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Gross National Happiness

You are currently viewing a revision titled "Gross National Happiness", saved on March 5, 2014 at 5:21 pm by Sean Lynn
Gross National Happiness



Gross National Happiness was first coined in the 1970s by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck ( Its purpose implies that sustainable development should give equal importance to holistic methods of economic progress and the non economic aspects of human livelihood. The basic need of healthy living in human life extends past the physical boundaries. This logic is used in the participation in political decision making processes involving progress and basic human needs.

Context within NORA

GNH directly refers to participation in collective and economic decision making processes through creating a system of measuring Happiness rather than product in a 9 indicator framework. This collective participation leads to reform in areas of needs and resources.

The participation in political decision making extends to education and learning systems in an effort to maximize knowledge about culture, as well as land and water environmental sustainability.

GNH emphasizes Health access and mental health as 2 separate indicators in the GNH index. Physical as well as Mental health are measured on separate but fluid scales (excel sheet)

Understanding current patterns of abundance and scarcity

Understanding current patterns in abundance and scarcity of GNH involve the practices of implementation of the 9 indicators of Happiness onto government controlled entities being environmental/cultural preservation, education, health care, and the participation of collective ideas. All of these factors play a large role in Bhutanese society in creating a sustainable GNH level but contain their shares of strengths and weaknesses. 

Environmental preservation refers to the GNH policies that keep Bhutan's forests at a thriving 73 percent regarding wooded areas. Scarcity of environmental preservation falls under the fact that the Bhutanese government struggles to give farmers and the lower classes the necessary land to live off. Conservative deforestation practices, such as narrow commercial logging,are used to conserve the thriving natural ecosystems that have become ingrained into the cultural presence of the Bhutanese people as opposed to commercial farming or logging. Only 4 percent of previously forested land has been commercially logged (Zurick)

Cultural preservation seeks to prevent cultural erosion through keeping traditional Bhutanese cultural history into education. Cultural scarcity is not the issue as far as learning Bhutanese culture goes. One of the biggest problems for GNH is the preservation of Bhutan culture while simultaneously redefining the definition of culture to extend to a more accepting viewpoint of the broad definition of culture. Interestingly enough the scarcity in cultural preservation could be seen as overlooked when Bhutan exiled nearly one-hundred thousand of its citizens with Nepalese descent creating a scarce amount of cultural preservation for non Bhutanese citizens, though an abundance of the preservation of Bhutanese society.

Education Brings a new perspective to the participation of collective economic decision making. Education policies seem to create abundance in knowledge of the Bhutan environment as well as interest in education. Nearly 100 percent of children in Bhutan receive some form of education (Miller).  Education is key to learning how to implement strategies of abundance while avoiding scarcity in collective decision making.



Approaches to creating greater abundance

Links and Stories





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