What we should all learn from the former king of Bhutan – leader comment

Money doesn't necessarily equal happiness (Picture: John Devlin)
Money doesn't necessarily equal happiness (Picture: John Devlin)
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In 1979, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the then 23-year-old king of Bhutan was in Bombay airport when he was asked by a journalist what his country’s Gross National Product was.

Wangchuck famously replied: “We do not believe in Gross National Product ... because Gross National Happiness is more important.”

While this remark was greeted with a certain degree of amused mockery in some quarters, he actually did the world a considerable favour.

Politicians of all parties have perhaps sometimes been guilty of neglecting the fact that life is not all about money, believing that if they ensure the health of the economy, then the rest is, well, up to individuals.

READ MORE: Happiness seen as most important achievement

Money does play a big part in happiness, particularly if you don’t have enough of it, so politicians do need to bear in mind the needs of the economy, businesses and employees.

But they should remember GDP is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Drawing up Bank of Scotland’s annual happiness index is not an exact science, but it should not be dismissed, it’s worth thinking about.

We should also all think about what makes us and those around us happy – and do more of it.

READ MORE: Paul Anand: A fairer society and decent quality of life gives us many happy returns