GNH from Bhutan- A Primer

That is Gross National Happiness. We had a first hand account that it really is measured in Bhutan. Dr. Saamdu Chetri, who heads the Centre for GNH in Bhutan, was on campus for a guest lecture. He explained in simple terms that we are measuring the wrong things in the conventional GDP or GNP measures.

For instance, if a two-parent family hires a maid and both parents go to work, the GDP grows. Happiness may decrease, because the child may not be reared properly, compared to one of the parents staying home to do the job (at the cost of GDP growth). Or, if a married woman goes through a depression, medical (or marital) problems, and consults lot of doctors and psychiatrists (or lawyers), GDP goes up. If she is happily married, and does none of the above, on the other hand, GDP goes down!

Burning fossil fuels is not sustainable, as it contributes to carbon emissions, and therefore, global warming that may result in dire consequences. Energy can be renewable, if research is adequate. Meanwhile, public transport should play a greater role. We need to be a little calmer, and reflective about wasting earth's resources. We consume too much, be it clothes, food or anythng else, raising unnecessary demands on earth. Human values like sharing and collaboration should predominate.

Happiness is actually measured on several parameters, and the website explains how.
(link I was happy to learn of an alternative measure of what we are and ought to be, from one of the smallest countries of the world.

Coincidentally, also read a review of a book about how GDP came to be the main measure of well-being of a nation after the Great Depression in the U.S.


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