Gross National Happiness

The Kingdom of Bhutan posted a PDF of its draft constitution on the web. The constitutional commission solemnly enshrined in Article 9, section 2, promoting “those circumstances that will enable the successful pursuit of Gross National Happiness” as a principle of State Policy. In fact, the draft mentions “happiness” four times, including once in the Preamble and once in the National Anthem. My favorite feature, though, is the constitutional Right to Rest and Leisure (Article 9, Section 13). (via BoingBoing)

I am a big fan of the US Constitution but I do note that it does not mention “happiness” or “leisure” (neither do any of the amendments). Of course the Declaration of Independence of the “thirteen united States of America” famously pronounces that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Since 1776, this thought has been echoed in many a seminal document, but I think that Bhutan has contributed a truly novel adaptation of Jefferson’s famous words.

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