Thursday, 8 October 2009

Bhutan, And Why I Like It

I don't know how much you know about Bhutan, so I'll start from the beginning (so as to keep as many of you on board as possible), and then I will explain the awesome thing I found out about Bhutan.

Bhutan is a country in South East Asia, next to China, India, Nepal and so on. For today's purposes, that's already more than you really need to know.

Now for the awesome bit. A number of years ago, the King read something somewhere that people who live in democracies are happier than people who live in kingdoms. And then - get this - made the country a democracy by transferring most of his powers to the government*.

But this is not all. Most countries measure their success by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or some variation - so the country is doing well if it is making lots of stuff. Bhutan measures success by Gross National Happiness (GNH) - so it considers it a good year if people are happy, and it makes laws and policies with the aim of advancing the country's happiness levels as much as possible.

Is this not awesome?

* I don't fully grasp politics, so this may not be exactly true, but it's broadly in line with the general spirit of events

3 comments:

qmonkey said...

absolutely!

in France they are considering something similar. Or at least there has been public debate about the relative importance of GDP to collective contentment and happiness.

whynotsmile said...

Oh, I hadn't heard that about France.

It strikes me that the difference between setting laws to maximise production and setting laws to maximise happiness is so vast as to be almost unthinkable. You have to do one or the other.

I think the UK should change over, and consider my happiness.

qmonkey said...

check dis

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/sep/20/will-hutton-nicolas-sarkozy-comment