A Bigger Economy Doesn’t Always Buy Happiness

Economists rely on the size and growth of a nation’s gross domestic product to determine the health of any economy. But the GDP covers the sale of weapons, mindless video games, excessive packaging that ends up in landfills, prescription drugs that treat anxiety or depression, and expenditures for war. Robert Kennedy once said that GDP doesn’t measure "the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, or the intelligence of our public debate." The small Himalayan nation of Bhutan has developed a new metric for Gross National Happiness, or GNH. One Bhutan official called traditional economic measurements "delusional," according to this article in “The Los Angeles Times,” and the Bhutanese government strives to make decisions based on their contributions to comfort, security and pleasure. Bhutan deliberately pursues a slow pace for life, promoting traditional lifestyles and dress, a strict building code and conservation of its rich mineral and timber resources – and governments in China and the UK have taken notice. Traditional economic measures need not be abandoned, suggests author Eric Weiner. But citizens and government should also apply common sense about what types of expenditures provide long-term security and happiness. – YaleGlobal

A Bigger Economy Doesn't Always Buy Happiness

The U.S. should think about a general wellness index alongside GDP to gauge the country's true health
Eric Weiner
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Click here for the original article on The Los Angeles Times website.

Eric Weiner is the author of the book “The Geography of Bliss,” to be published by TWELVE in 2008.

Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times