Gross national happiness

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Slogan about Gross National Happiness in Thimphu's School of Traditional Arts.

Gross national happiness (GNH; Wylie: gyal-yong ga'a-kyid pal-'dzoms) was designed in an attempt to define an indicator and concept that measures quality of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms than only the economic indicator of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GNH has only been officially used in Bhutan, where a Gross National Happiness Commission is charged reviewing policy decisions and allocation of resources.


  • Today, there is an increasing need for an integrated solution to problems and GNH provides a systematic approach. In a world drenched with materialism, the human heart yearns for something beyond material possessions, and that is one of the reasons that GNH is attracting so many people.
  • The pursuit of happiness is a deeply moral obligation, on both the personal and the national level... we have the right to pursue happiness. But we also have an ethical responsibility to exercise that right, and to guide our values, policies, and politics as a nation in a way that makes it possible for our fellow-citizens and those around the world to pursue happiness as well.
  • The Gross National Happiness Index is often used by cities, campuses, communities, companies and other groups to assess their area or group's well-being.
  • To help the government in its meaningful work to achieve Bhutan’s development goal of Gross National Happiness and to continue the development success the country has achieved so far, the Bhutan Foundation aligns its programs to support initiatives under all four pillars of GNH.
  • Since 1971, the country [Bhutan] has rejected GDP as the only way to measure progress. In its place, it has championed a new approach to development, which measures prosperity through formal principles of gross national happiness (GNH) and the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment.
    • Annie Kelly, in "Gross national happiness in Bhutan: the big idea from a tiny state that could change the world.
  • This remote kingdom, a place of ancient monasteries, fluttering prayer flags and staggering natural beauty. Less than 40 years ago, Bhutan opened its borders for the first time. Since then, it has gained an almost mythical status as a real-life Shangri-La, largely for its determined and methodical pursuit of the most elusive of concepts – national happiness.
    • Annie Kelly, in "Gross national happiness in Bhutan: the big idea from a tiny state that could change the world.
  • The level and extent of global interest in Gross National Happiness in the wake of the General Assembly resolution and the Bhutan-sponsored High Level Meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York on April 2, 2012 have been truly astounding and inspiring as well as deeply humbling. Some of the finest minds in the world today are engaged in exploring and understanding the scope and sweep of this revolutionary ideal of human well-being and societal progress.
  • Gross National Happiness is a function of personal decisions and individual actions as surely as little drops of water make the mighty ocean. Gross National Happiness is more than an antidote to Gross National Product. It is an anodyne that can heal the wounds of our ailing planet and still the tooth that nibbles at the soul.
  • Gross National Happiness’ is one of the most beautiful and inclusive expressions in the corpus of the 21st century sustainable development discourse. Today, GNH is more than a confluence of three loaded terms that define the vision of one country. It carries a meaning that is universal in scope and compelling in relevance.

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