Gross National Happiness 2004-06-23Posted by clype in Health, Intolerance, Money.
‘Gross National Happiness’ could be the next stage in the evolution of our economic thinking. A group of western economists, inspired by Bhutan’s concept of ‘Gross National Happiness’, are working to get the idea adopted internationally.
‘”Gross International Happiness” could be the next level of evolution in our economic thinking’, says the Dutch economist, Sander Tideman.
Bhutan, led by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, is the only country in the world to measure its well-being by ‘Gross National Happiness’ instead of ‘Gross National Product’.
This unorthodox approach is an attempt to question the values of unbridled economic progress, and bring to the forefront the importance of maintaining a balance between tradition and modernisation.
The tiny, Himalayan kingdom recently hosted an international conference on ‘Gross National Happiness’.
Opening the proceedings, the Prime Minister spoke of the importance of protecting Bhutanese culture from the dominant western economic paradigm. The Chairman of the ‘Spirit in Business’ Network, Sander Tideman, who has been at the forefront of the dialogue with the Bhutanese, says,
‘Everyone wants to be happy. It’s a common aspiration of humanity. What if happiness was really possible? In Himalayan cultures, the whole society’s economy was meant to serve the quest for happiness.
‘There’s a need for a new movement that talks the language of economists and tries to expand their horizons’, he says.
‘Since the Enlightenment we stopped seeing the divine in everything and the West created economic models that say that if we have enough material goods we will be happy. Now that is completely invalidated’.
This view is endorsed by the Dalai Lama, who says,
‘I have discovered in my travels around the world that people in wealthy countries are often not nearly as happy as I had expected them to be, considering their material affluence. Seeing deep poverty side by side with conspicuous consumption in both wealthy and poor countries also indicates that all is not well’.
His Holiness has had discussion with members of the ‘Gross National Happiness’ movement on ‘Designing Economy for Everyone’. Now, they are committed to reaching decision makers in the West.
‘Our Western culture has defined well-being and the objective of life in purely material terms.
‘We need a model that embraces the totality of life that’s also based on the immaterial reality including, emotions, feelings, water, earth, sunshine, all those softer values that don’t show up in current economic and business models’, says Sander Tideman. ‘Once you do that you can create true value. That’s the way forward’.
FURTHER INFORMATION :
Sander Tideman, Chairman, Spirit in Business, Brinklaan 151, NL, 1404 GE Bussum, The Netherlands. Tel: 00 31 35 6951920
WEB SITE : www.spiritinbusiness.org
2nd WEB SITE : www.grossinternationalhappiness.org