Gross National Product or Gross National Happiness
It will not be a matter for an ace economist or even a budding economic graduate to gauge the nation’s growth through its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A vintage multiple, GDP has long been used to forecast the productivity of a nation by summing the amount of goods and services produced by a nation during the year. Ironically, this economic multiple has the biggest flaw: It only measures money. We believe that our generation knows least about the Great Depression so let us propose our ideas by citing the recent financial meltdown of 2007-08 when even the world’s biggest nations with strong GDP growth experienced the carnage, and raised a big question for everyone-Is it only the money that matters the most?
The second most intimidating instances that raised the concern of thinking only about GDP and associated green bills(money) is environmental concern in China, which ironically is the second biggest economy in the world. We are sure that the majority of us knows China as the biggest production hub and the nation with average GDP growth of 10% during the past decade. However, this all has come at the cost of environmental concern and deteriorating public concern. When we cited for the empirical evidence for how bad is the environmental degradation in China, here is what we found’’ China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, having overtaken the United States in 2007, and was responsible for the 27 percent of global emissions in 2014.’’
So once again, we quote ‘’ Is it only the money that matters the most?
The answer to this sensitive question is provided by Bhutan, who, unlike many nations has adopted Gross National Happiness(GNH) as its formal economic indicator. Ironically, Bhutan is a small nation with GDP less than $ 2billion(that must be less than what many American CEO’s have in their bank accounts), but what stand this nation unique from the rest of the nations is that it is carbon negative and is thus thriving aggressively in Gross National Happiness(GNH). Even though the nation formally adopted GDP in 2008 only, but the concept was proposed in 1971, and now since the world randomly witness collapsing financial systems, non-equal distributions and environmental destruction, the approach of adopting GNH as a measure of overall growth in the society is gaining global oddity. It is a no hidden fact that the level of GDP growth comes at the expense of natural resources and henceforth, GDP is not maximizing well being. Therefore, the world needs to shift their economic sense from the myopic view over Gross National Product(GDP) to Gross National Happiness(GNH).
Now, the point is what make Bhutan so different from the rest of the world. Here are some facts:
The nation generates 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide every year, but since 75 percent of their land is covered with forest, the forest covers sequesters more than three times of those carbon emissions. Therefore, Bhutan is net carbon negative for four million carbon dioxide every year.
The country is one the leading exporter of renewable electricity, which it generates from its river. Therefore, the country is thriving on the concept of clean energy and as per the nation’s forecasts, by 2020, the nation will be exporting enough electricity to offset 17 million tons of carbon dioxide and with harnessing of all the natural resources in an environmentally friendly way, Bhutan will be offsetting 50 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. Ironically, that is the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions of New York City alone every year.
But, for a nation doing so much for promoting environmental sustainability by turning out to be the exporting hub of renewable energy and promoting the aura of Gross National Happiness as a measure of citizen well-being, the rest of the world is doing injustice. Owing to the global warming associated with the increasing GDP growth of developed & developing nations, and because of the fact that it is close to China, Bhutan is witnessing the rapid meltdown of its glaciers, which is creating havoc in the nation. The point is: For a country which has been promoting the use of Gross National Happiness since more than three decades and which have contributed nothing in Global Warming, the rest of the world is doing injustice by focusing on Gross Domestic Product(GDP) and posing harm not only by affecting the health of their own citizens but also of nations such as Bhutan who have remained carbon neutral over the years.
Therefore, while we culminate this discussion, it is important to understand that economic well being should not be the only measure of development, in fact the ultimate goal should be economic development by preserving the culture and the efficiency of this pristine environment, and this is what Gross National Happiness Index promotes: ‘’Overall well-being of society’’. Hence, it is important that nations around the world adopt GNH as the measure of wellbeing and limit their focus on GDP, after all we all have a responsibility towards our Mother Nature.
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This country isnt carbon neutral but carbon negative. Dir. TED TALK. Perf. Tshering Togbay. 2016.
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