1979 – Gross National Happiness
His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck famously declared, in an interview with the Indian media in 1979, that Gross National Happiness (GNH) is more important than Gross National Product” (GDP). In 1986 the Financial Times of London ran an article titled “Gross National Happiness”, making the concept known to the western world for the first time. GNH has today become the guiding philosophy of Bhutan’s socio-economic development.
The concept of GNH is based on the premise that true development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other. GNH comprises four pillars: economic self-reliance, environmental preservation, cultural promotion, and good governance which are interwoven, complementary, and consistent. They embody national and local values, aesthetics, and spiritual traditions. Today, the GNH philosophy is much emulated around the world.