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Gross National Happiness

Gross National Happiness
June 01, 2010, 05:11:29 PM
Today, the concept of GNH resonates with a wide range of initiatives, across the world, to define prosperity in more holistic terms and to measure actual wellbeing rather than consumption. By contrast the conventional concept of Gross National Product (GNP) measures only the sum total of material production and exchange in any country. Thus an international conference on Gross National Happiness, hosted by the Bhutan government in the capital city of Thimphu in 2004, attracted 82 eminent participants from 20 countries.


Looks neat at first glance, but simultaneously during those initial milliseconds, the pitfalls show up alongside. GNH can be gamed much easier than GNP. GNP is based on material metrics. GNH is based on opinions. Huxley must be rolling in his grave.

Re: Gross National Happiness
June 02, 2010, 09:26:27 AM
From an environmental perspective, I would like to stress the importance of adding alternatives to GNP country ratings - even if they are purely qualitative (as is all philosophy I might add). The Global Footprint network (footpring.org) is trying to get poor and rich countries to add their Biocapacity (the amount of consumable "nature" left in their nation) alongside GDP. Great idea. The Happiness Index, if accepted, might also make countries more open to steady state economies since up until an income of about 7 000 - 10 000 a year happiness doesn't increase, so why bother making more.  

Re: Gross National Happiness
June 02, 2010, 02:45:14 PM
Don't get me wrong, this is an interesting tool if applied accurately and applied along several indexes for a more detailed view. GNH and GNP could give us more detail and a footprint index would tell us at what cost to the biosphere and therefore to each other prosperity comes.

Re: Gross National Happiness
June 02, 2010, 03:58:48 PM
1.7. Humanity exists to attain knowledge of the transcendent and to strive and accomplish heroically.

Or, forever reaching toward the unattainable. The alternative is to fall or lapse into fatalism with everyone else as the surrounding world decays from consensual neglect. The hidden goal isn't to actually attain the unattainable. We're really just trying to evolve and get better with each generation. That's why it probably isn't wise to scoff at purer/simpler notions of a perfect God or seemingly too-lofty pursuits like a Grand Unifying Theory. While pursuing these things, although the cost and effort will increase with sustained work, we get many benefits along the way.

Re: Gross National Happiness
June 02, 2010, 07:17:04 PM
I encountered this in a completely unrelated search about Plato. It's almost 7 years old, but anyway:

Introduction of TV to Bhutan

How long will Bhutan's happiness last?

Re: Gross National Happiness
June 06, 2010, 05:27:05 PM
I like the basic idea, but I don't think it's happiness we seek. It's a sense of purpose, so that our actions lead toward a goal that as it is satisfied rewards society as a whole. We need to get away from focus on the individual, which "happiness" emphasizes, but "order" does not.

Re: Gross National Happiness
July 10, 2010, 06:01:02 PM
Agreed. Modern individual goals should have never been goals because they are only sustainable as side effect rewards after a time of self discipline. As goals, they lead to splintered society and backlash. What are some modern individual goals?

Something for nothing

When we wish to avoid the self discipline part, we get political about our lazy desires and elect the nearest corrupt politician who then promises to deliver us our goals. When they do deliver for us, someone else is disciplined without gains in our stead. Morality is the fulcrum point or pulley carabiner causing light effort to deliver us a heavy reward.

If we were instead among the best at something and that was our goal to be the best at it through self discipline, acceptance and happiness are delivered without the elected middle man enabling our parasitism. When our goal is consistent general self-improvement rather than demanding equal affirmation from others for no reason, we rise among the ranks in respect, earning pride, and by this comes unassailable happiness.

Gallup tracks Americans' wellbeing daily.

Re: Gross National Happiness
July 11, 2010, 07:30:45 PM
What is hapiness?

Re: Gross National Happiness
July 12, 2010, 06:18:37 AM
What is happiness?

A false goal. A more sensible goal is the obvious: adaptation.

This strikes me as interesting -- watch American currency fall in real value over the years:


Re: Gross National Happiness
July 13, 2010, 06:12:13 AM
GNH can be gamed much easier than GNP. GNP is based on material metrics.

I'm amazed that after recent news events, some people - "the televisually informed", is my euphemism for them - still think this way.

Time to re-educate the masses: