ingapore’s story, like those of Costa Rica and Denmark, illustrates how a relatively small (about six million people), prosperous nation can achieve a high level of well-being when guided by enlightened leaders. And yet what works for such societies might not easily translate into solutions for a sprawling, diverse, argumentative, freedom-loving nation like the United States. Could such a tumultuous place, with its racial, ethnic, religious, economic, and political diversity, learn anything useful from Denmark’s wealthy, relatively homogeneous, consensus-seeking social democracy? Likewise, could the United States really emulate the day- to-day joy of Costa Rica? Or the values-driven security of Singapore? WHERE IS THE HAPPIEST PLACE IN THE UNITED STATES?