Power

We can understand certain characteristics of populations by comparing them to a simulated, random population. Just as the spectra of stars tells us something about the progress of their lives, the amount of power people have over their lives (including their perception of where they are relative to where they want to be) can indicate how satisfied they will be, how long they are likely to live, how violent they are likely to be, how many resources they will use, and how their population will grow. We can use a simple mathematical model and some basic statistics for a sample of countries to study these relationships

Simulation

In a simulated population of 1,000 individuals who prefer their own "position" within a fixed range of values, we can randomly set both their starting values and their preferred position (or "comfort zone"). How close they get to their preferred positions depends on two variables: power and intelligence.

• Power is the fraction of distance between their starting position and their preferred position ("comfort zone") that they can cover in an arbitrary interval of time.
• Intelligence is a measure of a person's perception of where they are relative to their preferred position. The magnitude of intelligence (amount) is the fraction of actual distance people believe they are from their preferred position; for example, if their actual distance is 3 and they believe the distance is 1, then the magnitude of intelligence is 1/3, or 0.33. The sign (+ or -) of intelligence is "+" if a person perceives the preferred position in the correct direction from the current position, and "-" if the perceived direction is opposite from the correct direction.

We can set ranges of power and intelligence for the population and randomly assign values of power and intelligence to each member of the population. For ease of analysis, we can combine the ranges of power and intelligence into a single variable called "adjusted power." Adjusted power starts with no power and ends with maximum power and (positive) intelligence. From 0 to 25% of the maximum, intelligence is entirely negative; from 25% to 75% intelligence is a mix of negative and positive, and from 75% to 100% intelligence is entirely positive.

People's satisfaction with their lives has been measured in various countries. This "happiness" can be modelled in the simulated population (specifically, it is the ratio two numbers: the distance between a person's final position and the furthest point they can go from their preferred position, and the distance between their preferred position and that furthest point). Happiness varies measurably with adjusted power, so from happiness we can derive the associated adjusted power.

There are clear correlations between happiness and such real variables as freedom, life expectancy, per capita ecological footprint, per capita violence, and population growth (these are described in Happiness). We can therefore see how these variables change with adjusted power. We can also see how the fraction of the population that has positive intelligence (what I call "awareness") varies by country. This data is summarized below for a sample of 43 countries for which all the statistics are available, and includes statistical curve fits to the data that extend beyond the data's limit to 100% adjusted power.

For definitions (of all but "awareness") and references, see Happiness. For calculations, download the spreadsheet. Data is listed below, in order of decreasing adjusted power.

 Rank Country Violence Freedom Happiness Footprint Lifespan Adjusted Power Awareness Deaths Pop. Growth GPC 1 Denmark 14 92 82 49 77 83 100 11 1 82 2 Colombia 5 56 81 11 71 82 100 6 16 18 3 Finland 41 92 77 64 78 77 100 10 1 74 4 Australia 54 97 77 55 80 77 100 7 6 76 5 Canada 55 90 76 64 80 75 100 8 4 82 6 Norway 25 92 76 49 79 75 100 10 3 89 7 Ireland 19 90 76 42 77 75 100 8 7 88 8 Mexico 18 69 76 22 72 75 100 5 17 26 9 Netherlands 21 90 75 37 79 74 96 9 3 76 10 United States 58 90 74 81 77 72 91 9 5 100 11 New Zealand 58 93 72 50 78 70 82 8 7 60 12 Germany 11 85 72 38 78 70 82 10 -1 74 13 United Kingdom 57 84 71 47 78 68 78 10 1 70 14 Saudi Arabia 1 7 70 39 68 67 75 6 31 34 15 Spain 17 85 69 45 79 65 71 9 0 57 16 Italy 4 81 69 35 79 65 71 10 -1 70 17 Slovenia 8 84 67 29 75 62 66 10 -1 51 18 Chile 26 81 67 19 76 62 66 6 11 28 19 Uruguay 10 87 67 16 76 62 66 9 8 27 20 Indonesia 1 58 66 9 69 60 63 6 16 9 21 France 14 83 65 47 79 59 61 9 3 71 22 Greece 2 76 64 42 79 57 59 10 0 48 23 Czech Republic 17 82 64 41 75 57 59 11 -2 41 24 Japan 3 85 62 37 81 54 55 9 2 79 25 India 2 70 62 7 63 54 55 9 15 7 26 Kyrgyzstan 0 32 61 11 64 53 53 9 17 8 27 Portugal 28 90 60 35 76 52 52 10 1 51 28 Poland 7 83 59 28 74 50 50 10 0 27 29 Korea, South 2 77 58 34 75 49 49 6 9 52 30 Hungary 9 83 56 29 72 46 45 13 -4 37 31 Slovakia 5 81 55 27 74 45 44 9 1 33 32 South Africa 93 81 55 19 45 45 44 19 2 27 33 Turkey 6 52 52 18 72 40 38 6 12 20 34 Estonia 3 78 51 55 70 39 36 13 -4 29 35 Romania 3 75 50 20 71 37 33 12 -2 19 36 Azerbaijan 0 22 49 14 63 36 30 10 9 9 37 Latvia 3 81 47 22 69 33 23 15 -6 20 38 Bulgaria 3 73 42 26 72 24 0 14 -6 17 39 Georgia 1 55 41 7 65 22 0 15 -3 7 40 Belarus 4 16 40 28 68 20 0 14 -4 22 41 Ukraine 1 56 36 27 67 11 0 16 -7 11 42 Moldova 2 56 35 11 65 9 0 13 1 6 43 Zimbabwe 59 19 33 8 37 5 0 24 1 8

Note that as intelligence becomes entirely positive, resource use and violence peak. After that point, people start using less, assaulting each other less, and continue to become more satified with their lives. Freedom also drops, perhaps because people have enough power that they don't need any more from their governments.

Also note that per capita Gross Domestic Product roughly predicts happiness and, to some extent, lifespan up to a point, beyond which it has little effect.