What is happiness? Is it synonymous with progress, economic growth or amount of money? Not according to the country of Bhutan who has made Gross National Happiness (GNH) a national priority over GDP. According to Bhutan’s leader, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the decision was made to ensure:
that prosperity was shared across society and that it was balanced against preserving cultural traditions, protecting the environment and maintaining a responsive government. The king, now 49, has been instituting policies aimed at accomplishing these goals.
Interestingly, this article highlights how traditional culture can be at odds with modern environementalist thinking. The Bhutanese government is encouraging Buddhist monks not to cut down young trees to fly prayer flags, a practice that is said to help the dead find their way to the next life.