The Gross National Happiness

When you hear about the Gross National Product going up, that’s good, right? Well, not exactly. If everyone in the United States had a safe and sane Fourth of July and did not smash into anyone else on the highway, the Gross National Product would go down.

Sad to say, if people stopped assaulting and killing other people, the GNP would go down drastically. Hospital bills, funerals, coffins, these all add to the GNP. People getting AIDS is bad news, but it increases GNP.

Al Gore points out that when you cut down a forest, the Gross National Product goes up by the amount they make from the sale of the lumber, plus all the people who get paid for labor, fuel and equipment. No one takes into consideration the O2-generating capacity of the forest, not to mention the amenities the forest offers to the creatures that live there.

The king of Bhutan, when told about the concept of the Gross National Product, coined the concept of the Gross National Happiness.

In Bhutan you can’t cut down a tree without planting three.

Would it be beneath our national dignity to learn a thing or two from people who clearly know what they are talking about?

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