Gross National Happiness (GNH): Bhutan’s development philosophy

Gross National Happiness has been broadly defined as a framework to promote those conditions that will enable people to be happy. The GNH experts in Bhutan have identified 9 domains of GNH index, 33 indicators and 124 variables (2010 GNH index). The basic premise of Gross National Happiness (GNH) suggests that humankind DSC_0026prospers only when spiritual and material development go side by side complementing and reinforcing each other. The idea of Gross National Happiness (GNH), indeed the term itself, was coined by Bhutan’s fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the early 1970s. In offering this concept, the King signaled his commitment to building the Bhutanese economy so as to respectfully serve Bhutan’s historical culture and unique identity based on Buddhist spiritual values. The concept was developed in an attempt to create an indicator that measures quality of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms as opposed to the oft-referenced Gross Domestic Product (GDP).