The Economy of Happiness | The star

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IN the study of economics, most are familiar with the monetary aspect and place great importance on the gross domestic product or GDP of a nation. However, it is not all about money, income and wealth.

There is a particular index that measures happiness. This is called “the economy of happiness”.

The economics of happiness is a real study of the relationship between individual satisfaction and economics. It is conducted through a survey that asks participants to rank their level of happiness (on a scale of 1 to 10) on factors such as political freedom, health care and education in their country, among others.

Bhutan, one of the last Buddhist kingdoms, is renowned for its landscapes, monasteries and fortresses. Above all, it is widely regarded as the “happiest nation in the world”.

The emphasis has been on the happiness of the people to such an extent that Gross National Happiness (BNB), which is the philosophy guiding the government of Bhutan, is part of the country’s constitution promulgated on July 18, 2008.

In fact, the fourth king of Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, conceptualized and coined the term BNB in ​​1972 and declared that “BNB is more important than GDP”.

The United Nations General Assembly in 2011 notably adopted and adopted resolution 65/309, “Happiness: Towards a holistic approach to development”, urging countries to follow Bhutan’s example in measuring happiness and well-being. to be.

The following year, Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Thinley and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon convened the high-level meeting “Well-being and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm” to encourage the dissemination of the philosophy. BNB Bhutan. This led to the eventual birth of the World Happiness Report.

Now in its 11th year, the Scandinavian countries are still doing very well in this area where they are often ranked in the top 10 of the happiest countries in the world.

Finland, for its part, is doing extremely well in this aspect measured by the GNH index with an average score of 7.84 between 2018 and 2020. It was the fourth consecutive time that Finland was at the top of the ranking. .

Iceland and Denmark came in second and third place in the recent World Happiness Report 2021 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), which studies more than 149 countries around the world.

Malaysia was ranked 81st happiest country in the latest report. The question is, with all that we have been through over the past couple of years, will anyone agree that we are considered a “moderately happy” nation?

A flood is certainly not the way to end an already difficult year. Losing his house is the ultimate blow, as it is meant to be his sanctuary.

It’s hard enough to get through two years of a pandemic, but surviving a single pandemic every 100 years to encounter a single flood every 100 years can be too much to bear, even for the fittest. of characters.

It is never easy to deal with the forces of nature, what more an act of God. Times like these make me wonder about the insignificance of the financial markets and by extension of the stock market.

That’s why I think policymakers may need to consider a more holistic approach to guiding policy which, in turn, would lead to the future of our nation.

The crisis, if there is one, reveals the structural weakness of a country. Such pressure points, when challenged, would become potentially catastrophic if left unaddressed.

Taking the recent catastrophic flood as an example, the common feedback, whether on social media or in the field, would be that people seem to rely more on each other than on government agencies for support and support. ‘aid.

The sentiment is particularly negative towards the ill-prepared state of the government apparatus and even more so the response time and sometimes the insensitive reactionary movements adopted by those in power.

Looking back, it’s always easy to find a justification or a scapegoat. However, if a country does well either socially or economically, the heads of government will take the credit.

Likewise, in case of poor performance, they should be prepared to shoulder the burden of criticism as well.

I don’t think leaders of any sort, whether in business or government, should be foolproof. Otherwise, there would be little room for improvement and much less opportunity for growth.

Looking at it in a positive light, the outpouring of aid from the Good Samaritans and mobilizing the people without the need for an authority or leader to guide them clearly shows Malaysia’s promise not only as a strong nation, but also united by humanity rather than skin color, creed or belief.

It says a lot about the people of a nation who can count on each other for support in times of need.

During the “KitaJagaKita” movement during the pandemic, we have witnessed first-hand the countless acts of selflessness from all corners of our society. The Flood is another wonderful reminder of our country’s potential and the beacon of hope on the eve of 2022.

While a recent World Bank report said Malaysia’s limited fiscal space will hamper its recovery in 2022 despite a record 2022 budget, I remain optimistic as we enter a new year.

As we close the year, it is important to reflect on the past in order to learn from our mistakes, but we must try to hold our heads high, otherwise we risk missing out on opportunities for a better year to come.

People’s happiness is one of the most important components of the economy which is often overlooked by the sheer amount of numbers and data.

Quoting the United Nations General Assembly in 2011, the resolution declared that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”.

To all policymakers, let’s not forget the challenges of the past, but fight for 2022 to be a more proactive year in embracing the Happiness Economy.

I believe that a happy nation has a very good chance of being a prosperous nation.

Ng Zhu Hann is the author of “Once Upon a Time in Bursa”. He is a lawyer and former chief strategist for a Fortune 500 company. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author.


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