Gross National Happiness

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by the CTL’s Laurie Hansen.]

This piece dovetails on Will’s article, Does education make you happy?

I recently stumbled upon Happiness, as in Bhutan by Jacques Attali who describes Bhutan as a “minuscule country” whose monarch was “the first to define and implement the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH)”. Bhutans believe that happiness is multi-dimensional. They “distinguish nine dimensions of happiness: psychological well-being, health, education, the use of time, cultural diversity, governance, the vitality of democratic life, environmental diversity and standard of living.”

Thomas Vendetti, PhD, created a one-hour documentary Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness; his premise is that the GNH concept is a “refreshing approach to ‘good governance’ ” and suggests it “may be a model for the world.” That is quite a feat.

Created with the approval of the Kingdom of Bhutan, the film examines Bhutan’s effort to create GNH by promoting four pillars:

  1. Environmental Preservation
  2. Cultural Promotion
  3. Economic Development through hydroelectric power
  4. Good Governance.

Vendetti “consulted extensively with Bhutan’s cultural experts to present Bhutan in an authentic, culturally appropriate manner.” Vendetti concludes, “It’s a lesson for all of us to learn and to model ourselves after.”


2 responses to “Gross National Happiness

  1. Karrie Higgins

    Have you read “The Geography of Bliss” by Eric Weiner. One chapter discusses Bhutan. Great book!

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