The development philosophy of “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product” and was propounded by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan in the early 1970s. He realized that the existing development paradigm – Gross Domestic Product – did not consider the ultimate goal of human happiness.
GNH is a holistic and sustainable approach to development which balances between material and non-material values with the conviction that humans want to search for happiness. The objective of GNH is to achieve a balanced development in all facets of life which is essential to our happiness. The goal of GNH is happiness. One of several means to achieve this goal is sustainable economic growth. GNH is a unique approach to national and global development.
The concept of Gross National Happiness consists of four pillars: Fair socio-economic development (better education and health), conservation and promotion of a vibrant culture, environmental protection and good governance.
The four pillars are further elaborated into nine domains: psychological well-being; living standard; health; culture; education; community vitality; good governance; and balanced time use and ecological integration. In accordance with these nine domains, Bhutan has developed 38 sub-indexes, 72 indicators and 151 variables that are used to define and analyze the happiness of the Bhutanese people.