Lives in balance: In Bhutan, happiness trumps wealth

From the Register-Mail:

The secretary of the Ministry of Health in Bhutan, whose daughter attends Knox College, thinks everyone could take a lesson from his country’s focus on balance.

Dr. Gado Tshering says the Bhutanese concept of Gross National Happiness has helped its people weather the economic downturn now gripping much of the world. His daughter, Tashi Ongmo, is a first-year student at Knox.

“It was the fourth king, 20 years ago, that taught about the GNH,” he said. “The happiness of the people is important, not only the economic wealth. It became a philosophy which, ultimately, we in the country of Bhutan said, ‘Let’s make it a policy.’”

The GNH is based on a balance among four pillars: social/cultural preservation, environmental preservation, good governance and economic growth.

No one of the pillars is more important, Tshering says, and a change in one area is examined in light of the other three.