There is a very good article in this month’s National Geographic about the small Himilayan nation of Bhutan and their quest to modernize yet keep tradition intact. This tiny country has managed to remain very isolated from the rest of the world. The countries King came up with the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH). I think this is brilliant and where else would it come from but a Budhist country. In the past I have stated that the poorer countries of the world, that we call “less developed” are really the “developed countries” and when I say that I am referring to GNH not GNP. Material wealth does not bring happiness. In the article it states referring to GNH:
For many Bhutanese, this idea is not merely a marketing tool or a utopian philosophy. It is their blueprint for survival. Guided by the “four pillars of Gross National Happiness”—sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation, and good governance.
Bhutan has done a remarkable job of raising its GNH by applying the above mentioned pillars. Now the King has taken a major step by handing over power to an elected Parliament. What I find funny is that many of the Bhutanese do not want a democracy. They love their King and see no reason for the system to change. This is one of the reasons I believe that if you have a good king, monarchism is a superior way of governance. Of course that’s a big “if”, but people are naturally inclined towards having a ruler they love and respect and if this ruler maintains policies that keep the people happy, stable government will prevail. However, the article goes on to discuss the minority Nepali sector of Bhutanese citizenry that is often discriminated against. I wonder if they will be able to elect Nepali MPs. We will see.