Monday, 16 July 2007

Bhutan and Cymru

The King of Bhutan, a country much smaller than Wales in population, and the land of the thunder dragon, has no use for GNP (gross national product). He advocates GNH (gross national happiness). How does he achieve this idyllic state of being and put smiles on the faces of his people? For one thing, nobody is allowed to earn more than a certain amount of money. There is a cap on the amount anyone can earn. There is a report in the news today about the widening gap between the rich and poor in the UK, the widest for 40 years.
Does this say something about the society we live in? Does this widening gap auger happiness for some and misery for others? It does not, of course. Money cannot buy happiness. Poverty does not necessarily produce misery. Happiness is a state of being, an attitude of mind. Yet, in an egalitarian society there is more cohesion, more stability and presumably more happiness. This was a characteristic of society in Wales for centuries until the advent of the industrial revolution. As Wales moves into a new phase in its development it is time to reflect on the kind of society we have and examine the factors which divide the community, particularly the factor of inequality. What is our vision for the Wales of the future, the Cymru fydd?

1 comment:

Normal Mouth said...

You should read Happiness: Lessons from a New Science by Richard Layard for how a western society might be designed around the idea of maximising happiness.