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Put the “happy” back in Happy New Year

January 4, 2006
I receive a newsletter about environmental issues and I was sent this one that really grabbed my interest.  I would like to see the happiness index measured here in Canada.
From: The New York Times, Oct. 4, 2005


By Andrew C. Revkin

What is happiness? In the United States and in many other
industrialized countries, it is often equated with money.

Economists measure consumer confidence on the assumption that the
resulting figure says something about progress and public welfare. The
gross domestic product, or G.D.P., is routinely used as shorthand for
the well-being of a nation.

But the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has been trying out a
different idea.

In 1972, concerned about the problems afflicting other developing
countries that focused only on economic growth, Bhutan’s newly crowned
leader, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, decided to make his nation’s
priority not its G.D.P. but its G.N.H., or gross national happiness.

Bhutan, the king said, needed to ensure that prosperity was shared
across society and that it was balanced against preserving cultural
traditions, protecting the environment and maintaining a responsive
government. The king, now 49, has been instituting policies aimed at
accomplishing these goals.

Now Bhutan’s example, while still a work in progress, is serving as a
catalyst for far broader discussions of national well-being.


You can read the rest of the article at:  RPR#19

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