Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gross National Happiness

My colleague in the office asked me one day about Bhutan's national commitment to endorse Gross National Happiness, instead of Gross National Product, which is a metric that are widely used in Macro Economic World to represent how significant a country's contribution toward global economy.
A good indication of how wealthy and developed a country is.

According to the official site of "Gross National Happiness", this concept is first introduced in 1972, by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck who was concerned about the problems afflicting other developing countries that focused only on economic growth. He decided to make his nation's priority not to focus on its G.D.P. but its G.N.H., or gross national happiness.

The king said,
Bhutan needed to ensure that prosperity was shared across society and that it was balanced against preserving cultural traditions, protecting the environment and maintaining a responsive government.

which is not a bad concept at all.

While household incomes in Bhutan remain among the world's lowest, life expectancy increased by 19 years from 1984 to 1998, jumping to 66 years. The country, which is preparing to shift to a constitution and an elected government, requires that at least 60 percent of its lands remain forested, welcomes a limited stream of wealthy tourists and exports hydropower to India.

The concept which are practically based on Buddhist doctrine, teaches people to think of human well-being in broader terms, in which material well-being is only one component and that it doesn't ensure that you're at peace with your environment and in harmony with each other

This was further discussed in his Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture (2009) - "Changing World and Timeless Values"

(you can find the complete transcript here

Then, I stumbled across this article:
World's Happiest Countries: Norway, Denmark, Costa Rica, Turkmenistan?
The article mentioned that maybe the King of Bhutan is on to something here.

Scandinavians which are well-known in their relentless pursuit of happiness are on the top three most happiest countries, with Denmark at #1, Finland at #2 and Norway at #3, then Sweden at #4, followed by Netherlands at #5 (all 5 also represents top five in Europe).

In America, surprisingly, it's Costa Rica at #1 (#6 overall), Canada #2 (#8 overall) and Panama #3 (#12 overall), with Brazil #4 (#13 overall), while United States is at #5 in America & #14 overall.

In Africa, Malawi is the most happiest country in the continent (#63), followed by Libya (#67) and Botswana (#68)

In Asia, which also include Australia and New Zealand, New Zealand is the most happiest country with #7 overall, followed by Israel (#9) and Australia (#10). The next one is Turkmenistan (#19) and Arab Saudi (#20), followed by a bunch of middle eastern countries, such as Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, etc.
What about the fastest growing country in the world today? China is at #125, India at 115 and Japan at #81.

Indonesia? at #85 overall (or #22 in Asia), only behind Thailand (#79) and Singapore (#81)

What about Bhutan? Not even listed in the ranking.

I guess the "Gross National Happiness" is still a work in progress.

Complete List


K said...

so, shall we go there someday?

K said...

you may want to read this as well: