March 20th was the first ever International Happiness Day. And of course the idea originated in Bhutan…
The initiative for Happiness Day came from the Kingdom of Bhutan, the small landlocked Himalayan state, which adopted a Gross National Happiness Index as a better measure of its people’s prosperity than its income.
Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. Secretary-General, marked the day by calling for a reinforced commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development.
“When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched,” he said. “Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.”
So how happy are we?
Well, depending on the measure that you choose, the US is slipping in it’s pursuit of happiness or not even on the map of happiest countries. Even those like Justin Wolfers who claim that money can buy happiness (i.e., there is no Easterlin Paradox), the US is a strange exception to the rule, largely because of income inequality and flat median incomes. In fact, “the U.S economy has doubled in size since the early 1970s. But self-reported well-being has declined.”
See the video if you want to geek out.
Regardless though, the fact that we are attempting to measure this and putting a focus on happiness as an explicit goal for public and social policy is the first step towards actually figuring out how and committing to help more people to experience happiness.
And that’s something I can get down with that.
Have a Fantastic Friday everyone!