In Bhutan I learnt that they prioritize their people’s happiness over productivity. Before we get too excited about this kind of policy I think we need to weigh both sides of this and thanks to social media I’ve managed to gain an understanding of what these pros and cons are. I do not have any feedback from Bhutan citizens so if anyone is from there and would like to comment feel free to leave a comment on this blog or send me an email at email@example.com . Even if you aren’t a Bhutan citizen I’d still like to hear your views. Ok so here we go…
1. Bhutan’s king handed over power to a parliamentary democracy to promote peace. This is important because many view this as a selfless act. The king was acting in the best interests of his people and trying to move his country forward.
2. Conservation of the environment ensuring that Bhutan is carbon neutral and that more than half (roughly 62%) of the country is under forest and the government is very committed to keeping things this way. Lately there has been a buzz surrounding environmental issues and people are really waking up to the reality of global warming (except Trump and the Chinese government of course). So this is another one of Bhutan’s progressive plans for their country. Environmental conservation of this magnitude however does have some downfalls according to some- but we’ll get on that later.
3. There has been an attempt to preserve their culture and even promote it. Not giving into becoming too westernized like the majority of the world. Bhutan values diversity in its national culture and tradition- however some were also critical of this decision.
4. Sustainable and equitable scoop-economic development. All government policy has to pass a Gross National Happiness “stress test”.
So let’s discuss: these ideas appear wonderful and that the government is really consented with the wellbeing and overall happiness of its people. Which is all well and good however is it too idealistic? Is it possible to prioritize happiness (something that is intangible and is something that is difficult to measure in quantities) over productivity that is essential to the economic growth and development of a country?Well some people gave their two cents. While idealists and optimists like me really enjoyed this type of political approach many others proved to be pretty critical of this political policy.
So in terms of the logistics people argued how do you make people happy? Surely you cannot please everyone? The factory owner and the factory worker do not find happiness in the same things but rather contradictory things. A person named Shruti mentioned that people are being blinded by all this happiness talk and are failing to see that their economy is suffering and that unemployment will rise if the government continues not to take productivity seriously.
Another contributor to this discussion named Jeff said that he doesn’t believe that they promote diversity. He said “tell me what nation is going to have happier people? The nation where everyone celebrates the same culture? Or a nation where there are a hundred cultures -starkly different- and everyone is trying to celebrate them all at once?
Lastly Theuns Coetzee said that if you fail prioritize productivity your economy will fall behind those who do prioritize productivity.
So what are your thoughts? Can countries in the 21st century prioritize happiness over productivity?