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Dagens Nyheter - Sweden | Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sweden's unhappy individualists

According to the World Value Survey, no country in the world is as secularised as Sweden. Nowhere else is self-fulfilment so highly valued, and nowhere else do values like family, nation and faith play such a small role. But an individualistic lifestyle is no recipe for happiness, writes the daily Dagens Nyheter: "Parallel to the development of material prosperity, the Swedes have turned inward. The old ambitions of studying to become an engineer, working hard, saving money, caring for others and being politically active are now associated with too many sacrifices. Instead the solitary ego has taken centre stage, and people's attitude to society has shifted from production to consumption. That has not made us any happier. Or is it a coincidence that so many people suffer from depression and mental disorders in the country where 'self-fulfilment' is the most appreciated? ... The fact is that even a true individualist needs something he can fight for - other than himself."

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