Gross National Happiness in Buddhist Bhutan

Economists Appraise Bhutan's Happiness Model

by Don Duncan, The San Francisco Chronicle, 12/4/08, Reprinted on 12/5/08

Thimphu, Bhutan - In the thick of a global financial crisis, many economists have come to this Himalayan kingdom to study a unique economic policy called Gross National Happiness, based on Buddhist principles.

When considering economic development, policymakers here take into account respect for all living things, nature, community participation and the need for balance between work, sleep and reflection or meditation.

"Happiness is very serious business," Bhutan Prime Minister Jigme Thinley said. "The dogma of limitless productivity and growth in a finite world is unsustainable and unfair for future generations." ....

Gross National Happiness is an approach to development unique to Bhutan. While conventional development stresses economic growth (Gross Domestic Product, GDP) as the ultimate objective, GNH is based on the premise that true development takes place only when material and spiritual development occur side by side....

GNH guidelines are being adopted in Brazil, India and Haiti.... (continued)

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