Why Bhutan’s “Gross National Happiness” is a joke
RALEIGH, N.C. — The tiny Buddhist country of Bhutan, known as the last Shangri-La, has become famous for its happy people.
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.”
Now, the government is trying to turn bliss into a development strategy: Gross National Happiness, the thrust of which is to weave development around people, not the people around development.
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