GDP over GNH

How important is GNH to the government? In the prime minister’s State of the Nation address (which, incidentally, sounded more like a political campaign speech than a statement by the head of government) GNH was mentioned 14 times. Plus he made 6 separate references to happiness. On the other hand, he mentioned GDP just once, and that to caution against being “swayed onto the GNP/GDP path.”

How important, in reality, is GNH to the government? In the finance minister’s budget report (which explains how the government will finance its policies) GDP was mentioned no less than 46 times. And GNH? That was mentioned six times, twice of which was to justify increasing taxes.


Facebook Comments:


  1. I listened to the PM’s state of the Nation Address and I thought it was perfect because it was structured on the basis of the four pillars of GNH. It is not at all surprising that it came out just 14 times in 3 hours of continuous speech.

    However, what is surprising is that OL seem to have been engrossed in counting the repetition of GNH instead of the substance of the address itself.

    Good job OL.

  2. Linda Wangmo says

    I need an answer from Mr.OL. Lyonchhen has clearly stated in his Campaign Speech the reason for the various taxes to be increased and the reason he quoted is that if the tax is collected than the people has the right because it is the peoples money if not the government can do whatever they like with the budget so my question is does the Lyonchhen mean that people have no right over the Government Budget? Are the tax paid by the business people not the peoples money? Are the bills paid for the various utility not peoples money? Does the government think that the people does not contribute anything. The only reason as far as I know for the raise in the tax is that the present government wants money for CDG and state funding.

  3. dungsamkota says

    Yeah, I also watched the PMs State of the the Nation Address. it was more a State of my Agitation Report. he stooped low, picked scores with all his perceived enemies, including the opposition and the NC and called one of them pseudo intellectuals who has tried to comment on the all the wonderful things the govt is doing with the FDI policy.

    one cant get the negative vibes when reading in the speech on paper, but when you listen and watch on TV, the negative energy exuding from his face and the steam from the ears is visible.

    I wish he would speak to the Bhutanese people like how he speaks to Japanese, Italian and Brazillin people when he is on the GNH tours. I am sure Bhuatnese also deserve some civility and we are not here to listen to his Tshoda.

  4. Say what we want, but GNH and GDP cannot be seperated , they are complimentary. We cannot have one or the other. In oder to achieve GNH we need GDP, otherwise GNH cannot be achived. More imporantly , we need to close the gap between rich and poor.

    People say money cannot buy happiness, but it helps. The easiest way to achive GNH is by closing the gap between rich and poor. I am sure a rich person can live with a Maruti car instead of a landcruiser, but a poor person cannot live without food, energy and water. We need to set our priorities straight. Take care of people who are in needs of needs, not the people who want, wants.
    We need to take care of people who are struggling to make ends meet, instead of people who are struggling to buy prados and land cruisers, we need to make sure every Bhutanese is well fed, well sheltered and can afford lives basic needs and education for their children.

  5. Dear Tshering,

    We need money to buy food. We need food to fill our stomach. As long as we are not hungry, we are happy. We need money to buy clothes, and in turn we need clothes to protect or make us look fashionable. As long as we are not naked, we are happy. We need money to build or rent a refuge to live. As long as we live in a decent ambiance, we are happy.

    Now, where does money come from? Good question. It comes from exchange of economic outputs and services. Whether we like it not, combinations or aggregate of all economic activities in a nation get measured through GDP/GNP indicators. It certainly means that honchos of economic policies can’t help but skew their policy documents/ oration in favor of GDP/GNP. But in the case of Bhutan, reality is relatively different. We supposedly use GNH inputs to maximize or optimize GDP/GNP outputs. We can only have equitable distribution of economic benefits if we factored in those variables that foster happiness of the lower strata of our society.

    Food, Clothing and Shelter are the three basic human need. Fulfillment of these basic needs is a must before anything else. Then come education, health, governance and delivery systems. We have done exceedingly well in these indicators. And our environment is an innate gift of nature; unless we want to take it for granted by throwing things all over the Thimphu city!

    I think the manner in which the discussions took place in the Parliament were quite realistic. We could not have one without the other. But we can certainly maximize the outputs by meaningfully factoring the required inputs to achieve them

  6. Sound and sustainable economic growth is precondition on which people can achieve happiness. Thus GDP and GNH are not mutually exclusive. One is important for achievement of other.

    But for heaven sake, OL and others should join hand to do something about waste management and drinking water problem in urban Bhutan, instead of us discussing the lapses in procedural matter in this blog.

    As PM addressed the nation, i think Government is on track to solve urban water problem with ADB and world Bank fund. I think this is a very laudable initiative. we should support this initiative from the government.


  7. I see that the OL is bringing forth these issues in his blog despite of all the odds and accusations against him only to give Bhutan and the Bhutanese people a good government. We must appreciate his noble motivation. If you have his kind of compassion and care for the people of Bhutan, why don’t you create a similar blog and try your patience with these kind of accusations and ill words against you? Are you a Bodhisattava warrior like the OL?

  8. Dorji Tshering P says

    PM wants GNH for all of us but for his family (education city case), his ministers and MP’s (salary and other incentives) he wants GDP.

    So from his acts we are sure that GDP is better for him and his people than GNH. BUT he wants the people fo Bhutan to go for GNH. I wonder why????


  1. […] Dorji, commenting on my last post, GNH vs GDP: […]

Leave a Reply