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What is happiness? In many
industrialised countries, it is often equated with money.
But the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has been trying
a different idea. In 1972, concerned about the problems afflicting
other developing countries 1, Bhutan's leader,
King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, decided to make his nation's
priority its GNH, 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 instituted policies 2.
Now, Bhutan's example is serving
as a catalyst for broader discussions of national well-being.
A growing number of economists, social scientists, corporate
leaders and bureaucrats around the world are trying to develop
systems 3 but also access
to health care, time with family, conservation of natural
resources and other non-economic factors. The goal is partly
to obtain a broader definition of the word happiness. 'We
have to think of human well-being in broader terms,' said
Bhutan's Home Minister. 'Material well-being is only one component.
That doesn't ensure that you're at peace with your environment
In the early stages of a climb
out of poverty, for a household or a country, incomes and
contentment grow together. But various studies show that beyond
certain points, 5 , happiness does
not keep up. And some countries, studies found, were happier
than they should be. One study found that Latin American countries,
for example, registered far more subjective happiness than
their economic status would suggest.
have had great difficulty in developing measuring techniques
6 . And some experts
question whether national well-being can really be defined.
Just the act of trying to quantify happiness could destroy
it, said one expert. 'The most important things in life are
not prone to measurement - like love.'
A. aimed at accomplishing
these goals B. that can capture this broader sense of well-being C. and in harmony with each other D. whose focus was only on economic growth E. but there is not necessarily a relationship between
wealth and happiness F. as annual income passes certain levels G. that measure not just the flow of money
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