Is consumption really an accurate measure of development or happiness?
The world over Growth & Development is measured by GDP, which is defined as the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods & services produced within a country’s borders in a year.
Roughly translated: the more we consume as a society, the more developed we are & corollary the happier we should be.
Bhutan has a different measure for Development: Gross National Happiness (GNH).
The 4 pillars of GNH are good governance, sustainable development, preservation & promotion of culture & environmental conservation.
Are the Bhutanese happier than the rest of the world? Is the Index a Political gimmick? This is debatable.
What is important is, there is the thought of moving away from “material consumption” as a measure of development. Economic development is critical but is it the only indicator of development?
Happiness is a function of how satisfied I am with what I have, not how much I consume.
If I look at how much I have, instead of how much I should have, it will definitely lead to happiness, everything else remaining the same, ceteris paribus.