It seems too good to be true, a utopian dream that one day a nation might measure its success based on its Gross National Happiness. Is it Camelot reborn? An idea for a new Disney Pixar film? Not at all. It’s a political reality in the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. The country actually measures its success by the happiness of its citizens – its GNH. Those citizens are so pleased with the results that they recently resisted the king’s efforts to introduce democracy – they preferred the monarch who made happiness a standard for government. Tashi Wangchuk was a pioneer in the establishment of GNH in his native Bhutan, and with photographer Anne Muller documented the results in a beautiful photo essay. Through their collaboration they hope to teach other nations, cities, and individuals how to apply the principles of GNH to the choices they make. It’s easier than you’d think to get started. As Mr. Wangchuk explains, “It’s not only the economy that’s important. In the present situation the dollar is king, and if the economy is doing badly it seems to have a negative impact on everything else. But I don’t think that’s true. I think it’s more important to nurture community, and being nice and being kind, compassionate to each other.” By applying a few simple values-based principles, each of us can make Gross National Happiness a reality in our own lives and in our communities. (hosted by Michael Toms)
Tashi Wangchuk is a conservation biologist and cultural anthropologist who has worked for the Bhutanese government and the United Nations. He pioneered the conceptual development of the root causes of Gross National Happiness for the government of Bhutan. Anne Muller is a painter, actor, director, dancer, choreographer, sculptor, and documentary photographer.
Mr. Wangchuk and Ms. Muller are co-authors of:
- Gross National Happiness of Bhutan (Pursue Balance 2008)
To learn more go to annemullerphotography.com.
Topics explored in this dialogue include:
- How having a cell phone can affect your personal GNH
- Why Gross National Product is actually a measure of our dysfunction and destruction
- How your city can apply the principles of Gross National Happiness
- What four values you can consider to measure the GNH of your community
- How you can live a GNH life
Host: Michael Toms Interview Date: 10/30/2008 Program Number: 3286