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Gross National Happiness

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Gross National Happiness:

The Logical Next Step Forward from a Country Two Steps Back

For years now, the sole representation of a country's market standing was shown by their gross domestic product, or GDP. Developed in America in the 1930's, GDP is the measure of the market value of all goods and services produced within an economy. It was developed by means of measuring national income and output on a more accurate scale. However, it is facing heavy criticism in the changing world.

French President Nikolas Sarkozy believes that the GDP calculations are lacking very significant factors that should be included. He, along with others, stated that the quality of life and the environment must be taken into account as well. Sarkozy had previously organized a panel of top economists of whom he presented the task of reviewing the adequacy of the current GDP calculations. When they presented their report, they concluded that "GDP was insufficient and that measures of sustainability and human well-being should be included.

Personally, I would have to agree. Countries work on much more than imports and exports and produced goods and services. It is fair to say that a country whose overall social well-being and environmental variables are low, the country as a whole is probably lacking. Most countries should follow the example that Bhutan, a technologically inept Himalayan Kingdom, is setting. Not only is Bhutan choosing to focus on "Gross National Happiness", but it seems to actually be working. As a whole, its people are loving, friendly, and most importantly - happy. Bhutan is also one of the only countries in the world that can boast that their overall forest and tree population is increasing steadily on an annual basis. Most amazingly Are these not significant factors when assessing a country's overall well-being? I think so, and with those factors included, I could easily foresee the push by many countries to improve its state for the citizens that live there.



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