Not so gross national happiness

Thursday November 03, 2011 Written by Luke

Sometime back in the 1970s, the tiny Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan decided to replace their Gross National Product with a measure of Gross National Happiness. These days it is the eighth happiest nation on Earth, (despite having a miniscule GDP of $5,429 per person).

Internet artist Jonathan Harris decided there was something in this, so he spent two weeks in late 2007 wandering around the country, chatting to its people and giving them brightly coloured balloons. (Because there ain’t nothing happier than balloons!) The result is Balloons of Bhutan, a multi-coloured, real world visualisation of the tiny kingdom’s state of happiness and the hopes, aspirations and favourite jokes of its people.