- freely available
Sustainability 2013, 5(9), 3640-3664; https://doi.org/10.3390/su5093640
2. The 30-Year Update to Limits to Growth—Recommendations for Moving towards Sustainability
3. Study Site and Methods
4. How Can the System Be Changed?
4.1. New Perspectives on Development
“…a sustainable society would be interested in qualitative development, not physical expansion. It would use material growth as a considered tool, not a perpetual mandate. Neither for nor against growth, it would begin to discriminate among kinds of growth and purposes for growth…it would ask what the growth is for, and who would benefit…and whether the growth could be accommodated by the sources and sinks of the earth.”(, p. 255)
Gross National Happiness in Bhutan
“…achieve a balance between the spiritual and material aspects of life, between peljor gomphel (economic development) and gakid (happiness and peace). When tensions were observed between them, we have deliberately chosen to give preference to happiness and peace, even at the expense of economic growth, which we have regarded not as an end in itself, but as a means to achieve improvements in the well-being and welfare of the people.”(, p. 19)
|Indicator||Prior level (year)||Current level & projections|
|Percentage of underweight children under 5 yrs||17% (1999)||12.7% (2010) |
projected 9% in 2012
|Proportion of population living below minimum level of dietary energy consumption||3.8% (2003)||5.9% (2007) |
projected 1.9% in 2012
|Proportion of population living below poverty line||31.7% (2003)||23.2% (2007) |
projected 15% in 2012
|Income inequality (Gini)||0.416 (2003)||0.352 (2007)|
|Unemployment||1.9% (2001)||3.1% (2011)|
|Percentage of households with electricity||54% (2007)||73% (2011) |
projected 100% in 2013
|Percentage of women in Civil Service||21.2% (2000)||31.62% (2010)|
|Maternal mortality rate (per 100,000 live births)||255 (2000)||140 (2012)|
|Percentage of births covered by skilled attendants||24% (2000)||64.5% (2010) |
projected 90% in 2012
|Total fertility rate||4.7 (2000)||2.6 (2010)|
|Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)||70.7 (1999)||47 (2010) |
projected 25 in 2012
|Number of doctors (per 1000 of population)A||0.13 (2005)||0.26 (2010)|
|Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water||68 (2001)||96 (2010) |
projected 100% in 2012
|Percentage of population with access to sanitation||88 (2000)||93 (2010)|
projected 95% in 2012
|Net primary school enrollment||62% (2000)||93.7% (2010) |
projected 100% in 2012
|Gender parity in primary education||82% (2000)||99.4% (2010)|
|Gender parity in secondary education||78% (2000)||103.5% (2010)|
|Adult literacy rate||52.8% (2005)||Projected 65% in 2012|
4.2. New Metrics for Development
“…sustainable society is one that has in place informational, social, and institutional mechanisms to keep in check the positive feedback loops that cause exponential population and capital growth.”(, p. 254)
“Learn about and monitor both the real welfare of the human population, and the real impact on the world ecosystem of human activity. Inform governments and the public as continuously and promptly about environmental and social conditions as about economic conditions. Include environmental and social costs in economic prices; recast economic indicators such as the GDP, so that they do not confuse costs with benefits or throughput with welfare or the deterioration of natural capital with income”.(, p. 259)
Gross National Happiness Index
“… coordinate the formulation of all policies, plans and programmes in the country and ensure that GNH is mainstreamed into the planning, policy making and implementation process by evaluating their relevance to the GNH framework.”
|Ecological diversity and resilience|
|Cultural diversity and resilience|
4.3. Changes in Social Structures
“The emergence of Bhutan as a nation state has been dependent upon the articulation of a distinct Bhutanese identity, founded upon our Buddhist beliefs and values... This identity, manifest in the concept of ‘one nation, one people’, has engendered in us the will to survive as a nation state… It is a unity that binds us all together and enables us to share a common sense of identity.”(, p. 1)
“There are more religious people these days because there is more awareness of the teachings and preachings. Now there are more shedras (monk school of the Nyingmapa tradition of Buddhism) which are increasing the awareness of the community.”
“Compared to the past, there are more religious people now because the teachings are more common. People are more aware now because they can hear teachings through the media [radio and newspapers].”
“Religious people have increased over the years because nowadays there are a lot of great saints and lamas that are coming and giving preachings. The current Je Khempo (Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan) is giving more teachings in rural areas now, so people are more aware. Even small kids are aware of good and bad deeds.”
“Nowadays religion has increased because everyone goes to school and they are educated. Religion is incorporated into the curriculum and they teach values also. People are learning and there are 10 Geylongs (lay monks) now here whereas in the past there weren’t any.”
5. The Challenges ahead for Bhutan
“It depends on the person and the way he thinks. If he’s kind enough, he’s happy when people get better off. But some, they are competitive. When one family does better, their neighbors feel like they need to do better.”
When asked whether people desire things more now that in the past, one woman responded that people:“In the past, people were more cooled down. Now that the country is developing, people’s hearts are getting harder. Now with development, there is a chance for wealth and people have to fight for wealth so they are that way now.”
Another participant in a focus group meeting in a village in central Bhutan stated:“…don’t feel jealous when people get new equipment, but what they think is that I would also be happy if I could buy such things. It doesn’t make them unhappy, but they wish they could also buy things, so if they can afford to buy it, they will.”
“now people are starting to wear fashionable ghos and kiras (traditional male and female dress) and their kids want expensive things. Before everything was simple.”
6. Discussion and Conclusion
Conflicts of Interest
References and Notes
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