Michael Pennock Biography & Facts
Gross National Happiness (GNH), sometimes called Gross Domestic Happiness (GDH), is a philosophy that guides the government of Bhutan. It includes an index which is used to measure the collective happiness and well-being of a population. Gross National Happiness Index is instituted as the goal of the government of Bhutan in the Constitution of Bhutan, enacted on 18 July 2008.
The advent and concept of "Gross National Happiness" (GNH) flourished and germinated in the mind of Compassionate Bodhisattva Druk Gyelpo, the 4th King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, groomed with the evolution of "Gaki Phuensum" (Peace and Prosperity) and Modernization period of Bhutan during the reign (1952 - 1972) of Druk Gyelpo, the 3rd King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.
The term "Gross National Happiness" as conceptualized by the 4th King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in 1972 was declared as, "Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product." The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing.In 2011, The UN General Assembly passed Resolution "Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development" urging member nations to follow the example of Bhutan and measure happiness and well-being and calling happiness a "fundamental human goal."In 2012, Bhutan's Prime Minister Jigme Thinley and the Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations convened the High Level Meeting: Well-being and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm to encourage the spread of Bhutan's GNH philosophy. At the High Level meeting, the first World Happiness Report was issued. Shortly afterward, the 20 March was declared to be International Day of Happiness by the UN in 2012 with resolution 66/28.Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay proclaimed a preference for focus on more concrete goals instead of promoting GNH when he took office, but subsequently has protected the GNH of his country and promoted the concept internationally. Other Bhutanese officials also promote the spread of GNH at the UN and internationally.
GNH is distinguishable from Gross Domestic Product by valuing collective happiness as the goal of governance, by emphasizing harmony with nature and traditional values as expressed in the 9 domains of happiness and 4 pillars of GNH. According to the Bhutanese government, the four pillars of GNH are:
sustainable and equitable socio-economic development;
preservation and promotion of culture; and
good governance.The nine domains of GNH are psychological well-being, health, time use, education, cultural diversity and resilience, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity and resilience, and living standards. Each domain is composed of subjective (survey-based) and objective indicators. The domains weigh equally but the indicators within each domain differ by weight.
Bhutanese GNH index
Several scholars have noted that "the values underlying the individual pillars of GNH are defined as distinctly Buddhist," and "GNH constructs Buddhism as the core of the cultural values of the country (of Bhutan). They provide the foundation upon which the GNH rests." GNH is thus seen as part of the Buddhist Middle Path, where "happiness is accrued from a balanced act rather than from an extreme approach."
Implementation in Bhutan
The body charged with implementing GNH in Bhutan is the Gross National Happiness Commission. The GNH Commission is composed of the Prime Minister as the Chairperson, Secretaries of each of the ministries of the government, and the Secretary of the GNH Commission. The GNH Commission's tasks include conceiving and implementing the nation's 5-year plan and promulgating policies. The GNH Index is used to measure the happiness and well-being of Bhutan's population. A GNH Policy Screening Tool and a GNH Project Screening Tool is used by the GNH commission to determine whether to pass policies or implement projects. The GNH Screening tools are used by the Bhutanese GNH Commission for anticipating the impact of policy initiatives upon the levels of GNH in Bhutan.In 2008, the first Bhutanese GNH survey was conducted. It was followed by a second one in 2010. The third nationwide survey was conducted in 2015. The GNH survey covers all twenty districts (Dzonkhag) and results are reported for varying demographic factors such as gender, age, abode, and occupation. The first GNH surveys consisted of long questionnaires that polled the citizens about living conditions and religious behavior, including questions about the times a person prayed in a day and other karma indicators. It took several hours to complete one questionnaire. Later rounds of the GNH Index were shortened, but the survey retained the religious behavioral indicators.The Bhutan GNH Index was developed by the Centre for Bhutan Studies with the help of Oxford University researchers to help measure the progress of Bhutanese society. The Index's function was based on the Alkire & Foster method of 2011. After the creation of the GNH Index, the government used the metric to measure national progress and inform policy.The Bhutan GNH Index is considered to measure societal progress similarly to other models such as the OECD Better Life Index of 2011, and SPI Social Progress Index of 2013. One feature distinguishing Bhutan's GNH Index from the other models is that the other models are designed for secular governments and do not include religious behavior measurement components.
The data is used to compare happiness among different groups of citizens, and changes over time.According to the World Happiness Report 2019, Bhutan is 95th out of 156 countries.The holistic consideration of multiple factors through the GNH approach has been cited as impacting Bhutan's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, a shortened version of Bhutan's GNH survey was used by the local government, local foundations and governmental agencies under the leadership of Martha and Michael Pennock to assess the population of Victoria.In the state of São Paulo, Brazil, Susan Andrews, through her organization Future Vision Ecological Park, used a version of Bhutan's GNH at a community level in some cities.In Seattle, Washington, United States, a version of the GNH Index was used by the Seattle City Council and Sustainable Seattle to assess the happiness and well-being of the Seattle Area population. Other cities and areas in North America, including Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Creston, British Columbia and the U.S. state of Vermont, also used a version of the GNH Index.The state of Vermont's Governor declared April 13 (President Jefferson's birthday) "Pursuit of Happiness Day", and became the first state to pass legislation enabling development of alternative indicators and to assist in making policy. The University of.... Discover the Michael Pennock popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Michael Pennock books.