In the 1970s, Bhutan instituted the Global National Happiness into its constitution. It was the first country value 'happiness' as a national asset. Envisioned by His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the index represents a core value of its constitution, the idea that progress is a holistic combination of economic growth, sustainable development, and personal wellbeing. Most importantly, the index sets a barometer to ensure that its governance is fairly representative of the people.
Are there patterns that connect happiest of countries?
While the richest nations are abundant in resources, collective material wealth is not always the best representation of happiness. Individual representation is the best indicator of happiness, which is demonstrated under the type of government rule. Therefore, we divided all countries under 3 subsets of government rule:
- constitutional monarchy
- authoritarian (absolute monarchy, dictatorship, authoritarian rule)
money kind of does buy happiness: in most cases, the wealth of a nation does drive happiness
democracy does not reign supreme: the graphic illustrates the fact that citizens of designated 'democracies' don't necessarily prefer their government. On average, constitutional monarchies create the happiest societies.
Additional variables tested:
tree cover: Bhutan has written into its constitution a mandate that at least 60% of its landscape must remain undeveloped, for good; how does sustainability speak to collective happiness?