Economic Growth : Qualitative Aspects
The concept of Gross National Happiness implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of well being.
Gross National Happiness is a term coined by His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s.Bhutan uses Gross national happiness to measure progress.
An increase in the economic variables over a period of time is – economic growth. Economic growth is a quantitative progress.
It was believed that once an economy is able to increase its production its income will also increase and there will be an automatic betterment (quality increase) in the lives of the people of the economy. There was no conscious discussion over the issue of quality expansion in the people’s lives. Economic growth was considered as a cause and effect for the betterment of lives of the people. This was the reason why economists till the 1950s failed to distinguish between growthand development though they knew the difference between these terms.
Development indicates quality of life in economy. Higher Economic development requires higher economic growth.
The first such team which developed the HDI(Human Development Index) was led by Mahbub Ul Haq and Inge Kaul. The term ‘human development’ is a corollary of ‘development’ in the index.
3 parameters to define HDI were
Life expectancy, knowledge and standard of living
(i)High Human Development Countries: 0.800–1.000 points on the index.
(ii) Medium Human Development Countries: 0.500–0.799 points on the index.
(iii) Low Human Development Countries: 0.000–0.499 points on the index
Bhutan has been following up the GNH since 1972 which has the following parameters to attain happiness/development:
(i) Higher real per capita income.
(ii) Good Governance.
(iii) Environmental Protection.
(iv) Cultural Promotion
GNH takes spirituality in consideration but HDI does not.
An economy cannot be called growing if its human capital is not developing or unhappy with the quality of life.Thus economic growth should ensure qualitative development in life of people.