Gross National Happiness, or GNH, is a holistic and sustainable approach to development, which balances material and non-material values with the conviction that humans want to search for happiness. The objective of GNH is to achieve a balanced development in all the facets of life that are essential; for our happiness.
Boundless consumerism, widening socio-economic inequality and instability is causing rapid natural resource depletion and degradation. Climate change, species extinction, multiple crises, growing insecurity, instability and conflicts are not only diminishing our well-being but are also threatening our very survival.
Today, it is inconceivable for modern society to function without the business of commerce, finance, industry or trade. These very factors are altering human destiny by the day in extraordinary ways, both positive and negative. GNH directly addresses such global, national and individual challenges by pointing to the non-material roots of well- being and offering ways to balance and satisfy the dual needs of the human being within the limits of what nature can provide on a sustainable basis.
The concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) was promulgated by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan in the early 1970s. When His Majesty spoke about GNH at the time, he questioned the prevailing measurement system that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) alone could deliver happiness and well-being to society. He was still a teenage monarch, and wise beyond his years. His Majesty firmly believed that happiness is an indicator, and a sign of progressive development for the Bhutanese people. He also believed in the legitimacy of public discussion in defining Bhutan’s development goals.