Himalayan nation calls on heads of state to come to capital for summit on way countries measure progress.
John Vidal, The Guardian, 2 April 2012
The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, aghast at what it calls the world's "suicidal path",
has called on heads of state and leading economists to come to the capital Thimphu for a global summit to reform the international financial system and the way countries measure progress.
"We need to rethink our entire growth-based economy so that we can thrive more effectively on our own resources in harmony with nature. We do not need to accept as inevitable a world of impending climate chaos and financial collapse," prime minister Jigmi Thinley will tell the UN in New York on Monday.
Bhutan – sandwiched between China and India with a population about the size of Birmingham – has avoided social and economic chaos, he says, because it is not hooked to the materialist bandwagon and because it measures progress by the level of happiness among its citizens and not by gross domestic production.
It proposes that purely economic measures of growth which count resource depletion and pollution as gains lead to ecological destruction and over-consumption.
"Economic growth is mistakenly seen as synonymous with wellbeing. The faster we cut down forests and haul in fish stocks to extinction, the more GDP grows. Even crime, war, sickness, and natural disasters make GDP grow, simply because these ills cause money to be spent", Thinley will say in Bhutan's submission to the UN ahead of the Rio +20 earth summit in June.