The European Football Championship kicks off on Friday. It is speculated who will win the title, how many tickets will be sold, what winner would be best financially for the EU and so on. But few have considered what winner would be best for the happiness in the world. GHO has made an attempt:
Russia with its more than 140 million inhabitants has the largest population of all countries involved, but the country is accustomed to athletic success, which limits the pleasure due to habituation effects. On the other hand, they are not used to great success in football.
Winning the gold would surely increase the football playing in this big country, perhaps partly at the expense of other sports. It would increase the exercising in Russia, which is positive from the perspective of happiness.
In Germany, which in population comes second with its more than eighty million people, soccer is bigger than in Russia. This is also true for the sixty-million-countries France, Britain and Italy. A victory for those countries might therefore be worth more for happiness per capita. According to the Dutch bank ABN-Amro a French victory is also best for the world economy and the Euro's survival. A significant factor to concider.
The fact that a poor country like Greece would have something to smile about can of course be considered as good. The country also got a relatively football loving population. Even residents of other countries would probably be able to rejoice a bit over a Greek victory and that the Greeks would have other things to think about than unpaid debts. But it is a small country of only eleven million people.
Russia has one of the unhappiest people in Europe. Polls show that the level of happiness of the population is somewhere between 4 and 6 on a 0-10 scale. A win for Russia would boost the happiness level a lot for many Russians. Hence, there is a lot do just regarding happiness.
All things taken together, GHO's conclusion is that it would probably be best for the happiness in the world if Russia won the European Football Championship 2012.
NOTE! GHO's calculation is not scientific, but made with tongue in cheek.