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Turkish fast food: Real food fast

The definition of ‘fast food’ according to the Wikipedia is food cooked in build and in advance, kept warm or re-heated to order....

Slow Fish a great success

Slow Food in collaboration with the region of Liguria, has just finished celebr4ating the event Slow Fish 2007. It was a great success with 42,000 visitors, a much higher number than expected. ...

National Sea Change Task Force urges more flood studies

ABC Wed Jul 11 07 The Mayor of Maroochy Shire on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Joe Natoli, says it could be another 12 months before the CSIRO is able to undertake a flood modelling study in the Sunshine Coast region because the research body is under-funded. ...

Treechangers change country culture

An influx of treechangers into a rural community can keep population levels steady but it can change the needs and expectations within the community. ...

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Gross National Happiness - development that makes sense

In the West we are bombarded daily with messages that tell us if we want happiness and fulfilment we need to have more money and a higher standard of living.  Success is measured by material affluence and people seen to be insatiable in their quest for happiness through consumerism. Happiness
The increasing preoccupation with consumerism and the money necessary to be a consumer, is mirrored at the national level where governments measure the countries level of development through GNP (Gross National Product) and GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Both of these terms refer to dollar value of products and services.

Instead of GNP or GDP, the King of Bhutan developed, more than 30 years ago, a more meaningful indicator of the country’s wellbeing, the GNH – Gross National Happiness indicator.  It is rooted in the Buddhist idea that the ultimate purpose of life is inner happiness. Bhutan places happiness at the very centre of development and public policy.  In doing this, the country places the conventional yardstick for measuring economic development and growth, the quantitative measure of GNP.

GNH is seen as a holistic, multidimensional measure of gross national happiness, which is achieved through economic development, environmental preservation, cultural promotion and good governance. Happiness
These four goals are seen to be mutually-linked, complementary, and consistent. In other words, the goal of development in Bhutan is to maximise happiness while balancing economic progress with the spiritual and emotional well-being of the people.

Inspired by Buddhist values, Gross National Happiness does not strive for the immediate satisfaction of the individual. Instead it tries to create conditions in which negativities, such as great disparities of income or employment or housing across segments of society, are reduced.  The sort of happiness that is referred to in GNH lies in an inherent respect for the harmony between all sentient beings combined with the resolution of the negativities or disparities.

Although it was the King Lyponpo Jigme Thinley who formalised his country’s focus on GNH rather than GDP, Happiness
this theme has historical depth in Bhutan. The country’s Buddhist status and its centuries-long isolation has resulted in the particular pattern of beliefs and values that now embody national values, aesthetics, and spiritual traditions, and that are embodied in gross national happiness.

The idea of Gross National Happiness as an indicator of development calls into question the entire fundament of the mainstream western development model, which is based on capitalism and free-market enterprise.

Bhutan sends us all a reminder that development can be based on non-material values, such as cultural, spiritual, social and environmental values.