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Happiness is…a local economy

November 7, 2011

My in-laws have traveled to Bhutan a number of times, normally as a guest of the government there. One of the things that they often speak about is how the economy of Bhutan is measured in happiness, and not in dollar terms. It is one of the last truly ‘happy’ places in the world.

The Economics of Happiness is a great documentary about the emerging resistance to globalisation – how people are pushing toward local economies and sustainability. Not for the sake of saving the environment (which it will), but for the sake of saving ourselves.

I think I referred to one part of this phenomenon in an earlier post as ‘village commerce’. It refers to the Ladakh region of Tibet, not far from Bhutan, where the push toward consumerism has enabled people like Helena Norberg-Hodge to observe the rapid shift from a happy, localised people with strong connections to the land, into a consumerist, competitive environment where traditional culture and trade is left far behind, along with the happiness and well-being of the people.

The first link below is the documentary itself, and the second is a TEDx talk by Helena Norberg-Hodge.

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