|BHUTAN....DECIDES O BE HAPPY AS THEIR NATIONAL GOAL.....opposite of all nations in this current world chase of money and wealth.....|
Posted by Vishva News Reporter on May 17, 2009
Can happiness be measured?
Bhutan redefines what makes a nation work.....
The tiny nation of Bhutan, sandwiched between India and China,
has embarked on a national experiment in its struggle
to maintain its cultural identity.
Instead of measuring GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT
as Bhutan's prosperity
Measuring the GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS
Bhutan hopes to offer a new mindset to an increasingly stressed-out
And the Bhutanese people have produced
an intricate model of well-being that features
the four pillars, the nine domains and the
72 indicators of happiness....
PVAF is publishing this amazing news story today because when you think
there is nothing in this world that you do not know....then you find out
that there are peoples on this planet earth who wants to change their
life strong>TO MAKE A HAPPIER TOMORROW THAN TODAY..... Please
click on the next line to read more about this Bhutan story to go for
the four pillars, the nine domains
and the 72 indicators of happiness in the national PURSUIT OF
HAPPINESS IN LIFE rather than the PURSUIT OF
MATERIALISM/WEALTH.....and after reading that you can read more
about Bhutan to understand their history which is making them take a
different national life path......
View of Tashichoedzong, Thimphu, Bhutan, seat of the Bhutanese
government since 1952
be measured? />
Bhutan redefines what makes a nation work.....
17 May 2009: Seth Mydans: Thimphu, Bhutan
If the rest of the world cannot get it right in these unhappy times,
this tiny Buddhist kingdom high in the Himalayan mountains says it is
working on an answer. />
“Greed, insatiable human greed,” said Prime Minister Jigme Thinley of
Bhutan, describing what he sees as the cause of today’s economic
catastrophe in the world beyond the snowtopped mountains. “What we need
is change,” he said in the whitewashed fortress where he works. “We need
to think gross national happiness.”
The notion of gross national happiness was the inspiration of the former
king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in the 1970s as an alternative to the
gross national product. Now, the Bhutanese are refining the country’s
guiding philosophy into what they see as a new political science, and it
has ripened into government policy just when the world may need it, said
Kinley Dorji, secretary of information and communications.
“You see what a complete dedication to economic development ends up in,”
he said, referring to the global economic crisis. “Industrialized
societies have decided now that GNP is a broken promise.”
Under a new Constitution adopted last year, government programs — from
agriculture to transportation to foreign trade — must be judged not by
the economic benefits they may offer, but by the happiness they produce.
The goal is not happiness itself, the prime minister explained, a
concept that each person must define for himself. Rather, the government
aims to create the conditions for what he called, in an updated version
of the American Declaration of Independence, “the pursuit of gross
The Bhutanese have started with an experiment within an experiment,
accepting the resignation of the popular king as an absolute monarch and
holding the country’s first democratic election a year ago.
The change is part of attaining gross national happiness, Dorji said.
“They resonate well, democracy and GNH. Both place responsibility on the
individual. Happiness is an individual pursuit and democracy is the
empowerment of the individual.”
It was a rare case of a monarch’s unilaterally stepping back from power,
and an even rarer case of his doing so against the wishes of his
subjects. He gave the throne to his son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck,
who was crowned in November in the new role of constitutional monarch
without executive power.
Bhutan is, perhaps, an easy place to nimbly rewrite economic rules — a
country with one airport and two commercial planes, where the east can
only be reached from the west after four days’ travel on mountain roads.
No more than 700,000 people live in the kingdom, squeezed between the
world’s two most populous nations, India and China, and its task now is
to control and manage the inevitable changes to its way of life.
It is a
country where cigarettes are banned and television was introduced just
10 years ago, where traditional clothing and architecture are enforced
by law and where the capital city has no stoplight and just one traffic
officer on duty.
If the world is to take gross national happiness seriously, the
Bhutanese concede, they must work out a scheme of definitions and
standards that can be quantified and measured by the big players of the
world’s economy. r />
“Once Bhutan said, ‘OK, here we are with GNH,’ the developed world and
the World Bank and the IMF and so on asked, ‘How do you measure it?’ ”
Dorji said, characterizing the reactions of the world’s big economic
players. So the Bhutanese produced an intricate model of well-being that
features the four pillars, the nine domains and the 72 indicators of
Specifically, the government has determined that the four pillars of a
happy society involve the economy, culture, the environment and good
governance. It breaks these into nine domains: psychological well-being,
ecology, health, education, culture, living standards, time use,
community vitality and good governance, each with its own weighted and
unweighted GNH index.
The 72 indicators analyze all this. Under the domain of psychological
well-being, for example, indicators include the frequencies of prayer
and meditation and of feelings of selfishness, jealousy, calm,
compassion, generosity and frustration as well as suicidal thoughts.
“Weare even breaking down the time of day: how much time a person spends
with family, at work and so on,” Dorji said.
Mathematical formulas have been devised to reduce happiness to its
tiniest component parts. The GNH index for psychological wellbeing, for
example, includes the following: “One sum of squared distances from
cutoffs for four psychological well-being indicators. Here, instead of
average the sum of squared distances from cutoffs is calculated because
the weights add up to 1 in each dimension.” This is followed by a set of
equations: = 1-(.25+.03125+.000625+0) = 1-.281875 =.718 Every two years,
these indicators are to be reassessed through a nationwide
questionnaire, said Karma Tshiteem, secretary of the Gross National
Happiness Commission, as he sat in his office at the end of a hard day
of work that he said made him happy.
Gross national happiness has a broader application for Bhutan as it
races to preserve its identity and culture from the encroachments of the
“How does a small country like Bhutan handle globalization?” Dorji
asked. “We will survive by being distinct, by being different.”
Bhutan is pitting its four pillars, nine domains and 72 indicators
against the 48 channels of Hollywood and Bollywood that have invaded
since television was permitted a decade ago.
“Before June 1999 if you asked any young person who is your hero, the
inevitable response was, ‘the king,’ ” Dorji said. “Immediately after
that it was David Beckham, and now it’s 50 Cent, the rap artist. Parents
So if GNH may hold the secret of happiness for people suffering from the
collapse of financial institutions abroad, it offers something more
urgent here in this pristine culture.
“B“Bhutan’s story today is, in one word, survival,” Dorji said. “Gross
national happiness is survival; how to counter a threat to survival.”
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