Monday, October 26, 2009

Gross National Happiness

I first heard about Bhutan's Gross National Happiness from Michael J. Fox's "Adventures of an Incurable Optimist." (Highly recommend you watch if you can find it.) Now I read that France's President Nicolas Sarkozy recently proposed a “happiness index." In "From Bhutan to France: Gross National Happiness," Eric Weiner writes about how ideas, like people, sometimes travel well.

Taking cues from Bhutan, the British got the ball of happiness rolling: "Slowly, GNH caught on. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair established an unofficial Department of Happiness, directing his advisers to explore how findings from the “science of happiness” can help shape policy."

"The traditional measure of a nation’s wealth, Gross Domestic Product, is woefully inadequate, Sarkozy declared, and promptly ordered French bureaucrats to take into account factors such as quality of life, the environment and (gasp!) vacation time. What the world needs, Sarkozy said in so many words, is not Gross National Product but Gross National Happiness."

Is it time to move? Or will this idea journey to the U.S.?

Read Weiner's full story here.

(A lovely view of Bhutan, from TravelChannel.com/iStockPhoto)

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