Crisis Is Chance for West to Embrace _ãÄHappiness_ã_

Crisis Is Chance for West to Embrace _ãÄHappiness_ã_

By Steve Scherer

June 7 (Bloomberg) — The global economic crisis provides industrialized countries with an opportunity to change the way they measure the success of their economies, said Bhutan_ã_s prime minister, Jigme Y. Thinley.

Bhutan, with a population of less than 700,000 sandwiched between China and India, uses an index called _ã–Gross National Happiness_㝠to measure the success of its economy. The use of gross domestic product, which is an aggregate index used by industrialized nations to gauge the value of a country_ã_s goods and services, promotes unsustainable development, he said.

_ã–The global economic crisis is reviving discussion about the tools and objectives of the West_ã_s economic growth model,_㝠Thinley said in an interview in Trento, Italy, on June 5. _ã–The way we live, based on the GDP-led growth model, is just not sustainable. We are robbing our children_ã_s children of what is rightly their share of the natural resources._ã

French President Nicolas Sarkozy last year asked Nobel economists Joseph E. Stiglitz of Columbia University and Amartya Sen of Harvard University to head a commission that aimed to come up with an index taking into account quality of life, the environment and education. The commission_ã_s September report urged world leaders to drop an obsession for focusing on GDP in favor of broader measures of prosperity.

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