Happiness without kerosene

Happiness is ...

Today is the 24th of March. So it’s exactly three years since PDP got clobbered in the kingdom’s first general elections. Actually it wasn’t that bad – 33% of the voters had supported us. It’s just that that, unfortunately, translated to only two of the 47 seats in the National Assembly.

Anyhow, it’s now three years since that fateful day. And I’ve decided to commemorate the general elections by going to the people. I’m in Dorikha, at my indulgent aunt’s farmhouse, on my way to Gakiling gewog.

I’m taking along two important items for this trip. The first is a book: “Happiness – Lessons from a New Science” by Richard Layard, an economist who challenges that contemporary economic theory does not favour the pursuit of happiness.

The second item is a “solar light bulb” manufactured by Nokero (as in “no kerosene” – their idea is to replace the use of kerosene for illuminating homes). Nokero’s bulb is the size of a regular incandescent bulb, but carries a complete system to convert sunlight into electricity – solar panel, rechargeable battery, and light emitting diodes.

The Nokero bulb I’m carrying is a sample. Several villages in Gakiling don’t have electrical light, so I’ll use it to read “Happiness” at night. If the bulb survives my week-long tour, it would be ample proof that Nokero would make a worthy gift to our remote farmers.


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  1. Yes indeed, contemporary economic theory does not show pathways to happiness, because it is purely based on material pursuit by destroying natural resources base and exploiting the working class with minimum wage for material output; and the disproportionate profit from material output is to meet the costs of outlandish lifestyles and money laundry activities of company CEOs, and company owners. And sadly, Bhutan is following this pathways wittingly or unwittingly.

    We need a bold intellect or politicians in Bhutan to suggest an alternative economic model where natural resources are equally shared, where workers are not exploited, where citizens pay taxes to meet recurrent and capital expenses from tax money, where society is not stratified based on wealth or asset ownership, where large land ownership is not in the hands of few elites, where country wealth is equally shared in forms of developing sustainable, education, health and food production infrastructures, where basic services are provided without having to bribe officials, where people respect rules and try to find negotiated settlement for any disagreement instead of resorting to litigation in the court etc.

    I will respect any individuals, politicians or bureaucrats to show us economic development model that will lead us to pathways of contentment and harmony.


  2. Dr. Thinlay, well said. I am all for what you said.

    Levelling of benefits from equal ownership natural resources between the few elites and rest of the citizens must be the priority of our law makers and bureaucrats if they are genuine citizens of this peaceful nation and genuine representatives of the people who placed trust in them.

    The government had made a wrong step in taking the law in their hands (as translated by the verdict of the high court and the supreme court). But, taxation appropriate to the income is one way of generating equity in haves and happiness. Revision of PIT, BIT, CIT and Import taxes appropriately and timely will definitely have a favourable long-term output. It is a cruical way to sustain our sovereignity.

    Lets all place a trust in our OL to take forward this motion, if truely he is a happiness pursuer.

  3. Are we talking about becoming full-fledge “socialist” country???

  4. Not exactly full fledged communist socialist system, but a democratic socialist. I think Scandinavian countries system of government is the best example we have.


  5. Dogchok-gi-dokchog says

    Very good OL. For once you are doing something meaningful. In this case, especially bringing the solar lamp to your people in Sombeykha, I am your JABJORPA. Don’t worry about the thrashing your party got on that fateful day three years ago, just be better prepared to take another one in 2013.

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