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Cherry Picking in Bhutan

Keywords: Happiness , Economics

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Abstract:

Material well-being clearly contributes to happiness, yet we are all aware that a state of happiness lies much deeper. Paradoxically, happiness actually lies deeper than many of the important social andnon-material considerations that are excluded by conventional economics and embraced by GNH. Ultimately, happiness is a matter of perception; a state of mind; a fact that is fully acknowledged by Buddhism and other world faiths.What this paper focuses on is the way that orthodox economic policies can erode and destroy the happiness of a society and its people. It also outlines a range of economic policies and ethics that have the potential to provide a structure within which GNH might be more effectively created. This is by avoiding some of the mistakes of orthodoxy, and considering alternative ‘New Economic’ policies that provide room for the many subtle elements that contribute to GNH to emerge.The aim is to try to add to the debate in the following ways:1) Draw attention to important economic considerationsomitted from orthodox economics, which are embracedby the concept of Gross National Happiness2) Highlight the flaws in conventional economic policiesand institutions that can erode Gross NationalHappiness and disadvantage developing or smallernations, such as Bhutan3) Emphasise the dangers faced by small nations such asBhutan in their engagement in the global economy4) Outline the wide range of economic policies that mightameliorate the impact of the global economy and Chris Enthoven (ed) Gross National Happiness, Gross National Product - A meeting between two cultures, Ecooperation, 2001.5) Discuss the potential application and relevance of thesepolicies to key economic and social sectors in Bhutan

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