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Bhutan seeks a happy nation

The Buddhist kingdom is in many ways a case apart, benchmarking itself on happiness instead of economic growth.

One of the pillars of Gross National Happiness is conservation of the environment. Bhutan is carbon negative and its constitution mandates that 60 percent of the country remains forested. It is also big on ecotourism and charges a daily fee of $250 per visitor in high season.

The capital Thimphu has no traffic lights, the sale of tobacco is banned, and television was only allowed in 1999.

Archery competitions, with liberal amounts of the local firewater, are a national craze. Phalluses painted on houses to ward off evil are also a common sight.

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But the "Land of the Thunder Dragon" also has its problems, among them corruption, rural poverty, youth unemployment and criminal gangs.

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Bhutan has continually been ranked as the happiest country in all of Asia, and the eighth Happiest Country in the world according to Business Week

. In 2007, Bhutan had the second fastest growing GDP in the world, at the same time as maintaining their environment and cultural identity




Post dated May 11, 2019


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