Conceived as a satirical comment in a fiction book, these rules morphed into real-world practice in areas of Scandanavia. These rules are now taught in schools as a society-wide code of conduct.
The ten rules state:
- You’re not to think you are anything special.
- You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
- You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
- You’re not to imagine yourself better than we are.
- You’re not to think you know more than we do.
- You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
- You’re not to think you are good at anything.
- You’re not to laugh at us.
- You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
- You’re not to think you can teach us anything.
The Janters who transgress this unwritten ‘law’ are regarded with suspicion and some hostility, as it goes against the town’s communal desire to preserve harmony, social stability, and uniformity.
An eleventh rule recognized in the novel as ‘the penal code of Jante’ is:
- Perhaps you don’t think we know a few things about you?
Source: Law of Jante – Wikipedia
There is a claim that these rules, now taught in schools, lead to the “high happiness scores” given to Scandanavian countries.
The well-publicized happiness scores measure no one’s happiness but instead are a weighted average of various metrics having little or nothing to do with happiness. These values are combined into a single number for each country for ranking purposes.
The definition of happiness is itself a circular definition – countries that are more like Scandanavian countries are happier, therefore Scandanavian countries always rank high. Ultimately, the score differences between the top 20-30 countries are not large, and on those charts, the U.S., Canada, Australia and many other countries also rank high.