Gross National Happiness

Continuing our series on the Search for the Next Economic Paradigm, we feature an unlikely authority on Economic development. The Gross National Happiness Metric hails from the Himalayan country of Bhutan listed by the UN as a “Least Developed Country”.

The linked presentation below reports on the GNH (Gross National Happiness) conference. Yes, people are getting together for an annual GNH conference just like the famed GNP (Gross Domestic Product) conferences elsewhere.

Hypothesis: Paradigm shift related to global societal development

• ‘Economic growth’ as the dominating paradigm of ‘progress’ is increasingly under challenge
• Growth of GDP is unsustainable and does not lead to more happiness
• We are in a process of Redefining Progress and Global Transformation
• Needed: Multi-stakeholder, multi-cultural and intradisciplinary as well as participatory public support networks for an emerging new development paradigm

The Production of Happiness

Where one half of the world sees development measured in terms of products, the other sees human development. Imagine an economic summit where self actualization, family values, education, art, and community building are the factors of production. Not to spoil the fun, flip through the charts and see for yourself what the majority of the world is “producing” and ask yourself what the currency is and how value is accounted for.

Starting point: the Four Pillars of GNH

• Cultural promotion
• Good Governance
• Equitable economic development
• Environmental protection

Some dimensions of GNH

• Philosophic/religious/spiritual
• Historic
– Evolution of Science
– Socio-Political development
• Psychology/Human development
• Geographic
• Environmental

The presentation concludes with the following Economic Paradigm shifts

1. The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Parts
2. From “Divide and conquer” to “Unite and Serve”.
3. From “I Buy” to “We Care”

Reflecting on the current financial crisis and nearly constant threat of imminent failure, is the Bhutan GNH Conference a look to the future or a look to the past? Are we ready to learn from those who our we oppresses?

Please download the presentation from this link

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