GDP has become a valuable tool for evaluating how well or poorly an economy's doing at a certain point in time

. GDP is a reliable indicator of economic health. As reliable as it is, however, GDP really only measures one thing -- money. More to the point, GDP measures the money being made by the interaction of production and consumption in an economy. With many of the world's countries about as unhappy as they can get because of their sagging GDP figures, the tiny nation of Bhutan is going in the opposite direction. Officials there have come up with a different indicator, called gross national happiness (GNH). the Bhutanese are quite earnest about implementing GNH as their key economic indicator. Rather than submit to the conspicuous consumption that characterizes much of the developed world, Bhutanese leaders chose to join the global economy on their own terms by measuring how the facets of its economy affect the positive outlook of its residents. Beginning in November 2008, all the economic factors used to measure gross domestic product are analyzed for their impact on Bhutan's residents' happiness. The factors of production are still there -- unemployment, agriculture, retail sales -- but GNH represents a paradigm shift in what's most valued by Bhutanese society compared to the rest of the world. In short, happiness matters, not money. To calculate the effect a certain economic sector has on GNH, Bhutan's economic activity is measured by nine distinct criteria, or dimensions. These dimensions include concepts like time use, environmental diversity and psychological well-being. By employing gross national happiness as its leading economic indicator, Bhutan's public policy will inevitably follow suit.

Happiness vs. Money: The Showdown
Is gross national happiness more important than gross domestic product? That's a tough question, but the usefulness of GNH has a leg up for two reasons. Money has a dichotomous nature; it can bring happiness and sadness, security and insecurity -- usually depending on how much or how little cash you have. Happiness has a more singular nature: It brings only, well, happiness. In addition, studies consistently show that happy workers are more productive than depressed or stressed ones [source: Rost]. After all, Bhutan's economic activity must still generate enough revenue to pay for services like health care, education and infrastructure and its population must still buy food and clothing.
Even beyond the benefits that a focus on happiness can provide an economy, strong evidence suggests that happiness is simply more important than money. The study showed that wealthier individuals showed almost the same amount of happiness during certain life experiences as the poorer ones, though they still reported higher life satisfaction

However, although Bhutan has accepted GNH as the basic tool for measuring its level of development, measuring ⼠happiness⼠remains an elusive quest. Most studies on happiness are conducted using self-reporting techniques, and are therefore, highly subjective. Nonetheless, Bhutan⼌s outlook on development is increasingly being

The approach being adopted to GNH measurement in Bhutan is a major innovation. Few people in this world would disagree with the proposition that happiness is more important than product. As with other approaches to measurement of human wellbeing this approach is imperfect.adopted by other countries in the region and elsewhere. many countries are now beginning to wonder whether they got it all wrong when they assumed that rapid economic growth and high per capita incomes would boost overall well-being in their countries. moderation. Yet. cultural harmony and coordinated development. While recognizing that a harmonious society needs to be relatively wealthy and needs to meet its basic needs. justice.rather than to rely exclusively on imperfect measures of subjective well-bei . social equity. Like China. It will be interesting to observe to what extent it succeeds in providing reliable information on the well-being of the people of Bhutan. when we come to assessing human well-being it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the best approach is to gather together a range of imperfect indicators . longevity. education and quality of the natural environment . the Chinese government endorsed the new doctrine of â¼ building a harmonious societyâ¼ that emphasizes balance. including rising inequalities and environmental degradation. In 2006. The doctrine is being implemented to mitigate some of the negative effects of unrestrained economic growth. for instance.including the conventional national accounting indicators and objective indicators of health. China is also realizing that rising inequalities in society can contribute to social disharmony. in that what is measured is the extent that members of the population approach a ³sufficient level´ in a range of dimensions related to well-being.

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