Since 1971, the central Asian nation of Bhutan has offered a nonconventional measure of progress, namely measuring its national prosperity not in terms of its gross domestic product (GDP), but rather by gross national happiness (GNH). Despite a largely isolationist history and a status as one of the most impoverished nations in the modern world, 91.2% of Bhutanese citizens identified as being either deeply, extensively, or narrowly happy in a 2015 poll. Building on the Buddhist principles of many of its inhabitants, the Gross National Happiness Index measures each citizen’s level of contentment based on a combination of factors: community, culture, governance, knowledge and wisdom, health, spirituality and psychological welfare, a balanced use of time, and harmony with the environment. The relative calm and ...

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