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jotwani - Education as an effective tool to enhance...

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Education as an effective tool to enhance happiness Dr. Nandlal Jotwani, [email protected] Introduction In the world we live in, we witness a lot of violence, turmoil, turbulence and general unhappiness around us. We also observe general decline of ethical values in the society. We also remain in the midst of a growing global crisis of climate change. Will we be overwhelmed by the growing challenges confronting us or will we overcome them through wise leadership and collaborative action to enter a new era of general happiness and sustainable development. In this crisis, however, there exists a corresponding opportunity - an opportunity to adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances by changing ourselves, both by inner and social transformation. The world is indebted to His Majesty the King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, for his innovative concept of ‘Gross National Happiness (GNH)’, which aims to define the quality of life in holistic terms rather than in stereotyped economic term, ‘Gross Domestic Product (GDP)’, which is just an economic indicator, not the wholesome ‘happiness’ indicator. In any case, there is no simple economic panacea to guarantee a sustained sense of happiness in the people. Is the humanity, as a whole, the real beneficiary of ‘economic sufficiency’? Can we really eliminate global poverty? The World Bank estimates that 2.5 billion not-so-happy people still live below poverty line, that is, on $2 a day, or less. While some societies can ‘ nurture’ economic growth by adopting sound policies, some other societies are pre-disposed by their inherent culture (a.k.a. ‘ nature ’) to meager growth, as opined by Lawrence Harrison of Tufts University. That probably explains as to why ‘South America’ is poorer than ‘North America’, ‘Africa’ is poorer than ‘Europe’, etc. Gregory Clark, an economist, interestingly opines in his book, "A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World”, that much of the world's persisting poverty is semi-permanent as many societies cannot take advantage of modern technology and management owing to their values systems resisting the economically sensible policies of open markets, secure property rights, et al. He says, "there is no simple economic medicine that will guarantee growth, and even complicated economic surgery offers no clear prospect of relief for societies afflicted with poverty" because some societies encourage growth and some do not. Clark estimates that the gap
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between the richest nations and the poorest is actually greater today (50 to 1) than in 1800 (4 to 1).
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