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Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness

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Bhutan’s king gauges happiness

In 1972, the king of Bhutan changed the way his country measured progress from the traditional gross national product (GNP) to gross national happiness. Rather than focusing purely on total output, the alternative metric looks at the equity and sustainability of development, the preservation of culture, conservation, and good governance. Although it’s hard to measure the precise effect the change has had on the country, some validation came in 2007, when Bhutan was the only low-GNP nation to rank in the top 20 in a survey of subjective well-being.

Other groups have made similar efforts, most notably with the genuine progress indicator. While the traditional GDP includes all goods and services produced in a country, the GPI distinguishes between those that increase well-being (like childcare) and those that represent reduced well-being (like medical services after a car crash).


Bhutan. Photo by JenFu Cheng Photography. Www.jenfucheng.com
JenFu Cheng Photography.
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Land of the Thunder Dragon:
Let the people of Bhutan lift your soul.



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Kevin picks a pillow fight Joe's 82 and still breaking records Happiness class at Harvard Bhutan's king guages bliss Kurt paddles close to home Tina quits her day job
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Mark keeps the Secular Sabbath Ceclie savors the slow life Titus offers a wet-nose touch Ricard's brain lights up Madan laughs out loud A prison meditates

The Happiness-in-Action Heroes are part of Sustainable Happiness, the Winter 2009 issue of YES! Magazine.
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