Gross National Happiness
The term “Gross National Happiness” was first coined in 1972 by the 4th Bhutan King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who opened Bhutan to the age of modernization. His vision for Bhutan was “our country’s policy is to consolidate our sovereignty to achieve economic self-reliance, prosperity and happiness for our country and people.”
He emphasized that for Bhutan, “Gross National Happiness” is more important than “Gross National Product”. He showed his commitment to build an economy that based on Buddhist spiritual values. This concept is now widely discussed among wide range of professionals, political leaders, scholars and organizations across the world.
In 2006, Business Week magazine ranked Bhutan the 8th happiest country in the world, with the happiest country in Asia.
Gross National Happiness comprises of four pillars, which embody national and local values, aesthetics, and spiritual traditions:
- Equitable and equal socioeconomic development
- Preservation and promotion of cultural and spiritual heritage
- Conservation of environment
- Good governance which are interwoven, complementary, and consistent
Guided by Gross National Happiness, Bhutan has steadily walked the trail of economic development but does not sacrifice the happiness of its people. This development philosophy has made the lives of the Bhutanese comfortable by embracing the Middle Path.
In the age of globalization, the government strives to ensure good governance for its main source of progress and happiness. Intensive efforts are made to promote conservation of environment. Thus, Bhutan is praised for its forest cover and diversity of flora and fauna when many species are disappearing or on the verge of extinction in other parts of the world.