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Butan’s Gross National Happiness Index and Bernanke

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Centre for Bhutan Studies, developed a sophisticated survey called the Butan’s Gross National Happiness Index which is an  instrument to measure the population’s general level of well-being.

The Butan’s Gross National Happiness Index was brought up by Federal Reserve Chairmen, Ben Bernanke  during his talk at a research  conference covering economic measurements where he did not  report on the economy, or outlook of monetary policy or the recent positive  jobs data.

“Beneficial development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other.”  is suggested by Bhutanese Buddhist ideals  about the GNH index.

Bernanke said there have been interesting developments in the field of the measurement of economic well-being. He cited the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan’s GNH index, which incorporates indicators such as level of education and time spent in leisure activities, as an example of an alternative survey

“Even though some key aggregate metrics — including consumer spending, disposable income, household net worth, and debt service payments — have moved in the direction of recovery, it is clear that many individuals and households continue to struggle with difficult economic and financial conditions,” Bernanke said in prepared text.

“There are limits to the satisfaction economic growth by itself provides,” said Pavan K Verma, India’s ambassador to Bhutan and a leading social commentator.

“There’s a search to look beyond material fulfilment. There are many aspects of social life in countries as diverse as China and the United Kingdom which are falling apart, like family relations and community life. It is becoming an atomised, individualistic world. The Gross National Happiness looks at the quality of life, how much leisure time you have, what’s happening in your community, and how integrated you feel with your culture.”

The four pillars of GNH are the promotion of sustainable development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment, and establishment of good governance.

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