Where would you go if you could travel to the happiest place in the world? Would you choose a country where the Government uses a “happiness” indicator instead of an economic one to take some important decisions? This country really exists, a state where “the markets” don’t have an influence regarding people’s well-being. This place is Bhutan.
Located between China and India, Bhutan is a tiny, remote and impoverished kingdom in the Himalayas. It has less than a million of population. Bhutan is a very special Buddhist country, just opened to the visitors from 1970s. In fact, tourism is restricted: visitors must travel as part of a pre-arranged package tour.
Bhutan has one of the youngest democracies in the world. However, a monarchy is also present. Both Government and monarchy promoted the philosophy of “Gross National Happiness” (GNH). This is a statistically indicator that measures people’s quality of life, and let evaluate if “material and spiritual development” are happening together. According to the Bhutanese people, this balance is the base of happiness.
Bhutan has found out that the increase of GDP (Gross Domestic Product, similar to PIB in Spain) not necessary implies an increase of the population happiness. Therefore, they allow globalization gets in the country, in a very restricted way. They are able to adapt to globalization, to strengthen their economy, while still preserving their old traditions and culture.
In the following video you can have a more detailed explanation about what is GNH and how it works.