Monday, September 14, 2009

Bhutan's Constitution

At first glance, this article looks like an easy cheap shot at happiness research-- maybe something to the effect of "Hey, this makes as much sense as any happiness research out there!" or "Note to self: include "trees" variable in all future happiness regressions." But then along comes this beauty of a line, emphasis added:

Bhutan's constitution, which emphasises the importance of Gross National Happiness over Gross Domestic Product, stipulates the country must have at least 60 percent forest cover.


Here's the home page for the Constitution of Bhutan. Note that their Constitution has a comments section; this one of the five best things I've heard this year. My happiness increased.

Their Constitution was passed in 2008. "Happiness" comes up once in the Preamble and twice in the Articles of the Bhutan Constitution, and then once more when the Bhutan National Anthem is written out; the word does not appear in the U.S. Constitution, and comes up only 40 times in the entirety of the Federalist Papers.

From the Bhutan Constitution:

Article 9 - Principles of State Policy: "The State shall strive to promote those conditions that will enable the pursuit of Gross National Happiness."

Article 20 - The Executive: "The Government shall protect and strengthen the sovereignty of the Kingdom, provide good governance, and ensure peace, security, well-being and happiness of the people."

Bhutan is not currently rated in the Economic Freedom of the World rankings; generally that is not a good sign. (The 2009 rankings just came out today, by the way.) Their GDP per capita is about $5000. India finances almost 60% of their public sector activity. Their population is roughly that of Alaska's and, in terms of land area, are slightly larger than Maryland. Archery is the national sport and the only Olympic sport in which the country has participated, and darts and cricket are popular as well.


Justin M Ross said...

"The State shall strive to promote those conditions that will enable the pursuit of Gross National Happiness."

Sends shivers down my spine it does!

Anonymous said...

time will say everything i guess ,,,,, just pray that good happens with those who makes an effort to do sth good :)

generic viagra online said...

This is really good because I agree that 60 percent forest cover being protected, all these things are incredible because it makes that the happiness increase.m10m

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