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United Nations Calls for Happiness Based Economy

from Positive News UK via the Huffington Post

"A high-level United Nations meeting on happiness has taken place, marking a significant step towards governments placing wellbeing at the heart of economic progress.

The first of its kind, the meeting took place at UN headquarters in New York on 2 April 2012 and brought together more than 600 participants from government, academia, business, civil society and spiritual and religious groups.

Following the conference, wellbeing is now intended to be at the centre of new sustainable development goals, which are expected to replace the millennium development goals when they expire in 2015."

This is indeed a paradigm shift, and the call to do so is coming from Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan country, who has been working with the idea of Gross Domestic Happiness since the 70's. 

* Secretary general Ban Ki-moon meets with Lyonchoen Jigmi Yoezer Thinley, Prime Minister of Bhutan at a UN meeting on 2 April 2012 titled Happiness and Well-being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm (Photo © UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe, displayed under fair use guidelines) *

Some of the policy initiatives discussed at the meeting include...

"... prioritising investment in renewable energy, public transport and green spaces; to introducing work sharing schemes that increase leisure time and prevent unemployment; discouraging materialism by banning advertising to children; and creating accounting systems that factor in the value of ‘services’ provided by nature."

The biggest surprise to me was the "discouraging materialism by banning advertising to children."  It's something I had always thought was destructive to childhood development.  I touched upon the psychological tormet of childhood marketing in my article Hipster Buddhist, in 2010, but I didn't think there was anything like this reaching the policy level, and no less at the U.N.

It may be a long time before these types of policies can be implemented, but this is definitely good news.


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