Friday, February 1, 2013

We need to redefine prosperity

"Spending money we don't have
on things we don't need
to create impressions that won't last
on people we don't care about."
Tim Jackson, British ecological economist, describing our current economic model

Today, I watched again this great talk of Tim Jackson and thought it should be posted it here given how much it resonates with what Bhutan's enlightened leaders and citizens think themselves. 

Of course, even with all lessons learned and good intention, Bhutan alone is not going to change the world's current economic system. I dare to say that Bhutan will not be able to create a lasting alternative economic and social system based on Gross National Happiness even within its own borders unless big brothers follow similar path and it becomes mainstream. If China, India, USA, Europe, Russia, Brazil, etc. don't listen and follow, Bhutan will be betrayed and left alone in its struggle between tradition and modernity, egoism and solidarity, countryside and the city, trees and concrete buildings. 

When I'm writing this post, in Thimphu a group of international experts are discussing what they call a New Development Paradigm to be presented to the United Nations. Basically, they are exploring how to define happiness and well-being so that the countries' national accounts and measurement systems can be adjusted to consider what really matters to people and the planet - beyond GDP.

The task is big and urgent. I remember the long silence at the event of our Bhutan Society in Hungary after the documentary film '86 centimetres' was showcased. In this movie, we could see the incredible struggle of ordinary Bhutanese to prevent glacial lake outburst floods which happen in Bhutan due to climate change caused by other nations. 

However, Bhutan is not alone with the task. Bhutan has friends all around the world who share the same values about prosperity. We don't give up. We keep going. 

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