woodworking plans logo1
woodworking plans logo2
woodworking plans logo3
woodworking plans logo1
> Plans (Alphabetized)
> Plans (by Category)
> Tips
> What's New
> My Newsletter
> Search The Site
> Help
> Other Web Links
> Add Your Link
 
woodworking plans logo2
> Quick Projects
> My Tips
> My Picks
> Guestbook

Editorial - NY Times
Net National Happiness
Published: October 6, 2005

Does the United States strike you as a happy country? July 1776, when Thomas Jefferson claimed the pursuit of happiness as a basic human right, might have been the last time that happiness was officially proposed as a national objective. But in Bhutan - as reported in the Science Times on Tuesday - the question of national happiness is still up for discussion, thanks to a monarch who insisted, nearly a generation ago, that gross national happiness is more important than gross national product.

An economic cynic may argue that a country with a gross national product as small as Bhutan's can well afford to worry about its gross national happiness, and that the best way to increase G.N.H. is by increasing G.N.P. But that is essentially an untested assertion, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it isn't necessarily true. Our sense of happiness is created by many things that are not easily measured in purely economic terms, including a sense of community and purpose, the amount and content of our leisure and even our sense of the environmental and ecological stability of the world around us.

To talk about gross national happiness may sound purely pie in the sky, partly because we have been taught to believe that happiness is essentially a personal emotion, not an attribute of a community or a country. But thinking of happiness as a quotient of cultural and environmental factors might help us understand the growing disconnect between America's prosperity and Americans' sense of well-being.

Some sociologists worry that the effort to quantify happiness may actually impair the pursuit of happiness. But there's another way to consider it. The world looks the way it does - as if it is being devoured by some grievous species - partly because of narrow economic assumptions that govern the behavior of corporations and nations. Those assumptions usually exclude, for instance, the costs of environmental, social or cultural damage. A clearer understanding of what makes humans happy - not merely more eager consumers or more productive workers - might help begin to reshape those assumptions in a way that has a measurable and meliorating outcome on the lives we lead and the world we live in.

Valid HTML 4.0!


About this site   |  
Copyright 1995-2009 The3house, Inc. All Rights Reserved.