Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happiness and public policy

My forum post elsewhere, reproduced here for your reading pleasure (or at any rate, at my own whim):

For many years, it has been Bhutan's official policy to place happiness above economic prosperity. Religious/spiritual influence on public policy is an interesting feature of Bhutanese governance.

According to a PBS report:

  • 95 per cent of Bhutanese exchange students return to their home country because they like it there.
  • A 1995 law mandates that 60 percent of Bhutan's land must remain forested (while another 26 percent is already protected as parkland)
  • Bhutan spends almost 18 percent of national budget on education and health care (compared with only 2 to 3 percent for China)
Here's the Bhutanese prime minister on his country's vision of economic development. More official documents here.

The one set of traffic lights Bhutan ever had was on this junction. But people found them frustrating, so they went back to a human being. Here are more glimpses of Bhutan's happiness policy in action.


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