In today’s class, we have mentioned GNH as a potential substitute for GDP. GDP has failed to measure whether activities are good or bad due to its only focus on economy. For example, natural disasters could contribute to the GDP growth since it stimulates economic activities such as increasing demands for construction.
By contrast, GNH has become a more comprehensive indicator since it draws upon a broader set of social, environmental and health measurement. One of the GNH creators Lyonpo Jigmi Thinley mentions” we have to think of human well-being in boarder terms. Material well-being is only one component. That does not ensure that you are at peace with your environment and in harmony with each other.”
In detail, GNH aims to evaluate sustainability, wellbeing and quality of life. Its measurements include the value of voluntary work and unpaid housework, natural capital such as energy, air and water quality, sustainable transportation, levels of health and education, crime, pollution and recycling levels.
However, GNH has its own limitations. Certain elements such as happiness from love is hard to be measured by a quantify method; also people have different perceptions towards what happiness really means to them. In addition, GNH is only an indication and does not solve the real problems. For example, after releasing GNH in Bhutan, the country still faces challenges such as poverty and alcoholism.
In my opinion, GNH is a valid substitution towards GDP. However, its measurements need to be constantly improved.