GNH as a management tool
Bhutan’s national surveys on GNH and GNH Index
Bhutan has conducted two nationwide surveys on GNH in 2008 and 2010. The national happiness study contains more than 700 questions about personal happiness (satisfaction) and covers all the topics of the 151 variables, 72 indicators, 38 sub-indexes, 9 domains and 4 pillars, which define GNH. The 2010-survey on GNH involved 7142 respondents and the results were published on www.grossnationalhappiness.com, where you can also find a documentary about the 2010-survey.
The data collected from the national happiness surveys provide the Government an insight into the quality of life in the villages and towns in Bhutan. The result of the national happiness study is used to identify the most effective initiatives for each local community, so people equitably have the best conditions and opportunities to be happy. For detailed information on Bhutan’s GNH Index please go to: www.grossnationalhappiness.com/articles.
Video: Secretary of Bhutan's Gross National Happiness Commission talks about GNH policies
GNH screening tool
Bhutan uses GNH to evaluate, monitor, set goals and to build a national conscious about the causes of happiness. The government of Bhutan has, among other things, developed a GNH screening tool which is used as a GNH lens to screen any new policy, programme or project. For example, the policy for accession to WTO did not pass the GNH standards and was therefore rejected.
The GNH screening is performed by Bhutan´s Gross National Happiness Commission (popularly known as Bhutan's “Ministry of Happiness”). All bills must go through the Gross National Happiness Commission before being submitted to the Cabinet. The private sector is also subject to GNH screening. It is not possible to start a new business without a license and the business idea needs to pass the GNH screening.
Video: Secretary of Bhutan's Gross National Happiness Commission talks about the GNH screening tool
Bhutan will be the first country with expanded capital accounts
Bhutan will create balanced GNH Accounts for the country, and thereby build the world’s first comprehensive set of national accounts. Bhutan has started accounting properly for all the country’s precious wealth – including natural, human, social, and cultural wealth – and it has stopped focusing narrowly on financial and manufactured wealth alone. Thereby Bhutan will be able to figure the true costs of economic activity, and be able to balance that activity with a proper accounting of natural, human, social, and cultural wealth, which are key pillars of Gross National Happiness.
Bhutan is developing a set of GNH (not GDP) accounts that chart a sane and balanced path forward, that will be one of the greatest contributions the country can make to the world. These new accounts are precisely the action recommended by the Stiglitz Commission that was appointed by French former President Sarkozy. Bhutan will be the first country actually to do it in practice, and Bhutan is already drawing on some of the world’s top expertise to do it well and credibly.
It won’t be easy, it will take time to do properly and fully (several years in fact), and there will be huge methodological challenges. However, Bhutan wants to challenge the dominance of GDP-based thinking and now that budgets make the world go round, it is necessary to construct a more accurate and comprehensive accounting system that properly accounts for the value of our natural, human, and cultural wealth. Bhutan´s national accounts will reflect all the key pillars of Gross National Happiness, so that Bhutan can truly chart a balanced path forward for the benefit of the Bhutanese people. And in so doing, the new accounts will certainly be a gift to the world from which many other countries can learn.
Remarks of the Hon’ble Prime Minister at the Press Conference releasing the first natural, social, and human capital results of Bhutan’s new National Accounts, 10 February, 2012, Prime Minister’s Office, Thimphu.
Video: Secretary of Bhutan's Gross National Happiness Commission talks about GNH accounting
GNH values in a school in Bhutan
Video: Kinley Pem, Principal of Lungtenzampa Secondary School in Thimphu, Bhutan, talks about the values of Gross National Happiness at her school.
GNH as a personal development philosophy
Video: Director og Language and Cultural Studies speaks on GNH as a personal development philosophy