Is Bhutan’s Index of National Happiness the way of the future?


I think Bhutan is onto something with their Index on National Happiness.

Everything the King and his delegates do has to include consideration of what the impact will have on national happiness. (Although the country’s new Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay has opted to move away from this somewhat telling the New York Times that “rather than talking about happiness, we want to work on reducing the obstacles to happiness.”)

Why can we not implement the same thing in the West?

Sadly, instead of putting their efforts into making the world a happier place for all, which in turn would surely also make the world a more peaceful place for all, the focus is on greed, corruption and getting ahead.

The people in “power” know fully well that the decisions they are making are having huge impacts on the population.  They try to reassure us that nobody will be left behind.  But with the stroke of a pen tens of thousands of lives instantly become harder.

So, back to happiness…

Just what is it that our supposed leaders are so afraid of if they were to implement a measure of happiness?

Are they worried that productivity would become far too high?  Is it that the courts wouldn’t be as busy?  Would innovation happen too quickly?  Could it be that the media would be forced to stop propagating misery?  Or is it simply that the brothers and sisters of the planet would actually be allowed to get along with one another as per the initial Universal plan?

Surely these reasons can’t be why they would be against instigating such a policy…

With Free Trade deals being negotiated and signed left, right and centre, let’s just hope that the international trade in happiness can also start to see some growth.



  1. You know, Paul I really think they raise an interesting point. Development and the focus on GDP can really change the cultural dynamics of a place. I’m not saying development is all bad, but there should be a balance. I was fortunate enough to live with the last sea gypsies for a recent article and the impacts from their perspective were eye-opening to me. I’m interested in your thoughts.

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