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Gross National Happiness – Happy in Bhutan?

GNH is the expression of a system of values that defined the Bhutanese system over centuries. Today, Bhutan articulates the need to preserve such traditions and values on the premise that what we have is good and should be preserved through change.

Having opened up to so-called planned development, Bhutan is aware that rapid change will threaten all this, so it is seeking the clarity and credibility of a GNH society and a GNH economy by trying to give the concept intellectual depth and academic construction.

To say that GNH is doing fine in Bhutan would be wrong. The truth is that Bhutan is changing rapidly and society is not responding fast enough.

Children in Merak - Eastern Bhutan..

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Gross National Happiness

The Late Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck said that the goal of development is to make “the people prosperous and happy.” The importance of “ prosperity and happiness” was highlighted in his address on the occasion of Bhutan’s admission to the United Nations in 1971. This vision was elaborated by the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck who declared in the first years of his reign that, “ Our country’s policy is to consolidate our sovereignty to achieve economic self-reliance, prosperity and happiness for our country and people.” His Majesty’s subsequent pronouncement that “Gross National Happiness is more important that Gross National Product” has captured the imagination of scholars and policy makers across the world.

Gross National Happiness

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