2legacy as activists do – to plant one tree at a time (not write one treaty at a time), teachenvironmental awareness to our children in one classroom in one school one day at a time.
This paper modifies the World Bank’s mandate in the
Quality of Life
report (2000) for achieving the Millennium Goals and raises for this audience the issues concerning GDP andsustainable development in terms of bringing GNH into the equation. In order to situate thesemodels and this potential in the Indonesian context, the paper revisits something of the complexhistory concerning the notion of sustainable development with special reference to Indonesia. Allin all then, the purpose here is to bring something of the literature on sustainable development tothis audience in the hope that for some it might be a useful resource. At the same time it critiquesdevelopment models in terms of their reliance on success in achieving an increase in GDPassociated with growth in the economy driven by extractive industries. Finally, at the simplestlevel, this paper merely adds to the call that environmental conservation and better sustainablemanagement of natural resources should be placed at the center of all models and activities.
To date, the dominant models for environmental economics in Indonesia, specifically onthe relations between extractive industries, sustainable development and conservation are basedon supply side economics which attempt to create a more balanced relationship betweeneconomic growth, environmental damage and social inequality. In these models, an increase inGDP is the final measure of success and the concept of Gross National Happiness, henceforthGNH, has not yet received any attention as far as I know. Nevertheless, these heuristic models doaccount to some degree for the aims of the GNH movement, despite it being outside of empiricalanalysis, for the aims of the state and the World Bank, are ultimately, at least rhetorically - toimprove the quality of life.
While it will be difficult, if not impossible, to convince economists in state institutionsand in institutions such as the World Bank to take something as spiritual and humanistic, and perhaps even overly idealistic as GNH seriously, there is a different tactic which can be taken toachieve the same ends. By arguing for the central importance of the protection of theenvironment as in the best interests of the economy in the long term, the goals of the eco-spiritualism of the GNH movement could gradually be established within the consciousness of policy makers and citizens alike. To some extent, as will be considered below, it is arguable thatthis indeed is already relatively well advanced in the shift in the World Bank’s 1980’s energyfocused policies to its more holistic philosophy in the 1990’s and beyond.