Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gross National Happiness

Perusing Flipboard the other day, I stumbled across this article about Bhutan and their concept of a gross national happiness measure. In brief, Bhutan is more concerned with its citizens' happiness and personal development rather than economic progress.

It's different. An interesting idea.

Off the top of my head, I can think of three different ways I can go with this week's question. I think I'll go this way:

What if we lived by the principle that happiness was more important than economic prosperity? What if that was the basic belief that guided nations (instead of success = lots of money)? What would that look like? What would that do to a society? Would that be a utopian story or a dystopian one?


  1. This is one of the reasons why I've always thought Bhutan was an interesting place. If we used that principle, income disparity would probably be a lot less of an issue. It's difficult to imagine all that changes we'd see. I'll have to ponder that one for awhile.

  2. I'd definitely be willing to try it. It's a fascinating question. For me, happiness would be being loved by someone that loved me. If I could find that and not be lonely, it'd be worth any material value. But I've had nothing but bad luck in that aspect of my life.

  3. I think the difference between a utopian society and a dystopian one would be how the government went about trying to make people happy--if it was by trying to improve current conditions that would be one thing, but force would be another. (The question reminds me of Harmony by Project Itoh.)

  4. I think that's great of Bhutan... but having no money at all and not being able to buy food makes it a bit hard to be happy. I've lived below the poverty line and it always seems to me that people who claim that money cant' buy happiness are those who have enough money, or often more than enough.

  5. I feel like we could get deep into human psychology with this one. For most people, happiness comes from having their basic needs met--safety, food, shelter, companionship. But for others, all that security is well and good but they are only fulfilled by success, victory, the thrill of the hunt. Still others are monstrously different. Would it be a utopia? It depends on what kind of person's happiness we're talking about.


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