Last updated: 22 Nov 2011 at 12:20
gross national happiness explained
Last month, Alison and I attended a “Happiness at work” conference in the Cotswold Conference Center.
We had heard about the concept of Happiness as government policy for a couple of years. Much has happened since the King of Bhutan launched this concept based on the principle that every human being aspires for happiness, so governments should be measured on how well they contribute to happiness.
In July this year, the UN General Assembly called on United Nations Member States to undertake steps that give more importance to happiness and well-being in determining how to achieve and measure social and economic development.
In November 2010, UK Prime Minister David Cameron declares to make happiness the new GDP and acts on his pledge to find out what makes the nation content.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy is leading the way. One year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Sarkozy launched an inquiry into happiness, commissioning Nobel prize-winning academics Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen to look at how the relentless search for a rise in GDP sometimes trampled over a government’s other goals, such as sustainability and work-life balance.
These examples suggest that we can expect a tremendous increase in the focus on happiness by governments, corporations and multinational organisations.
Personally, I believe that happiness is the future, as it is a dimension that embraces wellbeing in many aspects. Social, economical, physical, spiritual dimensions are all covered with the term happiness. I have reason to believe that happiness will replace profit as the only corporate goal during my life time. GDP as the only measurement of success will soon be a thing of the past.
That’s why we at Urban Healing create tools for companies and individuals to help make behavioural changes that lead to sustainable happiness.