Dr David’s critique of Bhutan’s GNH story –Part 1

Dr David L Luechauer

Dr David L Luechauer has caused quite a stir in Bhutan with his open criticism of GNH. He taught with the Gaeddu College of Business Studies as a lecturer for a year but had to cut short his two year stint due to his wife’s health concerns. He is teaching at the Krannert School of Management in the USA under Purdue University a global top 50 program. Apart from an extensive academic background Dr David advises major business companies in USA. He talks to The Bhutanese in an in-depth interview.

 

1. How can our leaders make GNH a better model?

I am not sure they can nor am I sure that it is their job to improve the model. Model building is for academics not leaders.   I would argue that leaders should stop worrying so much about whether Bhutan pursues and measures GNH, GNP, or GDP and should focus instead on building the basic infrastructure of the country, putting in place the laws, processes and programs that will force the country and the people to become more self-sufficient and self-reliant and making sure that the foundations of democracy are in place and secure.  In my most contrarian moments, I sometimes wish or think that Bhutan should return to being a monarchy and that the King should follow the model Jack Welch used to save General Electric.  Bhutan needs to get into the game before telling others how to play the game and right now, Bhutan isn’t even in the stadium.

 

2. In your article you say that the Brazil GNH conference was a failure of sorts and that Bhutan and GNH’s 15 minutes fame is up. Can you please elaborate?

I was just quoting what I had read reported on a variety of websites which lamented the fact that what emerged from Brazil was a document much toned down from that which was discussed at the United Nations.  As for 15 minutes of fame, the clock is ticking.  Unless Bhutan could really show that is has something to offer the world beyond platitudes and pronouncements.   Bhutan must show that it possesses substantive working models of excellence in education, commerce, health, personal well being, etc. that are directly attributable to the pursuit and practice of GNH.  Bhutan simply does not have such levels of excellence to show the world.  Hence, to the extent that people, outside a few economists, academics, and environmentalist, who had much interest in Bhutan will soon lose whatever interest they may have had in the country except for being a tourist destination.  As I said, Bhutan would have been better to have flown under the radar and not touted GNH until it was ready or could document that it had better schools, hospitals, businesses, products, and overall social living conditions than more developed nations.

 

3. Your article also says, “Brazil’s GNH conference is only a failure if Bhutan doesn’t learn the simple lesson that both charity and development begin at home.” What did you mean? 

I think international aid and international support will be contingent upon other world leaders and people of other nations first seeing that Bhutan is pulling itself up by its own bootstraps.  Right now, the consensus among those who care is that the Bhutanese leaders and people must learn the difference between a handout and a hand up.  We heard this a lot from those in the medical field who were visiting Bhutan and trying to effect change in Bhutanese medical practices.  It’s hard to describe without sounding mean spirited but the attitude many expatriates experience when dealing with Bhutanese and Lisa Napoli documents this fairly well in her book, is “I’m so poor -give me, give me” or “get me out of here.”  It’s like a cultural neurosis of looking and waiting for a savior instead of realizing that the answers lie within and at home.  It’s time the Bhutanese people understand they must roll up their sleeves and get down to some very hard work at building an economy.  It was common knowledge that the least hardworking faculty at GCBS was the Bhutanese faculty!  It is strange but whenever we had visitors and we had some very prominent visitors to the college, the Bhutanese faculty were rarely if ever present.

 

4. GNH has heavy international intellectual backing with people like professor Jeffrey Sach, Joseph Stiglitz etc endorsing GNH. Surely they know something?

Obviously brilliant men with a very clear leftist liberal agenda.  You want me to trot out the list of equally famous, equally brilliant right wing economists with their own agenda who would oppose GNH as measure?  It is a philosophy, it has its supporters and detractors, show me a philosophy that does not have brilliant minds on both sides of the issue.  I will say this, I’d like to see either one of them come and live and teach under the exact same conditions as the faculty at GCBS and see if they are still supporters of GNH.

 

 

5. What are the flaws that you see in the current GNH philosophy? 

Honestly, I have no particular “quibble” with GNH as a philosophy.  My concerns lie in the area of operationalization, Bhutan taking the “lead” in advocating GNH when so much basic work needs to be done home and for the people of Bhutan, and the deleterious effect the pursuit of this model particularly the “happiness” component  is and will continue to have on the people of Bhutan.

From a philosophical standpoint, if I had to state two major concerns they would simply be.  First, there is no consensus on the key variable “happiness.” what it means or how to measure it.  Second, it seems to be propelling Bhutan toward socialism at a time when even countries like China are moving toward a more free market capitalistic orientation.

 

6. The main pitch of Bhutan’s message to the international community is to supplant GDP with GNH and in doing so avoid the dangers of unchecked modernization like climate change, conflict over resources, breakdown of social values etc. What is wrong with that?

The underlying assumption that GNH is needed to do this and your own phrasing of the question, assuming that modernization is currently unchecked.  Why do you say unchecked?  The last time I looked, many nations of the world were passing and enforcing laws on everything from human rights and environmental protection to consumer/product safety codes.  Your question, as is so often the case in the GNH literature, shows no real understanding that a country could measure GDP or GNP and still practice as much or more GNH related principles than Bhutan currently demonstrates.  However, at the end of the day, I think politicians of either persuasion put too much emphasis on either GNP or GNH.  The real issue is not what we measure but how we behave.

I teach leaders and aspiring leaders around the world, they run everything from small entrepreneurial ventures to fortune 500 companies.  Except for the few who have either a background or an inclination toward economics, they never talk about GNP, GDP, and GNH.  They are much more concerned with accounting, financial and managerial principles than economic models.  If you think GDP drives decision-making in company you are being naïve.  GDP or GNP is an economic number reported every few months in the media.  It is a point of information to which some may or may not pay attention.  Conversely, the business students and leaders I know and work with check the global markets every day and many check those markets numerous times a day. So, you tell me which is more important to decision making in the USA – the GNP numbers or the DOW Jones Average, which is more important in Tokyo their GNP numbers or the Nikkei Index.  Those other numbers drive policies and behaviors not the GNP numbers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About The Bhutanese

58 comments

  1. Whatever, has Bhutan attacked any nations with drones and killed anyone? This suffices, US citizen perhaps cant give us their dirty politics. If Dr. Can do something like developing such models? No! Tell him not to evoke our conscience, unless we bother him.

    • Great interview…Dr.David…and mr.Bhutan1.0. i guess u gotta be reasonable. If someone asks u questions about the philosophy u believe in,then u shold have a strong point to defend,rather than pointing finger at someone who has his stand.

    • Where is
      the love for our American brothers and sisters? The drones you speak of deal with terrorists who have relentlessly harassed the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, attacked the US, UK, Spain, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Bali, the Philippines, and leveled the standing Buddha’s in the birthplace of Guru Rimpoche. Americans make up the vast majority of tourists to Bhutan, the second largest source of revenue in our economy, and provide much needed jobs. Remittances from thousands of Bhutanese working in America provide one of the largest sources of foreign currency. American taxpayers provide the majority of aid to the World Food Program (2011-over 1 billion a year), without which we would not have a functioning School Feeding Programme or any enrollment to speak of in the off-road schools that the majority of our children attend. American taxpayers contribute over 1 billion dollars a year for refugees and resettlment, the majority of which has gone to Bhutanese refugees over the last several years. This compassionate act helped clean up a major problem that we have not been delt with for 15 years, and as some have pointed out, helped increase Bhutan’s national security, and the security of the greater South Asian region. Dr. David you have my ear.

    • Tenzin Dendup

      Indeed a great interview Dr.David but I think rather than talking behind the scene, may be should show it. Prove what you mean. Your thoughts on GNH of our country, Bhutan may be not that good as from all the people around the globe who believe in Bhutan to do better but I appreciate if you just say something about yourself as a human. I am sure you got too much to bluff

  2. I tend to agree with the author that we should first  improve our living conditions before we preach world how they should develop. the typical case to illustrate this is our pathetic condition of providing basic human needs. We simply can not provide safe and clean drinking water in urban places like Thimphu .  I think our leaders are screwing up domestic development priorities and pretending that all is well at home. For example, first we need to improve our basic requirement like safe and enough drinking water before we preach what economic models world should adopt.

  3. Fantastic interview. What an insight to the over-hyped concept of GNH. This is real slap on the face for everyone of us Bhutanese trying to sing the GNH tune every now and then…

    • As a Bhutanese most pretends to sing the same GNH song, but what we don’t pretend is lands up singing it with different tune.  Wake up Bhutanese, we are no more isolated, we have already become part of a bigger world. Pronouncing big philosophy without mastering it only ends up being mocked at it, which wasn’t at all an intention of our beloved 4th monarch.  

  4. Great interview. I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. David. While GNH is an awesome philosophy, it just isn’t practical to use it as a policy making tool. After all, happiness is subjective – what makes one person happy will not necessarily make another person happy too. It’s time for the Government to get real and to implement measures, such as improving basic infrastructure, that will improve the lives of our people. 

  5. Mr. Luechauer is not saying anything new that we are not aware of.  

  6. haha..good one..we shall fix those issues..
    1/CHILLIPS, donot pamper our government and citizens.enough of dolars earned without hard work..today we are all spoilt including leaders and everyone has the sense of dependency which keeps most of the Bhutanese behind other countries.
    2/BEAUREAUCRATS:we shall fix alarm for you to wake up and work on practical fields.
    3/LAW MAKERS,please frame a law that will scaffold your citizens to prosperity stop framing unnecessary rules which keeps us more behind.your recent pedestrain day is totaly out of GNH(i.e.no equity to business as tourism inddustry can take their guest around the town in car and other private busness are helpless)
    4/Bhutanese medea:please start to study future instead of critisizing everyones past.
    5/Bhutanese citizens:lets be positive and make it soon,for us its just a matter of few decades to top the world…
    here we go…..palden drukpa

  7. The "TRUE" Bhutanese

    I am happy that this guy is leaving (or has left) Bhutan. He is surely one of those who thinks “Rome was built in a day”. And what an attitude? After spending one year here, he only saw the negative side of things.

  8. Why should a national newspaper interview a non-national to give anti-national remarks. Bhutan never claimed that we have achieved GNH. We simply said that GNH should be the approach for all developments. Do not bring disgrace to our monarchs as GNH has descended from the royal throne. Follow if you believe, leave it if not.

    • newspaper – National,
      interviewee- Non-national,
      remarks – Anti-national. ……  got to admire u man for the usage of words. CHEAP WORDS. 

  9. Wow, what a great interview and what a great insight. Still I believe that there is lot to do before we come out with this GNH machine. Considering all the economic downturn, rupee crunch, bla, bal, during the first term of our democracy, I feel that our leaders and people must be concentrating on uplifting the country’s economy first. Once we make ourselves internally strong, then I guess people and experts like Dr. David will have nothing to say against our say.

  10. Kudos – Dr. David. Like your attitude. Straight on face. Practical and realistic. Where is GNH when we people living on one meal a day and even times going hungry. Where is the GNH when our kids have no proper place to play. Where is GNH when govt. minister collude with rich and influential people and rob the government. Concept is good but it is no where in BHUTAN. JYT makes foreign trips selling GNH…what a waste.

  11. I think Dr.David misunderstood the real meaning of GNH.Our leader never said Bhutan doesn’t have problem and no country in the world is without problem. If you see the speech of our PM, it clearly says Bhutan is in pursue of GNH.GHH  model/philosophy  by itself is really holistic approach,but we people fail to understand it.By following GNH, we have never compromised the GDP.If we Bhutanese are not receptive of our noble philosophy and carry forward,it will be very shame upon us when one day someone from outside come and teach u how GNh and how it helps in developmental activities. 
    To put in simple term, GNH is value addition nothing more nothing less.

  12. As soon as he starts to talk about the Dow Jones and the Nikkei indexes, my view is that he does not know what GNH is all about. GNH is all about getting away as far away as possible from wall street what it stand for, ie GREED.

  13. As soon as he starts to talk about the Dow Jones and the Nikkei indexes, my view is that he does not know what GNH is all about. GNH is all about getting as far away as possible from wall street and what it stand for, ie Corporate GREED.

  14. Mr.Bhutan 1.0, what ever Dr.Luechauer has said is the fact.He has told the fact through this interview and one of his article in kuensel last time.
    So,lets take it positively instead of reacting or over reacting.Because Bhutanese by general are know as reactive instead of proactive.
    Why not take this example and try to improve ourselves instead of pointing others weak points while we know country like US is 10000 years ahead of Bhutan in terms of development and her people’s rights.

    I feel Dr.Luechauer criticism is a healthy criticism.So,lets accept the fact and instead of pointing fingers work towards building the nation.

    Cheers!!!

  15. GNH philosophy will not thrive in Bhutan because it originated from it. The same thing happened with Buddhism. The GNH concept will be adopted in the West like Buddhism is spreading there. One fine day all Bhutanese will be listening a lecture on GNH from some Mr. John or Could be Dr. David former lecturer of GCBS, because we Bhutanese have lots and lots of EGOS and never appreciate the task be it good or bad done by others. Although Dr. David seem very critical now on GNH concept, he is actually trying to master it so that some days down the line he becomes very notorious.

  16. GNH contributor

    leader of bhutan should accept the criticism on GNH because GNH for me is like more on paper than in reality.if we look at he situation here in bhutan government hardly listen to their people and offcourse to the private sector. Acountabilty for the CSOs and medias are very limited as of now. Imposing GNH to other countries is wrong instead we can implement here within and let outsider come to bhutan and adopt through their own interest.So to be a GNH society first government should change themselves by listening to the medias, civil societies and the rural people.Secondly bring down corruptions and preserve good cultures and environments. Thirdly simplify GNH rather than making it confusion to the illiterate people.i also believe in cool sustainable development rather than rush development activities because we depend upon donors at the moment so as an when donors withdraw then their will be bad impact for our economy.
    Therefore, criticism from others will also helps to move forward things in a right way……

  17. Well done, Dr. David. I salute you for telling us the truth of our life.

  18. Careful Observer

    There are many amazing and positive things about Bhutan. GNH is not one of them. Finally we can at least acknowledge that. Whether some foreigner points it out or whether we can actually start to talk about these things ourselves, the facts are the facts — true happiness is an illusion and policies like so-called “pedestrian day” are meant to deceive and distract us from the real fact that when the government had a real chance to make an impact and impose a luxury tax, they did nothing. Now anyone and everyone is buying more cars with money they don’t have. I’d love to see people treated properly and with dignity at hospitals, for once. I’d love to see the Bhutanese faculty not be the laziest and least-respected ones, for once. For that matter, I’d love to see any civil servant work with true dedication instead of sitting around waiting for the next foreign training opportunity. 

    But, you know, it’s true — if some chillip doesn’t like it here, they can just leave. Unfortunately, it’s not like we can be independent of the rest of the world — if all foreign aid was cut off for one single day, we’d collapse. So, in the end, we tout our GNH left and right without acknowledging the fact that every aspect of our daily lives depends on foreign countries GDP!! If you want to criticize their economic models, fine, but then you better stop sending the prime minister around talking with the lips about how GNH is best and Bhutan shows the way, while with the hands accepting all their money.

  19. That is because we all waste our times writing nonsense here. We do not do our jobs. Like David said, we do not roll up our sleeves and put our hands to work but we want government to do everything for us. We are a bunch of hypocrites. And when some Chilip tells us something we totally believe him whether right or wrong. 

  20. I admire the guts of this man. Now he will be most hated foreigner in the country. He means good though, in other words he is saying don’t live in fools paradise guys. Unlike UN and other expatriates in Bhutan who want to please the Bhutanese Government by praising them all the time because they want to save their fat paying jobs. These people make me sick, they only chamchagiri Dashos and Ministers. They don’t care how Bhutan is developed, majority of them just want to enjoy peaceful life in Bhutan while continue to draw big fat salary. 

  21. nice one.. i agree with auther to certain extend….what is GNH?… even i don’t know…Buildings are being built, roads are being made at the expenses of pristine environment, richer are getting richer n poor more poorer.. i don’t understand GNH….
    Mr PM is spreading GNH to the world but at the same time he is busy with land grabbing (alledgedly, as per media report).. I don’t understand GNH….

  22. Vijay K Shrotryia

    Having gone through this interview I have some disagreements with David and some agreements as well. I do agree that operationalisation is a big issue but as one gets to the literature of GNH, it never is top-down, it is bottom-up. What I mean to say is that the whole premise of GNH is not really driven by the government to the people, rather it is based on the thinking of Bhutanese people which is further a feature of their culture and religion which drives them to think that it is the happiness/well-being of people which is more important than economic prosperity.  

    Yes it is the politicians who after featuring that it is their priority have to focus on public policy which is happiness/well-being centric rather than economic growth centric.  I have also argued on this elsewhere in some papers that once economic parameters become the focus, there are chances that one looses out on happiness and well-being, however if the policies are happiness centric it could take care of economic growth.  It is basically a matter of priority and focus.

    I don’t agree to the statement that ‘Bhutan isn’t even in the stadium’. I think it is very much there but it has to learn how they can play the game even while in their national dress (ghos and kiras) and in more than one ways they do know the rules of the game.  They may not win a gold medal but they would certainly make their presence felt to the other participants in the game.  Further I don’t think that it is so easy to speculate and state that people interested in Bhutan would soon lose their interest.  Their standards do not necessarily need to match the standards of so called developed world, let them develop their ideal standards which suit their needs. Let them develop the products which they think are better for them.  Yes they need to look into the issue of their over dependence on their neighbours (India basically) and develop subsistence economy. Yes they have to work on reaching out to the rural population in a better way.  But they do not need to ape the developed (so called) world in that sense.  

    Having taught Bhutanese students for around a decade, I think one can’t cast an aspersion to the effect that Bhutanese faculty are least hardworking people.  I don’t really think that one can really say so with such confidence. 

    Yes there are always two sides of a coin.  There are great academicians supporting and writing on prioritising happiness over economic development and such academicians are all across the globe, from US to Netherlands to Thailand to Australia to Canada to UK to …… Yes there are supporters and detractors of all approaches of development.  Yes Bhutan has to put the house in order but summarily suggesting that Bhutan does not follow any standards on any issue related to social infrastructure, I have my reservations to believe this.  Bhutan can’t really think of having free market capitalistic orientation towards development.  This beautiful rich (in many ways) nation has to find the solutions from within rather than from far beyond.

    I think GNH is just a nomenclature of the thinking that has evolved in this tiny yet unique nation.  Bhutan has to maintain and preserve its uniqueness and without compromising on this has to develop small and cottage industries which can address the issue of unemployment and slowly move into the direction of becoming self-sustaining so far agriculture produce is concerned.  Fresh fruit juice is better than coke and pepsi.

    VK Shrotryia

  23. His comments sound strictly personal and biased. Maybe he got into trouble with the authorities. His comments don’t make sense at all. This guy, like the idea of GNH is fake…

  24. I fully agree with Doc David, whatever he said was in reference to the fact that he saw life of a Bhutanese citizen and its environment, I was his student and he once said GNH is an wonderful OPPORTUNITY if we fails to start making some changes in our own country. I like to ask this question to all the people who made a critic on Doc David, Are you really happy? 
    It is important to see things by putting yourself in others shoe and as a matter of fact many Bhutanese are facing a really tough time.  

    • Dear Detonate,
      Ask yourself when will you be happy? Go to highly developed country and enjoy all the material facilities and see whether  your  happy or not. I think happiness is all about how to be contented with what you have.
      .

  25. Sonam Jamtsho

    Total nonsense view of A capitalist who is obsessed by materialistic world and who teaches materialism.
    I question the motive of this paper “The Bhutanese” to bring out this article. I have never seen any newspaper that is happy to publish articles that are against the philosophy of its own nation. That too expounded by a great leader.

  26. Silent Observer

    Good Interview. Slap on the face!!! This is truly called “contructive criticism” GNH concept was a noble cause , which we had and could have but along the line few of educated like ourselves damaged it. PM should know charity begins at home… instead of preaching. Know our own condition. I still love the concept though.

  27. David is a westerner and living in the West where all the racism,dead culture, war and imperialism dominates everyday and they continue to have holy war with Islam and Communist.They know how to dominate others nations and declare war.He is brought up by such ideology and He will be definitely be critique to GNH.Because They know only outer cover  and chilip will steal the concept and and make it westernised. Be careful,forget about achieving peace and GNH.They will destabilise the peaceful nation and make hell blood shed around the world.

    • Kancha,you meant to say that there is no racism in the Land of GNH? Wow!!! I wonder where have you been all these times.
      And what about the rights of the people in GNH Land again?Are we in the same footing with US where Mr.David is from?

      There are just few examples.The list is endless in fact.

  28. Guess this Dr. David decides what roles leaders can play. As far as I understand, leaders must lead the people and country and if need be, forge new ideas and paths that are better suited to the country and people. This Dr. seems to be of the opinion that only academicians build models. If the leaders cant, academicians should. But if the leader can, why leave it to the academician. Most academicians I know are so impractical as their work is based mostly on theory and they usually don’t have actual self experience to draw from. Also they need not be accountable to the ppl so likely it will be even more impractical.

    • Your are wrong d.d.i. Dr David is right because leaders especially our leaders do not have any skills to develop a economic model. Not even the people in the CBS are able to develop a GNH model. They totally depend on consultants from abroad. Generally in western education system, it is the universities that propel most scientific innovations. Google it and you will see most of the brilliant inventions originated in the universities by the work of academicians. That is what he meant when he says that we have to leave it to academicians because it is a full time job.

  29. Com’ guys he is just a normal man trying to put his point of view. So no big deal whether he teaches leaders or not. His answers to “The Bhutanese ” at no 4 seems to be stupid. So I hope in future “The Bhutanese ” interview someone who is at least learned,intellectually sound and physiologically stable person. Who is without biased. I don’t think this man has anything to offer. He is dead against GNH-may be because working environment out there at Gedu College.

  30. Mr.Vijay K Shrotryia,I don’t agree with your statement at all.But what Mr.David has said is the truth and I think all Bhutanese should take it positively even though it is bitter.
    Mr.Vijay K Shrotryia is just another expatriate as someone has mentioned above who is trying to please the Bhutanese Government .But deep inside he knows the reality.

    So,it is some sort of eye opener to all the Bhutanese.Instead of defending ourselves,lets work towards real GNH and show him that Bhutan can do it.

  31. if Dr. David comes back to Bhutan i am ready to apart his body and head because his head is full of Negative impacts.

  32. The GNH is great and nothing can stain it. What more can we expect from a person who teaches business?

  33. ProudBhutanese

    Its quite funny to read the answers to first question by dr. David. The advices he is giving to our political leaders is exactly what our gnh philospy does. And still whats with his anti gnh talk.

  34. I do understand we do have flaws and in many ways we are behind in our development progress but GNH philosophy and its principles do not hinder growth and development. I think just because a Philosophy is there, the causes and conditions of happiness will not come automatic. I think it is there to guide us cautiously to execute development programs in all spheres. 

    I can see lot of arrogance in David’s statements which some of us especially this paper calls it as critical analysis. But there is no reason for us to get intimidated. We really need to set priorities and roll up our sleeves – in  all domains and indices of GNH. 

    However I do not agree that international propounding of GNH had hijacked the funds for domestic priorities. Remember many people accused government for over spending in developing various infrastructures in the country – that possibly as one of the major contributing factors to Rupee crisis. But I do agree a lot of homework needs to be done. We are too laid back though we do not mind pouring out our feelings in forums such as this. I doubt if half of us who write here even care to dispose the litters properly to begin with but we want government to do everything for us. 

  35. u idiot drakpa….dis shows hw much u knw abt gnh….gnh..is all about compassion and tolerance…bt ur damn egoistic kid…….learn to analyse critically…..as ever coin has two sides…..dr david is an intellect n had preach world ..nt like u who had nt gone outside bhutan….learn to respect boy….i wud rather separate ur head frm ur body…….heads off to dr david…..for sensitizing me on gnh critically…..

  36. I think some constructive criticism never harmed anybody – nothing is perfect people.

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
    Theodore Roosevelt

  37. Let’s not live in denial.

  38. YOU TALK ABOUT ECONOMIC, ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL MODELS THAT LEADERS MUST PURSUE, YOU HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD THE VERY FUNDMENTALS OF GNH. I AM SORRY BUT AS I KNOW DR. DAVID, HE LIVED AN AMERICAN LIFE IN GEDU; UNLESS YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED A TRUE BHUTANESE LIFE YOU CAN NEVER UNDERSTAND GNH. 
    JUST THAT YOU KNOW SOMETHING DOESNT MAKE YOU AN EXPERT. 

    • what are the very fundamentals of GNH? can you elaborate in a very intelligent manner and a not a ranting of the pillars and etc etc……..
      GNH is a wonderful philosophy and a guiding tool to help us execute our development plans in the best manner possible. any form of constructive criticism at this stage should be taken with a pinch of salt so we can better ourselves and brace ourselves for improvement. It is for people like Dr David to point out flaws and for us to examine it closely and make amendments where needed.
      Ps Living like a king does not make one a king…..

    • learn to accept others’ point of view, buddy. Is it that you would like only praises about our policies? Are our policies without flaws?
      This Dr. and all other learned people whoever criticize our system and policies are always seen with crooked eye by GNH citizens. How much GNH is this?  Probably its true that USA, Norway, UK and some other countries had  initiated the noble objectives of happiness long back. They did this welfare to their citizens without preaching to the world. And here, we dont do / follow even the slightest of it at home but just tour the world with GNH. We are probably behind, dont u see this fact?

  39. Thinley Wangdi

    I sincerely appreciate Dr. David’s straightforward and well thought out criticism of GNH. He is absolutely right that we Bhutanese should really get down to working towards our economic development, rather than always expecting the Govt or the outside agencies doing everything for us.

  40. GNH as a philosophy is excellent. But our unethical GNH brokers have been playing with it and spoiled its real essence.

  41. were is ghn wen der is rampant corruption indulged by people in power , unemployment among youth,poverty ,lack of basic infrastructural……etc….n u talk about antinational wen one man opens our mind……plez think critically n analysis it….n dnt feel afraid to voice ur opinion…

  42. Just imagine Dr ,that you had the power to lead Bhutan with it’s present  environment and circumstance .would you ,could you  do better ? If so how?
    A rich mans son seldom recognizes the hunger of a poor man .so to brush off GNH ,simply because it was born in a poor country is the height of arrogance.
    We are not perfect Dr ,infact  we are a bungle of indecisive ,incompetent wretches but we are trying to succeed as a Nation.
    What about GNH are you averse to ? That it was envisioned by The  Visionary King of a small piddly Country and is getting noticed all over the world as an alternative to “honey money ” societies all over the world?
    Development is a parallel.GNH and Bhutan can never be separated simply because it was born here.As far as our gestation ills,we simply need to make our mistakes and learn from them .
    I am sure your love for Bhutan drives your most encouraging comments and will be heeded by the powers that be.

  43. for those people who cannot stand Dr. David, I must say welcome to democracy and for others, Its high time that we also do not act like our government. lets welcome criticisms and lets look to improve further. As such we already know ours is a beautiful country. criticisms are not going to take that thing away. Only thing is that we need more rational Government to handle our state affairs. rest everything will be fine. Cheers! 

  44. Dear Dr. David, My initial reaction to your interview article interview. I do not know the full depth of the GNH International seminar in Brazil and I fully support your idea that it is better to do ou work at home rather than travel the globe propounding the idea as though we have already achieved it. However, where I disagree with you is that I have never seen in writing or any speeches that anyone form Bhutan has given stating that we have achieved the blissful state of GNH. What I understand is that, GNH is a goal that we intend to pursue and I do not see any wrong in a country pursuing a goal that it feels will help oneself. I do not see the need for all countries in the world to follow a concept or even a development philosophy that is already set by the west or the so called developed world. I fully understand that Jeffery Sachs nor Joseph Stiglitz may be able to live in GCBC as you did. However, this does not mean that they can support an idea that they feel may just provide an alternative. Dr. David, I have lived in Europe, Australia and America to know that all is not well in these countries. You may have all the wealth and the products, however, you also have a large number of complete homeless people along with abject poverty, if you have ever even ventured into those low income neighborhoods. In fact, most of you countrymen don’t even venture into these neighborhood for fear. I have never felt fear in Bhutan as I do in such neighborhoods, so don’t tell me about conditions in GCBC. 
    Wiht regard to amenities such as infrastructure etc.. I fully understand that Bhutan is not as well developed as America but you need to know that we are trying. You have had a century or two of development work ahead of us. We started our planned development in 1961 (HELLO) and yet we have a fairly workable system. What about America, I was surprised to find American cities still without tram systems, failing railway system and exhorbant air system. Well I am sure Dr. you make a fine salary but not all Americans do. So what about them.

    On my final reaction, I wanted to end with a positive note that I agree that our politicians shoudl do more at home than go around the world elucidating the concept which in a way feels like a waste of time. But then again they are politicians and they need to show just as American presidents who have no Foreign Relations/Policy credentials suddenly after becoming the President becomes the authority and expert in International Affairs… (Because the Constitution of America is liberal on this front), Isn’t it an irony??? 
    Dr. David… Live and Let Live…..

  45. Wow” BhutanGuy becoming very philosophical. Dr. David, please continue to provide your candid and independent views.

  46. Its nice if u can subscribe me as your membership..

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