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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gross Domestic Happiness

The words from a speech at a State level Debate- Premises of the speaker: Vrushti Trivedi



Gross Domestic Happiness is more important in judging the well being of a country than Gross domestic Product.
   We all know that GDP measures the number of goods produced and thus, the economy of the country. But do we know the actual meaning of the word happiness? Happiness is a state of mind. It does not depend on acquiring material products. If to be rich were to be happy, then why do we see stress, depression and suicide rates rising even though the economy is growing? Just see Japan, according to the World Bank it ranks third in GDP in the world. Then why does it have such a high suicide rate of 26 persons per 100,000 individuals? So, even if a country’s GDP is high, but GDH is low, we cannot say that the country is in a state of well being. Though Hitler succeeded in increasing the GDP of Germany from the Great Depression to particular normal levels, yet we all know that Germany under the Nazis was not a happy Germany.
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The importance of happiness has been comprehended years ago. The sages spent their entire lives in   the forest. Did they ever worry about their trading concerns or their means of earning a livelihood? No, because they had understood that the ultimate goal of life is the bliss of the soul. So, this idea of GDH is in accordance to the ancient Holy Scriptures which encourage humans to be happy.
The term GDH was actually coined by Jigme- the ruler of Bhutan. And today, Bhutan is the happiest country in the world. It measures GDH on a certain scale based on equitable social development, cultural preservation, conservation of the environment and good governance.  This policy has attracted other countries which are also developing such Indexes because they have come to know that socioeconomic and cultural development is much more important than simply economic development.  Gross Domestic Product could measure amount of goods and services and so on.  But it could not measure the health of an individual or the quality of education provided to the students. It could not measure the joy, the rights, the ideals and the beliefs of the citizens of a country. In short, it could not measure all the factors that make our lives worth living.
People say that health could be achieved by spending money. But actually, our mind is much stronger than our body and controls each and every aspect of it. This is proven by a research by Julia Boehm and her colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health which says that “Positive thoughts and a happy mind could reduce the chances of getting strokes and heart attacks and so is the case with other diseases.”
A cake adorned with artistic icing may appear to be very tempting but ultimately, it is the taste which matters. So while GDP is the icing, GDH is the cake itself. So, an increase in GDP would not necessarily buy happiness . But yes, an increase in GDH would definitely increase the per capita efficiency of the individuals and hence increase the GDP of the county.

To summarize, I would say, that every country must be judged on the basis of its GDH rather than GDP, so that the policy makers could concentrate more on GDH levels of the country. Was King Midas happy by the touch of gold? Similarly, no country could be happy by increased levels of GDP only. So, we should all try to be happy and contribute to the growth of the GDH of the country. 

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