Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a concept that measures the quality of life and well-being of a country’s citizens in a broader sense than traditional economic indicators like Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It was introduced by the King of Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in the 1970s, as a way to prioritize holistic development over purely economic factors.

Key features of Gross National Happiness:

1. **Multi-Dimensional Approach:**
– GNH takes into account various dimensions of well-being, including psychological well-being, health, education, time use, cultural diversity and resilience, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity and resilience, and living standards.

2. **Four Pillars of GNH:**
– The GNH framework is based on four pillars:
– **Sustainable and equitable socio-economic development:** Focusing on economic growth that benefits all segments of society.
– **Conservation of the environment:** Promoting environmentally sustainable practices.
– **Preservation and promotion of culture:** Recognizing the importance of cultural heritage and traditions.
– **Good governance:** Emphasizing the need for an effective and transparent government.

3. **Nine Domains:**
– These are further broken down into nine domains:
– Psychological well-being
– Health
– Education
– Time use
– Cultural diversity and resilience
– Good governance
– Community vitality
– Ecological diversity and resilience
– Living standards

4. **Measurement:**
– Bhutanese authorities conduct surveys to measure the happiness and well-being of citizens. These surveys take into account both subjective and objective indicators.

5. **Government Policy:**
– Bhutan has incorporated the GNH principles into its constitution, and the government uses it as a guiding philosophy for policymaking. Policies are evaluated based on their impact on GNH.

6. **International Recognition:**
– The concept of GNH has gained attention internationally, and some organizations and countries have adopted similar frameworks to assess well-being beyond economic indicators.

7. **Critiques:**
– While GNH is praised for its holistic approach, it has also faced critiques. Some argue that the subjective nature of happiness makes it difficult to measure accurately and that it may not provide a clear guide for policy decisions.

8. **Global Happiness Reports:**
– Organizations such as the United Nations release Global Happiness Reports, which rank countries based on various indicators of well-being. Bhutan often performs well in these reports.

Gross National Happiness represents a departure from conventional economic metrics, emphasizing the importance of non-economic factors in assessing a nation’s overall well-being. It has sparked interest in discussions about alternative models for measuring progress and development beyond GDP.