Most Happy Nation

Contentment is . . . pretty hard to find anywhere you go these days -- or so say a bevy of international pollsters

The French say they're happy -- in a manner of speaking. Despite 12% unemployment, a faltering franc and the highest number of AIDS cases in Europe, an opinion poll in the weekly Le Nouvel Observateur found that 88% of French people claim to be happy. Huh? It turns out that the French are just happy not to be unhappy: relief at holding a job and not being infected with AIDS is what makes them smile.

The French, of course, take the question seriously. Each day during August, the newspaper Liberation devoted a full page to leading pontificators on the art of...

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