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Bhutan Believes in Gross National Happiness

“The rich are not always happy while the happy generally considered themselves rich.” – Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck

Which is why Bhutan measures the country’s growth in terms of Gross National Happiness (GNH) as opposed to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as followed by the rest of the world.

The Bhutanese people have always taken a unique approach to everything. Bhutan has inspired many around the world by placing the happiness and prosperity of each of its individuals ahead of economic wealth. This is the central idea behind Gross National Happiness (GNH), Bhutan’s development philosophy.

Since 1971, the country has rejected GDP as the only way to measure progress. In its place, it has championed a new approach to development, which measures prosperity through formal principles of gross national happiness (GNH) and the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment.

According to Bhutan Gross National Happiness, is more important than Gross National Product.

GNH was developed by His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan. It’s based on the premise that true development occurs when material and spiritual development complement each other and highlights both the physical and mental well-being of the individual. His Majesty the Fourth King stresses that Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product, as wealth does not necessarily bring happiness to people.

Many countries have lost much of their cultural heritage with the dynamic changing of times. In Bhutan, we’ve made a sincere and respectful effort to preserve our culture. For us, GNH is also about culture and how people live life as human beings, as families, and as a society—our values that we aspire to individually and collectively. Our distinct architecture, cultural events, traditions, and rituals are all aspects of the Bhutanese way of life. The challenge is more profound today than ever before to restore and maintain these elements through cultural preservation.

What is Gross National Happiness?

Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a holistic and sustainable approach to development which balances between material and non-material values with the conviction that humans want to search for happiness. The objective of GNH is to achieve a balanced development in all facets of life which is essential to our happiness. The goal of GNH is happiness. One of several means to achieve this goal is sustainable economic growth. GNH is a unique approach to national and global development.

The concept of Gross National Happiness consists of four pillars: Fair socio-economic development (better education and health), conservation and promotion of a vibrant culture, environmental protection and good governance.