Just read this interesting news tidbit about what nations are happiest in the world on SouthAsiaBiz blog by Razib Ahmed. It is an interesting story, not because Pakistan lists last in the happiness factor among South Asian countries :(, but because Bhutan, one of the poorest countries, ranks highest. An investor in my firm has visited Bhutan recently and he had some interesting and remarkably similar stories to tell. Bhutan is probably among the poorest countries of the world, so how come its happiness ranking is so high? Do they value other things more than things money can buy? Or are people happy in their poverty for some other reasons? An interesting finding of the report is that the happiness factor of USA(28.8) is even worse than that of Pakistan(39). Shucks – I am screwed whichever country I live in. Jordan(42) and Palestine(52.6) are pretty darn good, but UAE is just 28.2.
Some interesting findings of the report include:
- It is possible to live long happy lives with a smaller environmental impact
- Countries with same ecological footprint can produce lives of greatly differing length and well-being
- Countries similar in other ways can differ enormously in life satisfaction
- Island nations score well above average.
Well, read the blog post yourself and read the report to understand its indexing system. The blog also lists 15 reasons why Bhutan is happier than USA:
‘Happy Planet Index’: South Asia is Happy but not Rich by Razib Ahmed July 22, 2006
‘The Happy Planet Index’ published The New Economics Foundation (NEF) has caused some uproar in the cyber world. If you like then you can download the full report at free of cost from this link. According to NEF this report is: “An index of human well-being and environmental impact’, moves beyond crude ratings of nations according to national income, measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to produce a more accurate picture of the progress of nations based on the amount of the Earth’s resources they use, and the length and happiness of people’s lives.” In the report, a list has been provided about the ranking of the countries.
Let me give you the ranks of South Asian countries:
Sri Lanka :15
Bangladesh : 41
Nepal : 54
India : 62
Pakistan : 112
It seems that except Pakistan, people of the all the other South Asian countries are doing well in the happiness index. You may get surprised to see Bhutan having such an impressive position but do not forget that Bhutan is the only country in the world that has placed more importance to increase Gross National Happiness (GNH) than Gross National Product (GDP). It is always an interesting matter to me to think that South Asian countries are doing so well in the happiness index but are still very poor. Yes, money cannot always bring happiness but happiness should bring some money. Don’t you think so?