Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures a country’s economic performance in dollar term. A wealthy nation does not equate to happy population. Stress level and depression affliction affect rich nation. Look at the number of psychiatrists in the richest nation on earth that is United States and you can agree. In Singapore, we can ask ourselves the question: Are we truly happy with few worries?
Much has been talked about is the Royal Government of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index (GNH).
(click to see a bigger picture)
The GNH attempts to measure various aspects of living that influence an individual’s life and his/her interaction with the community and the environment. The nine domains include psychological well-being, health, community vitality, living standards, governance, environment diversity, culture, education, and time use. (See chart)
Notice that economic aspect of living (placed in living standard domain) is only a small part of the nine domains. The psychological well-being is an important domain and is measured. So in pursuit of happiness, one must go beyond money wealth. Let’s hope equal emphasis can be placed on all nine domains instead of just GDP pursuit.
More details of GNH index can be found in the “Short Guide to Gross National Happiness Index by The Centre for Bhutan Studies” with following web-address: http://www.grossnationalhappiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Short-GNH-Index-edited.pdf