Gross National Happiness over GDP?

A country's philosophy on success

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Happy Thursday! That is unless you live in a country that prioritizes economic growth over gross population happiness as a measure of success. YES, there is a country that evaluates how well they’re doing based on collective happiness and it’s called the Kingdom of Bhutan. However, there are criticisms based on Bhutan’s past of ethnic cleansing but today, we will just introduce Gross National Happiness as an idea.

What is the Gross National Happiness Index?

Gross National Happiness (GNH) is the idea of measuring societal progress based on communal well-being and social good. There are four pillars of GNH:

1) Sustainability

2) Sustainable socio-economic growth

3) Preservation and promotion of culture & diversity

4) Good governance

Does it work?

GNH is a relatively new idea. Introduced in 1970 as a “holistic approach to economic development”, GNH has not gotten much daylight (surprising). That’s because happiness is subjective and although there are arguably objective ways of measuring happiness like income, education, and community, we just don’t know how precise they are as metrics.

Regardless, there are movements today that are pushing for the idea to be considered when it comes to determining whether a social policy is good i.e. GNHUSA. And the idea sounds interesting because at the end of the day, wouldn’t you call a happy life a successful life?

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