APFANEWS

Why Bhutan’s “Gross National Happiness” is a joke

Published on Sep 21 2010 // Opinion
By RP Subba & TP Mishra

Recently, Prime Minister Jigme Y. Thinley, who traveled to the United States this week to speak at Columbia University’s World Leaders Forum, told Al Jazeera that, “In Bhutan even the street dogs seem to be smiling.” Article 9 of Bhutan’s constitution puts it simply: “The State shall strive to promote those conditions that will enable the pursuit of Gross National Happiness.”

To a lay person, being happy means having clothes to keep warm during the freezing Himalayan winter and having money to buy medication when a family member is sick. To this person, Gross National Happiness might mean living in a house with family and working the farm, instead of living in slum by the side of the road doing unpaid, compulsory labor for the government.

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C. 2010 GlobalPost. This excerpt is reproduced with permission.

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