One very unique idea that is distinctive to Bhutan is the philosophy of Gross National Happiness founded by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth King of Bhutan. It emphasizes on the happiness rating of the Bhutanese rather than the domestic product. Bhutan, so far, is the only country to have officially adopted gross national happiness, instead of gross domestic product, as the main development indicator. It is believed that happiness does not solely depend on the possession of materials but on shared cultural and spiritual values. GNH serves as a unifying vision for Bhutan’s five-year planning process that guide the economic and development plans of the country.
The four main pillars of Gross National Happiness are:
- Equitable and equal socio-economic development
- Preservation and promotion of cultural and spiritual heritage
- Conservation of environment and
- Good governance.
The concept of Gross National Happiness is now being taken up by the United Nations and various other countries.