Son of Five Rivers Blog

For the advancement of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & the Ecology of Everyday Life

Gross National Happiness Index Vs. Consumption (GDP)

From an ecological and community focused perspective, how can we expect our communities to change in these ever-changing times when we measure growth and success based on consumption (GDP)?  The concept of gross national happiness (GNH) is an attempt to define quality of life in more holistic and psychological terms than gross national product.  Below you’ll find out the basics of GNH and I’ll be sure to blog about GPI (Genuine Progress Indicator) in a later post as it’s just as interesting.

History of GNH

The term was coined in 1972 by Bhutan‘s former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who has opened up Bhutan to the age of modernization, soon after the demise of his father, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. It signaled his commitment to building an economy that would serve Bhutan’s unique culture based on Buddhist spiritual values. Like many moral goals, it is somewhat easier to state than to define. Nonetheless, it serves as a unifying vision for Bhutan’s five-year planning process and all the derived planning documents that guide the economic and development plans of the country.

Principals (How ti works)

There is no exact quantitative definition of GNH it refers to the concept of a quantitative measurement of well-being and happiness. The two measures are both motivated by the notion that subjective measures like well-being are more relevant and important than more objective measures like consumption. It is not measured directly, but only the factors which are believed to lead to it.  While conventional development models stress economic growth as the ultimate objective, the concept of GNH claims to be based on the premise that true development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other. The four pillars of GNH are the promotion of sustainable development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment, and establishment of good governance.

GNH has grown and expanded over the years, the metric measures socioeconomic development by tracking 7 development areas including the nation’s mental and emotional health. GNH value is proposed to be an index function of the total average per capita of the following measures:

  1. Economic Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of economic metrics such as consumer debt, average income to consumer price index ratio and income distribution
  2. Environmental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of environmental metrics such as pollution, noise and traffic
  3. Physical Wellness: Indicated via statistical measurement of physical health metrics such as severe illnesses
  4. Mental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of mental health metrics such as usage of antidepressants and rise or decline of psychotherapy patients
  5. Workplace Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of labor metrics such as jobless claims, job change, workplace complaints and lawsuits
  6. Social Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of social metrics such as discrimination, safety, divorce rates, complaints of domestic conflicts and family lawsuits, public lawsuits, crime rates
  7. Political Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of political metrics such as the quality of local democracy, individual freedom, and foreign conflicts.

Another Link: GDP & GNP Explained in an understandable way.  (below link)

https://sonoffiverivers.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/gdp-gnp-explained/

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November 29, 2009 - Posted by | Creativity, Government, Information Technology (I.T.), Politics, Sustainability |

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