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Gross National Happiness

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1. The tinу Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is emerging as a global leader in the promotion of 'Gross National Happiness', a concept it first embraced three decades ago and which is now being fleshed out by a wide range of professionals and agencies across the world.

The term Gross National Happi­ness (GNH) was coined by Bhutan's King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1972. Today, this concept res­onates with a wide range of initia­tives, across the world, to define prosperity in more holistic terms and to measure actual well-being rather than consumption. By contrast the conventional concept of Gross National Product (GNP) measures only the sum total of material pro­duction and exchange in any coun­try.

The evolving concept of GNH could well be the most significant advancement in economic theory over the last 150 years, according to Frank Dixon, Managing Director of Research at Innovest Strategic Value Advisors.

2. At present individual compa­nies and entire countries are compelled to keep growing indefinitely. Today it is widely acknow­ledged that the human economy cannot keep growing at the cost of its habitat. Yet even after two decades of expanding environ­mental regulation we are still losing the race to save the planet. This is partly because production systems and consumption patterns are out of sync with the carrying capacity of the planet. The pressure for ever higher GNP is merely one manifest­ation of this.

3.Basic happiness can be measured since it pertains to quality of nutrition, housing, educa­tion, health care and community life. Three major factors seem to be responsible for the expanding credi­bility of GNH. One, there is wider awareness that GNP is a one-dimen­sional and thus misleading measure. Two, a wide range of indices have been devised which offer a more realistic assessment of even material prosperity. Three, there is growing pressure for an infusion of moral and cultural values into the core of economic policy.

4. The GNP was never intended to be a measure of actual wellbeing. It is the artifact of a time when it was assumed that if there are more goods in circulation, general welfare is ensured. But this is not always the case. Moreover, attention has also been drawn to dire side effects of the GNP-driven model of econom­ic growth in many societies, includ­ing the USA with its multiple social crises and rising sales of anti-depres­sants. The GNP also grows because of the sales of rifles and knives and television programmes which glorify violence.

GNP also ignores the household and volunteer economy as well as the extent to which the whole popu­lation shares in increasing material abundance. Money spent on preventing crime and repairing damage caused by it, on cop­ing with environmental degradation should be counted as a 'loss'.

 

5. This is why Bhutan's insistence on the primacy of GNH over GNP inspires people far beyond its bor­ders. Their commitment to GNH has meant that moral and ethical values are placed at the core of their eco­nomic strategies for ensuring better food, housing and health for their population. It has allowed them to both expand their network of roads and increase their forest cover. In most other developing countries the arrival of roads is inevitably followed by deforestation. This is not to sug­gest that all is well in the Kingdom of Bhutan or that they are able to fully live up to their GNH commitment. Yet their achievements are remark­able.

6. The declaration adopted by par­ticipants at the Thimphu conference said that the facilitation of GNH should be accompanied by "the development of indicators that address human physical and emo­tional wellbeing. They must be capa­ble of use for self-evaluation, so that individuals and groups, may gauge their progress in the attainment of happiness. In addition, indicators should facilitate full accountability, good governance, and socially con­structive business practices, both in day-to-day life and in long-range policies and activities."

Scanning

Ex. 2. Read the article again and find the answers to the following questions:

1) Who was the term ‘Gross National Happiness’ coined by? What does it mean?

2) What does the conventional concept of GNP measure?

3) What does Frank Dixon say about the concept of GNH?

4) Why are we losing the race to save the planet?

5) Can basic happiness be measured? Why (not)?

6) What three major factors are responsible for the expanding credibility of GNH?

7) What are the dire side-effects of the GNP-driven model of economic growth?

8) What is the impact of the Bhutan people’s commitment to GNH? What has this small country achieved?

Vocabulary Study

 

Ex. 3. Match the following words with their meanings:

 

1) habitat a) health and happiness of people
2) volunteer b) thinking about the whole of something , not just particular aspects
3) artifact c) food considered as something that keeps you healthy
4) nutrition d) qualities that make people believe or trust somebody or something
5) welfare e) someone who is not paid for the work that they do
6) holistic g) the type of place where an animal usually lives or a plant grows
7) credibility f) an object made a long time ago and historically important

 



Ex. 4. Match the verbs with their synonyms:

1) emerge a) develop gradually
2) coin b)be related to
3) evolve c) to make easier
4) compel d) terrible
5) devise e) use a new word
6) gauge f) appear
7) pertain g) invent
8) facilitate h) force
9) dire i) measure

 

Ex. 5. Form the abstract nouns of the following verbs and adjectives:


1) commit

2) govern

3) accountable

4) attain

5) manifest

6) advance

7) prosper

8) abundant


 

 


Ex. 6. Replace the italicized expressions with one of these:

at the core; to be out of sync with; flesh out; live up to.

1) The new film didn’t justify our expectations.

2) Cutting down trees goes at different speeds with growing new ones.

3) The concept is new and it is necessary to add more details to as so as to make it easier to understand.

4) Ecological and moral values should be placed in the centre of any economic activity.

 

Ex. 7. Fill in the gaps with the correct prepositions:

1) I doubt that Pete will be able to cope (…) this task.

2) Well-being should be defined (…) more holistic terms.

3) Our economy can’t keep growing (…) the cost of our environment.

4) I’d like to draw your attention (…) the ecological problems of our area.

5) The whole population should share (…) the material abundance of the society.

6) The pressure (…) an infusion (…) moral and cultural values (…) the core of economic policy is growing.

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Ex. 8. Choose the correct word:

1) It is widely (…) that global warming is one of the major ecological dangers of the 21st century.

a) accounted; b) acknowledged; c) adopted; d) announced

2) This presentation could (…) win the first prize.

a) good; b) mostly; c) very; d) well

3) Our marketing people should study the consumption (…) of the population.

a) samples; b) patterns; c) examples; d) models

4) The resolution was (…) at the conference.

a) adopted; b) adapted; c) taken; d) promoted

5) The consumption of natural resources (…) growing all over the world.

a) comes; b) goes; c) keeps; d) makes

 

Ex. 9. Give collocations from the text:

1) lose a) damage
2) consumption b) cover
3) community c) the race
4) side d) life
5) repair e) patterns
6) forest f) effects

 

Text II

Skimming

Ex. 1. Skim the article below and summarize the basic rules of business gift-giving in China:

 


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