不丹:幸福胜过财富 1)Bhutan-Where Happiness 2)Outranks Wealth
What is happiness, really? In conventional development theory, it equals money and prosperity, as measured by 3)GNP (Gross National Product). But Bhutan, the famously remote and beautiful Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas, has been trying out a different concept. 4)Espoused by the country’s king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, its government has been using a standard called GNH, or Gross National Happiness. It has 5)underpinned the country’s approach to change and development.
After centuries of self-imposed isolation, in 1961, Bhutan opened its doors to the world. The Bhutanese quickly learnt that in the pursuit of economic prosperity, many countries had lost their cultural identities, as well as their spirituality, and 6)compromised their environments. From a Buddhist perspective the burst of consumer-driven, economic growth, and consequently the explosion of affluence in industrialized nations, had resulted in widespread spiritual poverty. It was a clear message to the Bhutanese that economic growth alone did not bring contentment.
However, the government also knew that change was inevitable. So Bhutan had to come up with a different approach to development—something that would monitor and regulate the nature and pace of change without compromising the essence of its citizens’ well-being. Thus, GNH was born. GNH, according to the Center of Bhutan Studies in the capital, Thimphu, is not against change. It 7)propounds development by balancing economic development, preservation of the environment, and religious-cultural heritage. The underlying message is that the country should not sacrifice elements important for people’s happiness to gain material development. In short, GNH 8)takes into account not just the flow of money, but also access to healthcare, free time with family, conservation of natural resources, and other non-economic factors.
In 1998, Bhutan’s Prime Minister, Jigmi Thinley, identified the “Four Pillars” of GNH, which today form the overall guiding principle for development in Bhutan. The first is sustainable and equitable socio-economic development. This stresses the improvement of physical, intellectual, social, and economic health through services such as health, education, trade and commerce, road and bridge construction, employment, urban development, and housing. As a result, education and health were provided free of cost to all Bhutanese even though the country was still poor. The second pillar is conservation of the environment. Only 16% of Bhutan’s land is 9)arable, so there is pressure to 10)fell trees and sell timber. But the law requires that the proportion of tree cover must not be less than 65%. At present about 72% of Bhutan is forest. The hydropower projects—main drivers of the country’s economy—are mostly “run-of-the-river” schemes which 11)pose far less impact on the environment, and far less human displacement, than would huge dams. The third pillar is preservation and promotion of culture. The Bhutanese government views this as a crucial strategy to preserve the country’s sovereignty. It has implemented policies that conserve and promote Bhutanese religion, language and literature, art and architecture, performing arts, national dress, traditional 12)etiquette, and sports and recreation. For instance, the government requires all Bhutanese to wear traditional dress to offices, temples, and official 13)functions. And the last pillar is good governance. The Bhutanese believe that good governance is vital for the happiness of the people.
While this novel approach to development is still very much a work in progress, importantly, it is today serving as a 14)catalyst for broader discussions worldwide on happiness—15)stoking ideas about whether governments and peoples should accept happiness as a legitimate and measurable pursuit. Across the world an increasing number of bureaucrats, economists, corporate leaders, and social scientists are discussing the subject.
“Happiness, as we learn in Buddhism, can only come from within the self, through the understanding of one’s own mind. So GNH is the responsibility of the state to create the right environment where the citizen can seek and find that happiness,” said Kinley Dorji, editor-in-chief of Kuensel, Bhutan’s national newspaper.
That said, GNH does not ignore economic development, according to the Center for Bhutan Studies. On the contrary, economic development planning is critical, but as only one means by which happiness should be achieved. Renata Dessallien, the Resident Coordinator for UN agencies in Bhutan, recently stated, “GNH 16)encapsulates both the quantity and quality of development or ‘progress’. 17)GDP is a quantitative measure only, measuring as it does both ‘goods and bads’. ” For example, Ms. Dessallien argued, “when a sick man receives medication and health care, the GDP increases whether the man recovers or not. But GNH is not only interesting because of its combination of the quantitative and the qualitative, it also conjures up deep philosophical questions on the essence of happiness. And it allows for a relative definition of happiness, according to each person’s perspective.”
According to her, GNH could provide a practical alternative to the present global development 18)paradigm, which seems continually to confuse means with ends. Indeed, Bhutan has begun work to determine the statistical indicators and 19)indices to measure GNH. Nine 20)provisional GNH indicators have been identified: standard of living; health of population; education; vitality and diversity of ecosystem; cultural vitality and diversity; use and balance of time; good governance; community vitality; and emotional well-being. According to the head of the Center of Bhutan Studies, Karma Ura, these indicators would be made meaningful in order to drive, guide, and evaluate the policies, decisions, and performance of the government.
Recently at the GNH international seminar held in 21)Nova Scotia, Canada, two American scientists asked if Bhutan was feeling the weight of the responsibility for GNH. Mr. Thinley—now home and culture minister—said that while Bhutan was under pressure to make GNH work domestically, it did not promise GNH as a solution or formula for everyone. “That will be your responsibility,” he said. “You will have to make GNH work your own way.”