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Differences between gross domestic product and gross national happiness

Spanish From gross domestic product to gross national happiness Happiness, a word that everybody possibly understands and has experienced at some point, is also a factor that is gaining popularity as a measurement of success for both governments and businesses.

But happiness… What does it have to do with success? We live in a capitalist economic system in which the whole world is pursuing growth.

From gross domestic product to gross national happiness

The Limits of Growth Meadow et al. Luckily, a new vision of the purpose of development is already challenging this economic growth paradigm.

The human development approach, which understands people as the ends of development, considers economic growth to be one of the means to achieve human potential instead of being the main goal. Therefore, this shift of unit of measurement — from economic to human — makes progress to be reconceived as sustainable.

But, can it be implemented into our actual governance and policy making? Therefore, policy information should be better in order to direct policy towards this sustainable development vision in order to change social and cultural norms.

Gross National Product or Gross National Happiness? Inside Bhutan’s Unique Index

Bhutan, the country that rejected GDP as the only measure of progress Bhutan — a tiny country located at the foothills of Himalaya, between its powerful neighbours, China and India — is the real illustration of Meadows et al.

For the last thirty years, Bhutanese prosperity has been measured through Gross National Happiness GNHwhere the new vision that is supported by GNH indicators, and social and cultural norms coexist and reinforce that vision. So the concept of happiness does not only involve a personal stable feeling but a broader set of components that could be expressed as wellbeing.

For the past three decades, this belief of wellbeing as a preferable measure of progress over material growth, has been globally perceived quite odd.

Gross National Happiness versus Gross Domestic Product:

Bhutan, the mirror for the entire world Since 2011, the UN, endorsed by 68 countries, has been considering ways to replicate the Bhutanese model worldwide by searching for a new approach to development where the pursuit of happiness is considered a fundamental human goal. The 2013 report revealed very interesting results as the population-weighted average only scored of 5. This score indicates that we should keep working on this new vision of growth and development at a fast speed.

However, it also proves the growing concern about happiness among leaders, which raises the following question: If more leaders are paying attention to happiness, should companies also consider happiness as a measure of success?

  1. To calculate the GNH index, the following steps are taken. Their methodology, the Alkire-Foster method, has previously been used successfully in evaluating multidimensional poverty.
  2. Therefore, policy information should be better in order to direct policy towards this sustainable development vision in order to change social and cultural norms. It has been proved that those companies having happier staff achieve less periods of sick leave, and more engaged, creative and collaborative employees which will have a direct positive impact on production.
  3. The institute's work also encompasses policy responses for those who face continued poverty and financial crises despite worldwide economic growth. That is why the government of Bhutan developed the Gross National Happiness index.
  4. From these indicators, a single number is calculated by the index.
  5. But, can it be implemented into our actual governance and policy making? Data gathered from the index can be effectively used to generate policy-relevant insights and analyses.

Companies are also on board During the last decades, a new trend has emerged: Companies play a crucial role in contributing to society. They do not only have an impact on their consumer wellbeing, production services and supply chain, but also on their staff, whose happiness and wellbeing are starting to be one of the measures of success.

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It has been proved that those companies having happier staff achieve less periods of sick leave, and more engaged, creative and collaborative employees which will have a direct positive impact on production. Thus, treating staff well is a key component to outperform competitors. Therefore, the signs of a rising aligned worldwide demand are starting to be a fact. We are not talking about a movement driven only by a tiny, mountainous and unconnected Asian country, but by many leaders, companies and citizens who feel that what really matters for a sustainable future is wellbeing.

How Useful are International Happiness Rankings? Elsevier [online] Available from: Sustainable Development Solutions Network [Online].