How happy are we

Have you heard about the Kingdom of Bhutan? It is a landlocked state in South Asia located at the eastern end of the Himalayas bordered by China and India. In 2006, based on a global survey, Business Week rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world. In 2007, Bhutan had the second fastest growing economy in the world with an annual economic growth rate of 22.4 percent!

Now that you have some info about the Kingdom of Bhutan let’s move to the objective of this post, the Kingdom of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness. The Kingdom of Bhutan first invented the idea of using happiness as a measure of good governance. Yes, happiness! This was designed in an attempt to define an indicator that measures quality of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms than only the economic indicator of gross domestic product (GDP). It is measured by its people’s sense of being well-governed, their relationship with the environment, satisfaction with the pace of economic development, a sense of cultural and national belonging.

Despite some reservations in some quarters, my thought is to how Kenya would fare on the Gross National Happiness index. Are we “happy” as a people? In my opinion we wouldn’t fare so well but that’s just my opinion. Pavan K Verma, India’s ambassador to Bhutan says it would be a mistake to use the index as an alternative rather than a supplementary measurement. That being so, how do you feel we would fare?