GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS
If there is one thing Bhutan is known for outside country, it is the Gross National Happiness, Bhutan’s guiding philosophy towards the developments. His Majesty, the fourth King of Bhutan is the founding father of Gross National Happiness.
The phrase ‘Gross National Happiness’ was first coined by the 4th King of Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in 1972 when he declared, “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product.” The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards the economic development and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of well being.
Since then the idea of Gross National Happiness (GNH) has influenced Bhutan’s economic and social policy, and also captured the imagination of others far beyond its borders. In creating the Gross National Happiness index, Bhutan along with experts create a measurement tool that would be useful for policy making and create policy incentives for the government, NGOs and businesses of Bhutan to increase GNH.
The GNH Index includes both traditional areas of socio-economic concern such as living standards, health and education and less traditional aspects of culture and psychological wellbeing. It is a holistic reflection of the general wellbeing of the Bhutanese population rather than a subjective psychological ranking of ‘happiness’ alone.
Today, GNH has come to mean so many things to so many people but to me it signifies simply – Development with Values. Thus for my nation today GNH is the bridge between the fundamental values of kindness, equality and humanity and the necessary pursuit of economic growth. GNH acts as our National Conscience guiding us towards making wise decision for a better future.”
– His Majesty, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck