Alex Wright

Gross National Happiness?

December 10, 2003

The King of Bhutan, a tiny Buddhist kingdom just south of Tibet, is promoting an alternative metric for assessing national development:

The concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) was proposed by the King of Bhutan because he understood that development indicators such as GNP and Per Capita Income cannot properly reflect the general well being of his nation, which is home to unique natural and cultural resources. GNH - inspired by Buddhist philosophy - aims to promote real progress and sustainability by measuring the quality of life, rather than the mere sum of production and consumption in the country. It this sounds like a hopelessly Panglossian response to the WTO/IMF world view, the Bhutanese at least seem to be taking it seriously, commissioning a series of white papers on measuring GNH and an upcoming conference.

File under: Dharma

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