Gross National Happiness

For several decades now, Bhutan’s development has been guided by the philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH). It started in 1972. It goes beyond the concept of sustainable development and rather accentuates the concept of contentment and happiness.

Although it is inevitable Bhutanese strive for economic development in order to acquire greater status and wealth, what makes Bhutan exceptional is the common understanding to nurture everything that is Bhutanese.

Meanwhile, Bhutan is the first and only country in the world to have a government pronouncement the GNH as more important than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Conceived by our Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the philosophy is about belief that happiness can be achieved through development that balances the needs of the body with those of the mind within a stable and sustainable environment.

GNH stresses material enrichment must not lead to spiritual impoverishment and that it must address emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of the individual. Above all, GNH requires that the Endeavor of the government must be to create conditions that would enable its citizens to pursue happiness.

GNH has four pillars that set space to connect happiness with the people and the country. The four pillars are: sustainable and equitable socio-economic development, environment conservation, the preservation of and promotion of culture, and good governance. Although criticisms have come onboard from several countries, GNH has gained reputation worldwide. Bhutan is considered one of the happiest places to live on earth today.

The four pillars of GNH

1) Equitable and sustainable socioeconomic development

2) Preservation and promotion of culture

3) Conservation of the environment

4) Promotion of good governance

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