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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Bhutan's happiness formula


The remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is the only country in the world which puts happiness at the heart of government policy.


The government must consider every policy for its impact not only on Gross Domestic Product, but also on GNH: "Gross National Happiness".


The politics of happiness has led Bhutan to make very different decisions from countries simply searching for wealth.

Bhutan advert

The capital, Thimpu, is remarkable for its lack of advertising. In an attempt to hold back consumerism the city council recently banned hoardings promoting Coke and Pepsi.

Televisions for sale

Bhutan was the last nation in the world to introduce television in 1999. Recently they banned a number of channels including international wrestling and MTV, which they felt did little to promote happiness.

Bhutanese children

Bhutan has even banned plastic bags and tobacco on the grounds that they make the country less happy.

Controlling the traffic

The one set of traffic lights Bhutan ever had was on this junction. But people found them frustrating, so they went back to a human being.


Buddhist prayer flags flutter in the wind. In Bhutan the government puts inner spiritual development on a par with material improvement.

Mountains in Bhutan

One of the pillars of Bhutan's happiness philosophy is care for the environment. Strict conservation laws are aimed at achieving sustainable development.

Market traders

Development has been moderated and people are less well off financially than they could have been.

Bhutan landscape

Bhutan has been able to adopt radical policies partly because it is a remote kingdom and partly because it is an absolute monarchy.

Mark Easton reveals Bhutan's formula for happiness


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