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Unformatted text preview: PATTERNS OF TIME USE AND HAPPINESS IN BHUTAN: Is there a relationship between the two? Karma Galay, Chief Research Officer, Centre for Bhutan Studies Part One: Background Gross National Happiness (GNH) was promulgated as Bhutan’s philosophy of economic and social development by the Fourth King of Bhutan as soon as he came to the throne in 1972 (Thinley, 2007). It refers to a set of social and economic interventions that evaluate societal change in terms of the collective happiness of people and that lead to the adoption of policies aimed at that objective. Premised on the belief that all human beings aspire to happiness in one way or another, the concept emphasizes promoting the collective happiness of the society as the ultimate goal of development. GNH emphasizes the importance of meeting both the mental and the physical needs of individuals. In other words, it emphasizes that happiness is a function both of fulfilling material wants as well as mental and spiritual needs. The philosophy of Gross National Happiness considers economic growth as one of the means towards achieving happiness and not as the ultimate objective of development. GNH emphasizes that happiness must be realized as a collective or societal goal and not be defined as an individualized or competitive good (op. cit.). It recognizes the importance of individual happiness as well, but it believes that the path to individual happiness can be paved better through a happy society. No individuals can be happy or pursue things that would make them happy if society at large is chaotic and unhappy. The concept of GNH assumes that public policies based on happiness would be far less arbitrary or prone to conflict than policies formulated out of concern for economic and material gains. It nevertheless, does not rule out the possibility of conflict among individuals or groups of individuals. It is important for such conflicts, if they arise, to be resolved in a way that does not violate moral rights. The concept emphasizes the importance of establishing institutions to resolve such conflicts. Development initiatives based on GNH values are not restricted to the present population of any given society; it includes future generations and other societies, indeed all sentient beings. GNH emphasizes that our current pursuit of development should not cause misery to future generations. It should also not bring problems to other societies or to other sentient beings, as understood in the Buddhist concept. In other words, one’s pursuit of happiness should not cause unhappiness or misery to others. This implies a critique of some lines of contemporary development theory and social philosophy. Guided by this profound policy, Bhutan has made rapid development in a short period of time....
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This note was uploaded on 10/24/2011 for the course UNIV 2201 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at University of Georgia Athens.
- Fall '08