Gross National Happiness
Gross National Happiness: Development Philosophy of Bhutan
World over economists have been arguing that the key to happiness is obtaining and enjoying material development. Bhutan however, adheres to a very different belief and advocates that amassing material wealth does not necessarily lead to happiness. Bhutan is now trying to measure progress not by the popular idea of Gross Domestic Product but through Gross National Happiness.
His Majesty the third king Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck expressed his view on the goals of development as making “people prosperous and happy”. With this strong view in mind, the importance of “prosperity and happiness” was highlighted in King’s address on the occasion of Bhutan’s admission to the United Nations in 1971.
While emphasis is placed on both, prosperity and happiness, latter is considered to be more significant. Fourth king Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuk emphasized that for Bhutan “Gross National Happiness” is more important than “Gross National Product”. Thus, Gross National Happiness is now being fleshed out by a wide range of professionals, scholars and agencies across the world.
Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck said that the rich are not always happy while happy people generally consider themselves rich. While conventional development models stressed on economic growth as the ultimate objective, concept of Gross National Happiness is based on the premise that true development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other.
The Philosophy of Gross National Happiness has recently received international recognition and UN has implemented a resolution recognizing that gross domestic product does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people and that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”.