The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sarkozy wants Bhutan model of development index

Press Trust of India / Thimphu September 15, 2009, 12:01 IST

If President Nicolas Sarkozy has his way, France may soon follow Bhutan in using happiness as the index to measure the country's development.

Sarkozy yesterday said that measuring well-being would make France's economy, famous for its short work week and generous social benefits, look more rosy.

"A great revolution is waiting for us. For years, people said that finance was a formidable creator of wealth, only to discover one day that it accumulated so many risks that the world almost plunged into chaos," he said.

Bhutan has as its development indicator Gross National Happiness (GNH) with 72 variables considered the pillars. According to Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley, in the wake of the global meltdown, the GNH development paradigm has become more relevant.

GNH has fascinated many an outsider, the prominent being Canadian-American actor Michael J Fox and Simpsons' co-creator Sam Simon.

The Centre for Bhutan Studies has grouped the 72 indicators under nine principal domains - time use, living standards, good governance, psychological wellbeing, community vitality, culture, health, education and ecology.

Scholars at the centre have even come up with a set of mathematical formulae that can measure jealousy, sexual misconduct and apathy toward reciting prayers among others.

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