27 Sep '11, 2am

In its quest to boost 'gross national happiness', Bhutan banned the sale of cigarettes

The small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is known internationally for two things: High visa fees, which reduce the influx of tourists, and its policy of promoting "gross national happiness" instead of economic growth. The two are related: More tourists might boost the economy but they would damage Bhutan's environment and culture, and so reduce happiness in the long run. When I first heard of Bhutan's goal of maximising its people's happiness, I wondered if it really meant anything in practice or was just another political slogan. Last month, when I was in the capital, Thimphu, to speak at a conference on "Economic Development and Happiness", organised by Prime Minister Jigme Thinley and co-hosted by Mr Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and special adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, I learned that it is much more than ...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/Commentary/EDC110927-0000238/H...

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