Gross national happiness is a philosophy that drives the government of Bhutan. Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a global approach to development, which values collective happiness as a goal of governance through the balancing of material and non-material values and is used instead of the Gross National Product (GDP). Gross national happiness is expressed in four pillars and nine domains.
History of gross national happiness
Gross National Happiness was an idea promoted by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s. The king questioned how gross domestic product (GDP) could measure happiness and prosperity on its own. The king considered happiness an indicator of progressive development. An ancient legal code of Bhutan emphasized that Bhutanese laws had the obligation to promote happiness for all. In an interview in 1972, King Jigme stated that gross national happiness was more crucial than the gross national product. However, in recent times, research has shown that wealth alone does not offer happiness. In July 2008, the Bhutanese government promulgated a new constitution and established gross national happiness in the constitution of Bhutan.
Pillars of gross national happiness
Gross national happiness has four strong pillars: good governance, conservation and conservation of the environment, sustainable socio-economic development and promotion of culture. In good governance, the guidelines and procedures developed in Bhutan should represent the values of gross national happiness. Social and economic contributions should be evaluated as an economy to prosper. The preservation of Bhutanese culture is believed to contribute to the happiness of Bhutanese citizens. The environment is believed to provide a stimulus to happiness through the addition of key services such as water and energy, and therefore there is a need to preserve the environment.
Application of gross national happiness
The National Commission for National Happiness implements gross national happiness in Bhutan. The tasks of the commission include the creation and implementation of the 5 year plan and policies of Bhutan. The GNH index measures happiness and well-being in Bhutan. The GNH commission determines the policies and implements the projects using a GNH policy screening tool and a GNH project screening tool. The GNH index is a short survey used by the Bhutanese government to measure national progress. This index is one of the first models used to evaluate the progress of companies. The GNH commission uses index data to compare happiness in different groups of people and changes that occur over time.
Diffusion and criticism
Around the world, many countries are beginning to embrace gross national happiness. The international conferences on gross national happiness all over the world have contributed to spreading the concept in various parts, with many countries having joined the idea after the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio + 20 in 2012. The concept of Happiness Gross National has received some criticism and some critics have called it a propaganda tool by the Bhutanese government to hide human rights abuses. The Bhutanese and some Western promoters of the concept of gross national happiness have opposed this criticism by claiming that the concept is a process of development and learning, not a real end point.