Costa Rica is consulting with Bhutan for how to remain among the happiest places on earth.
A small country of 680,000 inhabitants, the Kingdom of Bhutan is located in the Himalaya mountains on the eastern border of India, and is the only country in the world to measure the happiness of their country like most countries measure their gross domestic product.
Costa Rica, which topped a list drawn up by the United Kingdom’s New Economics Foundation for being the country with the highest life satisfaction, is looking to Bhutan for tips on how to remain in first place.
Bhutan began measuring the happiness of its people in 2008. On a census distributed nationwide, the last question on the form was, “Are you happy?” a question which 97 percent answered affirmatively. Continue reading Costa Rica looks to Bhutan for happiness
Should there be alternative to the GDP?
In an email interview with The Nation, US-based historian, Eric Zencey says it’s time to ditch The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for a more meaningful and inclusive index which can more accurately measure country performances.
Why should we be thinking of an alternative to the GDP now?
GDP is a deeply foolish measure of economic progress and well-being. It was never designed to measure either of those, and we ought to find a better measure as soon as possible. Anytime is a good time to do this, but the downturn we’re facing now makes this an additionally opportune time. What we’re seeing economically is in many ways unprecedented, and its resolution will require thinking in ways we haven’t thought before. In practical terms, with GDP down worldwide, a change now is easier. The new measure could be implemented and could guide policy toward an economic recovery that gives us more of what we really want, which is social well-being, not just economic activity. Continue reading Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Vs Gross National Happiness (GNH)
For a long time, Bhutan didn’t want to measure happiness. Simply ask one question- Are you happy in Bhutan? and you have the answer… Since the world is increasingly obsessed with numbers, the Center for Bhutan Studies in Bhutan along with the international academia & development practitioners, came up with a formula after several international conferences on GNH. The first conference was held in 2004 in Thimphu, Bhutan and in 2010, it will be held in Brazil.
Happiness formula: Jealousy, sexual misconduct, or apathy toward reciting prayers – Bhutan is now ready with a set of mathematical formulae to measure these personal feelings and collect it all to calculate the country’s happiness.
Happiness formula uses 72 indicators, from reciting prayers to buying second-hand clothes.
For all those GNH skeptics who said happiness can never be measured, the Centre for Bhutan Studies is ready with the tools. Continue reading Measuring Gross National Happiness (GNH): 4 pillars, 9 Domains & 72 Indicators
By Tim Girivin (www.girvin.com)
I recently toured Bhutan. And it was a long-held dream for me. Some 40 years earlier, in teaching classes on design, calligraphy and illustration to support tuition in college, I referenced some imagery from Bhutan in our exploration of design strategy. The idea of the power of writing, in prayer wheels, as a device of spiritual magnitude was part of that study – the wheel turns, the prayers unfold, visions emanate, dreams emerge, answers are found. There is profound power in that concept – and I’ll never forget that time, nor my firsthand experience of seeing this in Bhutan, finally, after all these years.
The beauty of this premise is found everywhere in Bhutan; the wheel of prayer – it’s at the heart of the spirit of this amazing land. And that’s what I came looking for – to find the spirit of the people and the vision of this explication in every detail of their lives. And this can be found in the simple, honest character of the food, the music, poetic refrains, mysticism, the deeply enriched and symbolically profound nature of the arts, the potent structures of the dzong and the stable siting and earthbound permanence of the villages. While there are surely plenty of examples of the power inherent in the cultures of the Himalayas, these characteristics are distinct to Bhutan. Continue reading The dilemma of progress!Finding the middle path
Centrepiece is poverty reduction. Attention to agriculture and allocation of resources are the unique features of this plan
The 10th Plan has generated unprecedented interest and debate in the history of development planning in Bhutan. Political exigencies have contributed to this debate in a newly established democratic setup. On many occasions, the political discussion loses out to academic merits and demerits of the issues involved. As a student of economics I have only academic interest in the nature of 10th FYP.
In my opinion, the 10th FYP is a major departure from earlier development plans in at least two perspectives: first, it is the first time the issue of poverty reduction finds a central place in the planning process; second, the allocation of resources across the dzongkhags is based on more objectively defined criteria. Continue reading Bhutan’s 10th Five-Year-Plan
Tourism spin-off uplifts Trongsa farmers’ standard of living
|The trail is the source of additional income to farmers
It’s now winter but farmer Thinley of Trongsa is looking forward to next autumn. Not that he’s particularly crazy about the season, though things may seem nicer then. What he’s excited about is the stream of tourists that the fall delivers.
Tourists mean opportunity for work, to make some money.
The 50-year-old lanky man from Nabji village, made about Nu 10,000 in 2008 portering tourist bags and tents and foodstuff using his ponies. Fortunately for him, since the government opened the Nabji-Korphu eco-tourism trail, tourists have been coming to the region. Their numbers are not huge, but enough to keep him occupied- from autumn through winter, the seasons tourists visit. Winter is not bitter cold like in Paro or Bumthang, it’s relatively balmy. Continue reading Eco-trail windfall for local economy
With their only drinking water source drying up quicker than they imagined, farmers in three villages in Langthel gewog, Trongsa are being threatened of drinking water shortage.
Villagers from Bezam, Ngormey and Sheling in lower Trongsa said that they had to skip meals sometimes because there was not enough water for all the households. Although the government had, under the rural water supply scheme, provided drinking water to the three villages, the source was not reliable, according to villagers.
“The water is not enough, the source is not reliable,” said Jigme, a 70 year-old farmer from Ngormey pointing to a dry tap in front of his house. “The tap remains like this (dry) for weeks. There is not enough water to even cook meals.” Continue reading Water scarcity threatens three villages in Trongsa
The Boston Globe
: The United States was not the only country to name a new leader this week. In Bhutan, an insular nation of about 600,000 people located high in the Himalayas, a new king was crowned. 28-year-old Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, an Oxford-educated bachelor, was crowned as Bhutan’s fifth king – now the world’s youngest reigning monarch. Bhutan also has the distinction of being the world’s youngest democracy – having held parliamentary elections last March for the first time ever. The young ruler vows to maintain a stance of protection against the worst aspects of globalization, maintaining the “Gross National Happiness”, a measurement of national progress that places a high value on spiritual development. Gross National Happiness is a term invented by, and proudly embraced by Bhutanese since 1972. (22 photos total
Bhutan’s fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck (right) crowns his son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck as the fifth King of Bhutan, in the Throne room of the Tashichhodzong Palace during the coronation ceremony in Thimphu, Bhutan on November 6, 2008. With medieval tradition and Buddhist spirituality, a 28-year-old with an Oxford education assumed the Raven Crown of Bhutan on Thursday, to guide the world’s newest democracy as it emerges into the modern world. (REUTERS/Royal Government of Bhutan/Handout)