Next week Bhutan will host a high level conference at the United Nations in New York with the hope of placing happiness, rather than growth, at the heart of the economy. By Jo Confino from guardian.co.uk on March 29. Helena Norberg-Hodge, the founder of ISEC and co-director of “The Economics of Happiness” will be attending the meeting in New York.
We have seen the power of disruptive technologies and companies, but are we now witnessing the birth of disruptive countries?
The world’s industrial powers, like major companies, are locked into the current destructive economic system and are unwilling to make more than incremental changes to address the enormous ecological and social challenges of our age.
But coming to their rescue is the tiny Himalyan kingdom of Bhutan, which has a population of just 700,000. Bhutan, the only country that measures its progress by the level of happiness among its citizens, will next week host a conference at the United Nations in New York, with a grand ambition in mind.
It is seeking to convince the world to radically change global politics and economics, placing the emphasis on happiness and wellbeing, rather than growth.
“It may not be appropriate for a little country like Bhutan to dare to offer advice to the world,” says the government before doing just that. “Continuous economic growth and expansion in our finite world is not a must. In fact, this global economic slowdown presents a great opportunity to give nature a rest … to reduce stress, to have more free time, to become more secure and self-reliant, and to improve the quality of our lives.”