Gross National Happiness
The fourth King of Bhutan, His Highness Jigme Singye Wangchuck, coined the phrase Gross National Happiness (GNH) when he emphasized that progress should not only bring about material development but also social well being and happiness. Originally the phrase represented a commitment to building an economy that would serve based on Buddhist spiritual values, instead of western material development gauged by Gross Domestic Product.
Today, Gross National Happiness is the yardstick for measuring development in the country and not Gross Domestic Product. Gross National Happiness as a development philosophy over the years has under gone massive alterations as researchers and scholars have worked to make it practical and measurable.
The philosophy of Gross National Happiness has recently received international recognition and the UN has implemented a resolution “…recognizing that the gross domestic product [...] does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people,” and that “…the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”.
The four main pillars of Gross National Happiness are:
- Equitable and equal socio-economic development
- Preservation and promotion of cultural and spiritual heritage
- Conservation of environment and
- Good governance which are interwoven, complementary, and consistent.
These pillars embody national and local values, aesthetics, and spiritual traditions. The concept of Gross National Happiness is now being taken up the United Nations and by various other countries.