Can Bhutan balance happiness and growth?

Can Bhutan balance happiness and growth?

THIMPHU (Reuters) – It is a sign of the times for Bhutan that a $9 million McKinsey consultancy report to find ways to accelerate Bhutan’s economic growth has sparked soul-searching among this isolated and mostly conservative people.

For this is a nation famed for being guided by Gross National Happiness, an economic measurement that takes into account indicators ignored by conventional GDP, from recreational time, to forest cover and emotions like anger and envy.

Unnoticed by much of the outside world, Bhutan’s new democracy is aiming at a breakneck economic expansion in the next decade of 9 percent a year that would put it on par with the growth ambitions of its huge neighbors India and China.

The question for many in Bhutan is how its “don’t worry, be happy” philosophy is compatible with boosting tourism fourfold, building new roads and massive hydroelectric power projects – some being planned with the help of a multinational consultancy.

Is economic growth compatible with maintaining a focus on happiness and wellbeing? If you’d like to read more – click here