Gross National Happiness Conference Panel One: How do you govern for Happiness?

Gross National Happiness Conference Panel One: How do you govern for Happiness?



(gentle guitar music) – Good morning everyone. I am Kinga Tshering, still from Bhutan– (audience laughs) And nice to have all of you
back after the opening ceremony. So today, it's a great honor
for me to greet all of you with the stellar star
performers and experts in the world of happiness and
connected to Bhutan and GNH. So we have a very, very
interesting panel session for this morning. I'll just go over some few
sort of housekeeping rules. So I will introduce our
honorable speakers very briefly because I hope everyone
has got the program booklet and the bio, everything in detail is there so I'll keep the introduction very brief. I will request each of
the speakers to talk for about seven to 10 minutes
and with the confidence of some of the honorable speakers, I have requested if our chairman Dasho, who has traveled all the way from Bhutan so the criteria was the furthest distance and the smallest country so he gets to speak for 15 minutes. (audience laughs) I hope that's okay for
you, to make him happy. So we will have a timekeeper as well, Dave can you please stand up and so he'll be showing
three minutes, two minutes, one minute, just to get our
honorable speakers on the time. After the honorable speakers
have finished speaking, then I will pose a few questions and then also request them to also maybe if they have some pressing questions for each other to exchange that. And then we will open up for questions from all of the honorable
audience members here today 'cause I think it's really
about each and every one of you who has braved the Saturday morning rain to be here with us today. So with this, the panel section team is actually governing for happiness and as a matter of fact we borrowed it from Professor Sophus Reinert
who has got a case study on Bhutan which he teaches at HBS so I will be mentioning
that as we do introduce him. And also the Bhutanese statecraft and the spirit of Gross
National Happiness, for which we have Dasho
Karma sharing with us his experiences in the
Gross National Happiness. And also we have, as part of the spirit of
Gross National Happiness something related to Buddhism because we have our
predominant religion in Bhutan is Buddhism, 80% and we have Hindu and then Christian as well and Professor Wolfgang is there with us. And also we have Professor John Helliwel who is the editor of the
World Happiness Report which has just come out on March 20th and we have copies of the Happiness Report but this is the 2018 version. And the simple reason is because we couldn't get enough copies for 2019 and I think Bhutan
climbed up only two places so (chuckles) but anyway
there are some copies of 2018 and 2017 which the bursar's office has kindly shared with us so if anybody would like
to take copies of those that would be available. So with these few ground rules and the theme for the panel discussion, let me first introduce to
you Dasho Karma Tshiteem. For I think those of us who have been at the opening ceremony, the keynote speaker Madam Doma Tshering has already introduced Dasho who has been the leading
GNH practitioner in Bhutan. He's chairman of the Royal
Civil Service Commission so that is the entire
bureaucracy in Bhutan and Dasho and his commission
has actually coined the term from bureaucracy and
bureaucrats to bureaucraft. So I think these are some of the terms which has come out of GNH
and bureaucraft as well. Dasho has been secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission which is equivalent to planning commission so again to reinforce the
lens of GNH in Bhutan. Dasho was appointed the chairman of the Civil Service Commission in 2014 and also awarded the Red Scarf in 2015 by His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. So if you had noticed
again during the ceremony, I was wearing a white scarf and Dasho was wearing a red scarf. So the red scarf is an honor scarf received from His Majesty the King. So with this may I invite Dasho to kindly share your
presentation, thank you. (audience applauds)
You can sit down. – Very good morning. Thank you very much, Kinga
for that kind introduction. So I believe I have 15
minutes, not a moment to waste. What I'll do is talk about what the pursuit of happiness as an overarching
development goal entails. The whole journey started
when the words GNH, "Gross National Happiness, "is more important than GDP." And these words were uttered by no other than His Majesty the fourth King of Bhutan who was running the affairs
of the country literally on a day-to-day basis and
that really began the journey of pursuing happiness as an
overarching development goal. Until 2008 when we enacted a constitution and we became a democratic
constitutional monarchy, there was actually no definition
of Gross National Happiness because the architect, the
author of the philosophy was himself running the
affairs of the country. But in 2008 when we became a democratic constitutional monarchy and now we're going to
have plurality of players then we felt the need to define. And that's when the work of developing the Gross
National Happiness Index began. So basically in terms
of pursuing happiness as an overarching goal
based on my experience as the first secretary of the Gross National
Happiness Commission, there were three things we did. First, we had to break down the philosophy to an index that could be used to gauge and guide Bhutan's development. And so that's how we created the Gross National Happiness Index. We saw at that time that all the other development
indicators, indexes were insufficient to capture this idea that came from His
Majesty, the fourth King. And we had the UN HDI, we have GDP but we found
all of this inadequate in terms of capturing what really matters and what should be the
pursuit of good governance. Second, we carried out periodic surveys. These surveys are rather long. In fact, the original survey took about four hours to complete. I gather a couple of respondents fainted. (audience laughs)
It must have been tough. I think the surveys must
have made them miserable. That was in 2010, the
second survey in 2015, it was reduced to about 25 pages but you still have to
answer about 200 questions. I took that during the long
break I had in my flight here and I realized that it is still something which would make you quite miserable. But these surveys which are
carried out across the country, it's a huge exercise. It takes almost between
three to six months and these give us an idea
of where we're heading in terms of our desire to
enhance Gross National Happiness. So that was the second thing we did, carried out surveys based on the GNH Index to gauge and guide our development. And the third thing we did is to come out with what we call a policy screening tool because what is the role of government but to influence its citizens
for pro-social behavior? That's why we have taxes, right? Not only for equitable
distribution but to make sure that we incentivize people to do what will promote the greater good for as many as possible. So for that we created
this policy screening tool which is nothing but a
tool based on the GNH Index and we literally put this on like lens, a pair of GNH lens, to look at policies. So irrespective of whatever policy, we use these lens to
evaluate those policies. So these are the three things and I thought I'll just
highlight briefly the GNH Index because that is the base which informs all these other tools we use as part of the bureaucraft to try and achieve happiness
for the Bhutanese population. So the GNH Index is
made up of nine domains. So in Bhutan, of course many people feel or the perception they have is Bhutan, oh the happiest country. And we're no different
from any other country and as a government we'll never pretend that we are literally trying to put smiles on people's faces because that's not what we are literally trying to do. Because we always recognize that happiness at the individual level must remain the
responsibility of individuals. What can the government
do through policies? Create the right conditions,
conditions which allow people to find happiness, hopefully conditions, and these conditions could
be in a variety of ways. So we look at creating the
right conditions in nine domains and we feel those nine
domains capture all the areas that are critical to
allow and enable people to have the best
opportunity of flourishing, fulfilling themselves. So what are these nine domains? Five of the nine domains
are very much areas which are primary
considerations for any country. Health, because good health
is critical for happiness. Education, without education
I think there's no question of unleashing one's full potential. The third, living standards. That covers food, clothing, shelter. Unemployment keeping it
low, so on and so forth. Fourth, ecological
diversity and resilience. The natural environment
so important, critical and I think only today we're realizing how important it is to
sustainability and flourishing. But this was on our
agenda as far back as 1972 when His Majesty, the fourth
king pronounced those words. Environment was one of the four pillars. Fifth, good governance. Good governance, well I'm sure you know but for those who don't, critical and strongly
related to happiness. If you have poor governance, it's very difficult to be happy. You turn on the TV, you
start getting miserable. (audience laughs) So good governance itself,
whether is corruption, the leadership, the
public services, critical but these five areas I would say are areas which are primary considerations
for every government. But the other four areas
out of the nine areas that make up the GNH Index, they are actually quite innovative and we feel that they
are even as important, indeed if not more important than the five domains I just mentioned but they are the domains which actually get no
attention from the government. So what are those four domains? One out of the four, community vitality. All happiness research
and frankly speaking, we don't need research for a lot of this, you can just reflect on your own lives. What makes a happy life? It's your friendships, it's the depth and quality of relationships you have, whether it's your family or friends or the community in which
you live, so critical. So that's one domain. The next, cultural diversity. So you see us very proudly
wearing our national dress. We wear this like you wear suit to work and not only that, this is just one aspect or one facet of culture. There are so many facets. If you come to Bhutan you will notice our
architecture is very traditional and our cities look very different because we have zoning rules which ensure that our
traditional architecture thrives. But also the other aspects of culture, for instance social etiquette. You must have seen this
morning, we did a lot of bowing. That's actually to build harmony. It's difficult to be upset with somebody when they come with a smile on the face and bow to you deeply and truly
and honestly, very critical. And we cannot underestimate the importance of these aspects, will they build a fabric
of strong societies? Indeed these are important because they provide the
basis of our identity. And again I think all
literature on happiness shows that you must have a
strong sense of identity to really be happy,
otherwise what do you do? You buy labels and wear the labels outside and that's how we try to get
some identity going, I guess but that can be quite empty and not really deeply
beneficial to you in a long run. So cultural diversity and
vigilance, critical domain because it's the
foundation of our identity. Then the remaining two, and
what are the remaining two? Anyone knows? I'm buying time, my memory is getting bad. Time use. Why is time use important? In fact, in the Gross
National Happiness outlook, I have always gone around saying that, "Time is not hours or second on a clock "but it's our very lives." And if you look at time as life you'd start making very different choices, actually choices which
will make you happier. So many times I ask people,
"What's most important to you?" And they talk about the
relations, their family, their parents, aging parents,
and so on and so forth. And then you ask them, "How
do you spend your time?" And it's on Facebook, et cetera. (audience laughs) And I tell them that's
a recipe for unhappiness because a happiness
recipe is where you align the use of your time which is your life to what you care about. So time, extremely important
and so as a domain, one of the nine domains, what does the government do
to promote balanced time use? So we actually have legislation
saying that, you know, eight hours of work, eight hours of play, eight hours of I guess sleep. Any other pattern would
be unsustainable, right? And that's what we try to promote so even in the civil service
where I worked as the chairman, I always talking about
this idea of working smart. Don't work hard, work smart. If you work smart, 9:00
to 5:00, Monday to Friday, more than enough time
to get everything done. After that go out, make
the most of your life. Spend it in quality ways
so that then you come back and again you're able to
serve the organization well because you come back
fully charged, so critical. And what's the ninth
domain, the last domain? Psychological well-being. Why is psychological well-being important? In a sense this is almost
like an outcome of, because you can almost, well
you can say that the highest, better states of psychological well-being is equated to happiness. But also because psychological
well-being is actually about the spiritual half that exists, that makes us as persons. And like the physical half
that we give three meals and sometimes probably
more meals than that, the spiritual half also
actually needs nourishment but we ignore it. And actually when you
ignore the nourishment of your spiritual half, again it's not a recipe for happiness. And so under that, we
actually look at things like meditation and
indeed based on a survey which showed that on the
indicator of meditation, very few business people meditate. On the other hand, we know
the strong correlation between meditation, greater mindfulness, and therefore greater happiness. We introduced meditation
in all our schools. So these nine domains guide
what the government does. These are the nine domains and
the indicators underlying it are what we measure through
these periodic surveys. And a subset of the indicators
from these nine domains make up the GNH lens
that I mentioned we use for reviewing policies. And it's serious business. If policies viewed with
the GNH lenses do not pass a certain threshold, the
government does not accept it. The policy is rejected. We have passed many policies successfully with these tools like education policy, economic development policy but some policies have persistently failed to meet the GNH criteria. For instance, the
mineral developing policy and so what it tells a sector is, we'll pass those policies
only when you are able to pass and meet the GNH threshold. What is the value of this? I thought that would be
the last point I can make. The value of this GNH
policy screening tool which makes you have a
conversation on all indicators under the nine domains irrespective of what the
policy focus is is critical. It is actually getting you
to look at all the trade-offs that exists so that
when you make a choice, you make the best choice. I think decision-making theory shows that decisions are heavily influenced by the framework you use to make them. So if you make an economic decision using just an economic framework, it may be very good economically
but maybe that's why we have all the problem of climate change, and so on and so forth because we never had a
comprehensive framework that looked at the true trade-offs. And that's the value,
the holistic frame of GNH and how it helps
policymakers make decisions. As a result of all this, I am hopeful that the
chances of our citizens finding hopefully happier
and more fulfilling lives will be higher. I thank you for your time and attention. (audience applauds) – Thank you Dasho Karma for
giving us a very, very succinct but a comprehensive overview of the statecraft of Gross
National Happiness in Bhutan. And especially I think if you
make the surveys too long, it makes people unhappy and so I think we'll
find out more about that. Professor John Helliwel is obviously, always looking at me (chuckles). But there's another thing that
Dasho as he shared with us I suppose I'll make this as part of a follow-up question as well. One thing is at the village
level, there is also a joke that Dasho actually shared earlier with us saying that, "In Bhutan
name is in some ways "a very common thing, in
some ways very special "and unique to everybody." So Kaka is Kaka and a
lot of people ask him why do you have only one name (chuckles)? And the GNH version of
translation in Bhutan is (speaks in foreign language) so which is also a name of a
very, very attractive ladies and women in Bhutan. And I believe when you asked the question in some of the villages they said, "Oh, we have heard about
her but never seen her." So I (chuckles) just wanted
to prove Dasho on that. How is the practice of the whole GNH lens at the governing level in your experience translated at the village,
local, and individual level? – Well, at the local level of course they do not have deep
knowledge of the nine domains, and the 33 indicators, and
the policy screening tool. Those are really tools
for bureaucrafty people like us to use at the
local government level but however they have a very clear idea that Gross National Happiness is built on the four pillars. And these four pillars were
something we came out with when we deconstructed
in 2008 to define GNH and come out with a GNH Index, we had to look at what
the fourth king did. So when we looked at the
fourth king's actions, what characterized his reign, we saw that there were four pillars and so that's where you
hear in older literature about GNH, about the four pillars, sustainable and
socio-economic development, conservation of the environment, preservation and promotion of our culture and traditions, and good governance. To this level, even local leaders, local people have awareness but beyond that what I
mentioned the ninth domain, that is actually what we are using as a planning body to allocate resources, come out with interventions to create and improve conditions. One thing I would like to say and this is something that a gentleman, he's a lecturer somewhere but he did one of the more
in-depth studies on GNH. And what he found in that study and I'll agree with his
findings which is that we were quite good in the articulation of Gross National Happiness. We were quite clever in
the way we broke it down into the domains and the indicators but in terms of our policy interventions to realize policy intentions,
it was quite weak. And yet he saw in those four
case studies that he did that the outcomes were
still very consistent with policy intentions even though the tools
we had were not so good. And he came to the conclusion
that the reason is because the underlying values, the values that underlie this whole GNH is shared by Buddhism, it is is informed and
influenced heavily by Buddhism. So since the many actors
had the same values so the outcomes sort of aligned even though in between the
instruments were not that clever. So that's what I would like to share, that yes the knowledge up to
the type of details I shared is not there but at least
up to these four pillars and the underlying value
that is shared quite widely and I think that's why
we see that some success with it whatever we try to do. – Yes, thank you, thank you Dasho. So I think the threat of I guess value of that every community
level and local level are a very important component of the happiness principle and philosophy. I would like to next move
to Professor Sophus Reinert from the Harvard Business School. Professor is to me I think very inspiring and well known and popular
for his very popular cause, may I say, governing for happiness because of the case study
on Bhutan (chuckles). (audience laughs)
No actually, it's a very popular course on globalization in emerging
market with 25 countries and it's a fascinating course,
enjoyed every minute of it. And professor has done
a very, very thorough and comprehensive study on Bhutan and his case study is called "The Governing for Happiness on Bhutan." And it gives me a great
pleasure and honor professor to welcome you and share
with us your views. – Thank you. Do you mind if I sit here?
– Thanks. (audience applauds) Thank you, Kinga. Kinga gave me seven minutes
so I'll try to stick to that. Now as should be evident,
I am not Bhutanese and I sleep less than eight hours a night. (audience laughs) I am in fact Norwegian and
Norway has sort of a history of caring about happiness and for those of you
who know any Norwegians, it's sort of surreal that again and again, Norway is declared one
of the happiest countries in the world when every single Norwegian has this deep dark soul. (audience laughs) There is attention there that has driven, I think my curiosity at
least with regard to Bhutan and happiness and meaning of
life and all these things. Now, taking a step back,
why on earth am I here? There are not that many
avenues for collaboration between the Business School
and the Divinity School, low and behold shouldn't surprise, many you know what sort
of gods we worship there– (audience laughs) But I must say only a couple of weeks ago, I found myself at the Divinity School for a very particular reason. Namely, there was no
other library at Harvard where you could find the
complete works of Karl Marx. And there are many things
one can make of that but the most important thing
I'd like to communicate is that we all know somehow that capitalism, the way it's been pursued
for the past few decades, it's simply not sustainable. We are at crossroads. We're all in the middle of rethinking how to engage with this. We have new courses in
reimagining capitalism that are now increasingly
popular at the Business School and we need to engage
with the world in new ways and that's how I
essentially came to Bhutan. I had to teach for first year HBS students a course in macroeconomics and we teach national economic accounting, we teach GDP accounting. And in a way we quickly, you
know students quickly realized that there are quite obvious
costs and benefits to GDP. It's extremely useful for
very particular things. It's elegant, it's comparable,
it's really powerful but then it also has
these clear drawbacks. If you bomb a country and
rebuild all its cities, that's great growth and
clearly there's something that isn't quite measured properly there. (audience laughs) And say if the entire
sections of the economy that are not noticed like housework so if I were to marry my
pool boy, GDP would go down. I mean I don't have a pool or a pool boy but the point is there are all these important human activities that somehow aren't
taken into consideration. So I ended up always
concluding my class on GDP by reading a quote by our
local historian Bobby Kennedy, who quite eloquently explained, "Gross national product does not allow "for the health of our children, "the quality of their education,
or the joy of their play. "It does not include the
beauty of our poetry, "or the strength of our marriages, "the intelligence of our public debate, "or the integrity of our public officials. "It measures neither
our wit nor our courage, "neither our wisdom nor our learning, "neither our compassion nor
our devotion to our country. "It measures everything, in short, "except that which makes life worthwhile." So I realized my entire course on GDP was to undermine the
concepts as much as I could and I thought how to find alternatives. Bhutan was the obvious
alternative at the time and I've been teaching this
case for about seven years, more than 700 students have
taken my case on Bhutan. And I thought it would be useful to say just a few words about
what my lessons have been of teaching this case on
Bhutan to 700 MBA students. And there are sort of themes that occur and repeat themselves. You may not know what the case is, so a case is a document like this. It's usually 15 pages of
pros-analysis of a country, followed by 15 pages of statistics and narratively GDP will
be exhibit number two, following the map which
is exhibit number one. And all cases begin with
some person, usually a dude, looking out a window, contemplating some major decisions.
(audience laughs) We call these decision points. I try to be inventive and saying
he was staring into a wall. You know there are ways of trying to make, students read hundreds of these so after a while you have
to get their attention. But the decision points of the Bhutan case was quite straightforward. It was given the conditions of Bhutan, should they dam this big
river to get electricity, to get light into households, and to export electricity to
India to get foreign exchange. Or should they not because
if they dammed the river, it might lead to the
extinction of a rare heron. And it was a way of simplifying
the dichotomy of GDP, GNH, and students inevitably
are divided by this as a point of a decision but it is meant to give you good examples to bolster different kinds of arguments. Students tend not surprisingly, to think it's the Maslovian time. That there's a hierarchy of needs and Bhutan needs electricity
for households at this point more than it needs those extra herons. But it's always a
torturous sort of dilemma but it really underlines
the one main takeaway that all students get by this which is to quotes Her
Excellency this morning, "The necessity of a more
holistic look at life "and essentially the entire
system with which we operate." We need to take care
not only of my pool boy but the environment. And all these other ways
of looking at things are essentially not even an option, they're a necessity at this
point in our global development. They also however do tend to highlight so drawbacks and they were evident even in the discussions this
morning between the dean and Her Excellency. In that the dean spoke very
importantly of inclusion and we've heard the word
community repeatedly. Students always pick this up, whose happiness are we
really looking out for given our consideration is for making the world a better place? Even the motto of HBS
students is to teach people to make a difference in the world, you know to ideally
about a good difference. I mean, there are many
ways of making a difference but I take it I found a new, the original motto was even better. It was to teach decent people to make a decent profit, decently. It was clearly too quaint and
now we're making a difference but students do see that there are ways of making differences that operate on different
levels of a society. We have the world, we have
the community of humanity, we have the community of Bhutan, and then we have the
communities of individuals who also have been raised often. And there are times when
happiness for the community may not necessarily be
happiness for the individual, whether that is a minority of some sort or a refugee or there are
many forms of communities. And though clearly, GNH is something the world
needs to take seriously, there are no perfect systems and they're all works in progress. You may not know this but
suddenly there's no reason that any of you should know this but the first attempts
at measuring welfare was an 18th century
affair, long before GDP. And it was put together by
an 18th century Welshman named Henry Lloyd who said, "The way to measure
the welfare of polities "is to add up population plus taxation "and then divide by a million." Now clearly you learn that, yes France is better than
Portugal by those terms but clearly there are so many things you lose out on these things. These measures are always as
the critique at the time was, at times somewhat crude and absurd. It's a process of learning and we're all embarking on this together which is why I'm so delighted that we're good this
excellent conference together to really think seriously about really what is the
most important thing in life? And I think the ultimate
takeaway for my students is that, and my own working with
Bhutan I guess is that Maslow didn't just give
us a hierarchy of needs. He gave us a very neat metaphor that many claim because
Wittgenstein came up with but "If everything you have is a hammer "then most things start
looking like nails." And Bhutan is I think the
best reminder to all of us that we can have more than
one tool in our toolkit. We cannot just have the hammer of GDP. We may not want to entirely
discard the hammering of GDP but we need to be conscious
of the spectrum of tools that public policy needs to domesticate for the pursuit of happiness,
not mainly for individuals and communities but indeed
for humanity and such. I believe that was exactly 10 minutes. Thank you very much. (audience applauds) – Thank you, Professor
Reinert for sharing with us the very succinct
summary of the case study which when I was taking his class took me over two weeks just
to work through (chuckles) so thank you for that. So professor, I think
having had the privilege of being in your class
and getting the feedbacks of a wonderful students. I think this is a huge class,
I think almost as big as this, one of the things that I hear was of course the challenges
that you mentioned especially across the river,
Harvard Business School, the golden passport, the passion
of innovation, capitalism and I do appreciate that
you have dared to venture across to this side of the river in search of (chuckles) spirituality. And then some of the
books that you're after– – [Sophus] I hope they'll take me back. (audience laughs) – I hope so yeah, we'll
be happy to have you here. Let me see if I get these people to dean but people say, "Well, how do
you really sort of convince "and make an impact in a environment?" Where not intentionally but just the fact that it's a business world, it's in some ways a rat
chase rat, and cutthroat, and just to basically golden passport is actually at the cost of a lot of times, at the expense of others. And I think to your point on
the definition of happiness and what good are you looking
for, is it for the community? Is it for the individual? And to that extent, whether even somebody may be in a certain situation is capable of defining
what is good for himself or herself even, I think to look at sort of a more of a
content philosophy as well. So your take on how have
you been able to influence or convince your students? – I must say I like making fun of myself and all institutions. I mean nothing personal about this. I think the Business School
has changed dramatically and I think there's not
only a supply of course but there's also a demand of new ways of thinking about this. There's an enormous
hunger among the students for finding ways of making
the world a better place through private enterprise. The Social Enterprise Initiative is one of the most popular
ones at the school. And in a way there's a risk
of having a sort of 1950s take on sort of "Mad Men" take on
what the world of business is and the world of business is changing and I'm glad we can be part of that. I should say this is the last case I teach at the very, very end of my course which is the last course students take in the second semester
of their second year. And it's in the module about
the future of globalization and the meaning of life. And it is inevitable, every single year, it is the student's favorite case, precisely because they feel
a need for thinking seriously about these broader issues,
about their role in the world and role of business in that so. – Thank you, professor. So with that update in the case, maybe I'll sign up again. (audience laughs) Thank you so much. Next I would like to move on to Professor Wolfgang Dreshler. Professor is at the Davis Center
here at Harvard University. Professor is also a
professor of governance at Tallinn University
Technology and Estonia. Professor has a PhD from
the University of Marburg, an honorary doctorate from Corvinus University of Budapest. Has been advisor to the
president of Estonia and among many other things, professor has been a thought leader especially in the areas of governance, public administration, and specifically with contextual
relationship to Bhutan, Southeast Asia. And as far as I know
professor is the only one who has done a comprehensive
study of Buddhist economy in three of the most fascinating
countries in the world and one of them I hope is Bhutan. (audience laughs) So with this professor, take it away. – Thank you very much, Kinga. What a pleasure it is to be here and what a wonderful way to
spend one's Saturday morning. My generation would still say this is when you're at
home watching cartoons, eating bad food. That's not a thing anymore because you know the older ones of you who remember television, the
younger ones don't anymore. But still how nice it is to have a Saturday morning like this but that's already me
being over to be funny for this morning. Because for those of you who
have a South Asian background, come from there, or study that, we have the 13th of April, 2019 today. Does that ring a bell, that date? Okay, so today is the 100th anniversary of the Amritsar massacre, the most important of the anti-Indian, anti-fuel Congress or
Indian independent movements by the British crown that moved
in the garden of Amritsar. And there were peaceful assembly
of 1,200 to 1,600 people and British opened fire without
warning targeting everybody, women, children, and the men. Within two minutes of moving in, they had some machine guns
and when Colonel Dyer, who commanded them was later asked why he didn't put the machine guns in, he said because "The
doorways were too small. "If they would have been wider, "of course I would have used them "because it is important to
teach these people a lesson." Why am i mentioning this, other than that this is
a very important date for that part of the world? What we know from the investigations later and also of the lieutenant
governor of the Punjab, a guy by the name of O'Dwyer, who was actually the main perpetrator, is that these people were
actually absolutely sure that they were improving
the situation in the Punjab. That they did the right thing,
that they had all the theory, that they had all the
ethics on their side. These are people to whom
you can't leave voting because they don't know
what it really means, mind you this is India and
it's people coming from Britain where we see today, okay never mind but– (audience laughs) In the end you know the the Gandhian point to say that western civilization
would be a good idea is not entirely frivolous
a statement, yeah? And that is very important before I start talking about Bhutan because one of the most
interesting things for me is the strange tension between Bhutan and Gross National Happiness as a PR tool, as something towards the outside and also as something to
be packaged for the world, you know for a better world for us. Can we transfer Bhutan
as it is into our lives and what it means in the inside of Bhutan? Now of course, Gross National
Happiness completely changed, the history of this is not written but it meant something
completely different when the fourth king phrased it but even during the last decades, during the various prime ministerships, it really changed its meaning. So there is no such thing as the GNH but you would have to talk
about which one it is. But why I was mentioning
the Amritsar story, I do think that in the end,
it is up to the Bhutanese to decide what the GNH is. Well of course being
an academic that said, I will now offer my interpretation of it but with this caveat that in the end I would find it more than legitimate but actually ideal if the
Bhutanese don't listen to people who look like me. Because lesson of world
history in the last 100 years is if you do that there may be an issue. So I think that overall,
my main area is governance and actually public management where Bhutan has stuck
to its own traditions and as we would say at
the government department, upgraded themselves, that
means became a better version of themselves rather than
adopting western principles. And packaging the happiness in such a way that it is western compatible, that has been a success whereas the takeover of western reforms has not always been as successful as would have been desirable. And I phrase it that friendly because I'm sitting next to you. (audience laughs) So this is an important thing here. On the other hand, let
me say very clearly, it is not frivolous to say that Bhutan is so much better
known and so much more loved by the world because of GNH than would be logical for
a country of that size and sandwiched between India and China, both of which have a track record of taking over little
countries in the Himalayas just because they want to,
not only China but also India. This is an important story
for the Bhutanese context but word for this is
(speaks foreign language). But what you see over the time is this shift of the meaning
of GNH inside and outside, and in a certain sense I
think it is fair to say, not everybody agrees, that it has become all the more scientific, all
the more western-compatible, and sellable in a certain sense and that is not a bad
thing for various reasons. But on the other hand, you know this is one
of these public policy, international public policy tensions that we can't really solve. What is more important, global standards, we are all one humankind or saying we do respect the
local context first of all, and we think about whether
we should really not engage in some high-quality shut-uppery
from the western side before we give moral
lessons to other places because the track record
of that is so catastrophic. Now if I look at the
genesis of GNH in context, and this is what Dasho
Kinga kindly mentioned as one of my main
interests and indeed it is, then what we see is that
GNH is not as unique as it is sometimes mentioned,
neither by its time nor by its context but it is a typical mid-70s form
of Buddhist economics. That is when Buddhist
economics really got back to center stage also in the west. Many of you will know the book by E. F. Schumacher, "Small Is Beautiful", and that then reverberates back to Asia and gets into the context
of Buddhist economics that is not the Buddhism as such but a very very specific form of it with ecology, sustainability, religious, heavy religious, and so on, and so on. It's usually focused on
agriculture not an industry. That is different in different ways but Buddhism as such is
not about agriculture but the way it emerged then
and what we today understand as Buddhist economics is that. And classic other examples today is still the sufficiency
economy in Thailand and also the unification
of king and people in Jakarta which is shocking to many because that comes from a sultan. And how can it be a sultan Buddhist king, but yes it's possible even if some absolutists don't like it. Back then Schumacher based it actually on non-monarchical case, oh God three minutes, that really kills me.
(audience laughs) So, how can I run through that? Ask me some good questions
later that I can really finish. Buddhist economics like that are based on a definition of happiness that it doesn't make you
happy to get what you want but that you manage what you want. That you reduce your wants
beyond that what you really need. No Buddhist economic says you
shouldn't have clean water but do you really need the
last version of the iPhone? Actually, in my opinion
shouldn't need iPhone at all but if you go for the iPhones then don't go for the last one. This kind of thing of
ostentatious behavior, mass consumption, and so
on, does not make you happy. And the logic in the
Buddhist economic system is that there is a moral authority,
empirically almost always a generally trusted Buddhist monarch, the so called Dharmaraja
that provides a space within which you can find
your dharma that allows that. So there is a logical
combination between the two and the GNH is originally
envisioned I think as this, if it's a form of Buddhist economics, let me acknowledge the
elephant in the room that is an issue for
those in these countries who are not Buddhists and
not part of that system. That said it also means that the system is not as
transferable as you think. We have this big industry
trying to secularize, popularize, and westernized Buddhism, you know what they call
the yoga-mat approach to Buddhism in order to sell it better. But if we are serious about that which I think in the
Divinity School we can be, and we can say that this is
a form of Buddhist economics, it needs a government set up also that is not really transferable. So what I think we can do, and what I find interesting about the GNH is it's not interesting
where it's scalable, it's interesting where it's different. It's interesting where it
reminds you of our priority. It is interesting where it says, the global western context
is not everything there is. We can do things differently. We cannot transfer the
Bhutanese GNH to anywhere else but we can learn from it. It's policy learning not
policy transfer that we want. We can learn the privatizations. We can work the questions. We may emulate as Sophus talked about in a multi award-winning
book about policy emulation, economic emulation and
I think this is where the greatness comes, no
fear of what is different but in embracing on it
which makes us reflect on what our priorities actually are. And in this one Bhutan is
the country in the world that makes us question of whether we made the right decisions in our priorities or not. Thank you so much for your attention. (audience applauds) I don't think that was good. – Thank you, professor. So I need to regret about the time. I know that but– – [Wolfgang] No, no. – A disclosure, I had been
also yesterday privileged to be at one of the sessions at the T.H. Chan School of Health where professor was speaking. And I feel that this may
not be a good question but as a follow-up I
wanted you to share with us basically a summary of
from what I hear yesterday was actually that we should
not go into measurement and indices and that's not
what actually GNH is all about. Would you clarify on that which make it 10 minutes?
– In how many minutes? (audience laughs)
– Yeah, yeah thank you. – I think you have what three minutes, yeah.
– That's my job. – You know the famous thing like what the German professor
says before he speaks, he says, "Before I start
speaking, let me say a few words." (audience laughs) I do that for living, right? That's a great quote, isn't it? It's one of the cheap takeaways from here. Okay, the great conference we have and which thank you so
much for arranging it. It was a brilliant program
of health and happiness in the Chan School of
bringing that together and how to operationalize it, and how to be data-driven on these things. Again what is interesting,
and let me just put it on the GNH thing where
you see the difference. The GNH starts also as a
suspicion of quantification, of the idea of a
numerically informed life, of numbers that have an authority beyond human interpretation. This is what the stats say
and therefore we must do that and what prevents policy from doing that, and that you are forced by indices. I think this is builds a great bridge to John's later presentation exactly because that's one of the main issues you are grappling with and
that we've been discussing about the relativity of indices, and that how the relevance of statistics is created in human interaction. Numbers are such do not speak to us. This is a recognition in this context and then what happens? With the GNH is that it becomes
more and more numerical, more and more quantitative in a certain way mirrors the GDP or GNP. That from saying we don't
wanna give any numbers, it comes to yeah but we kind of have to, we live in one world. We do not live in a world in which you can justify public policy without giving numbers. Up to where it is now where
you have a one number index. Yeah, Bhutanese happiness is
one number with a lot of digits after the comma and that
means it goes up and down whereas some people
might say happiness means not living according to indices. And that is a serious question
also on the policy level. And for me what my point was is this is exactly this tension. I think if you have
decision-making authorities that you trust and that make
decisions beyond the numbers, think about doctors, we have
an analysis of our health, this is there but you still
want an experienced doctor to specify it down to you. You don't actually want the
computer to design your therapy even if this is where it's coming. And I think this is very important on the policy level as well
but the tension again is there, the tension between the two. You need to justify through numbers but on the other hand there
is the problem with numbers and basing everything on numbers. And in a sense, Bhutan has gone the way towards quantification
whereas I found early time of rejecting the numbers and saying, "No, no, we don't do it. "We don't play your game, guys", more fascinating also for the rest of us but I do understand in the
world, Bhutan is not a country that can say no to international transfers and transfers from India. And they will require as I was told, they will require statistics
even if they are made up. They're not made up in Bhutan but the donors would say, "Write something but
we need some numbers." Seriously, this is not a joke story and so I understand that
since we live in a world that privilege is
quantification and indicators that we have to go there. On the other hand, the
more you go back on that as much as you can,
the better it would be. The unique cases and you
may dismiss that or not, that this is also part
of Buddhist economics because the idea of the Dharmaraja is that there is a
special access to reality that does not necessarily
need artificial quantification to get the kind of information that you would have in other systems. But I know that not many people
would go along that road, I'm just telling that this is
part of that economic system. Okay. – Thank you. Thank you professor. (audience applauds)
For sharing that. – [Wolfgang] Yeah and it's been applause. (murmurs) – So as you have indicated and also a lot of our
professor remind us that a good question is always followed by and answered by the next slide. In this it's not the next
slide, we have our next speaker, Professor John Helliwel,
who will be I suppose answering quite a few of those questions on numbers and indices. Professor John Helliwel,
professor Emeritus of Economics of the the Canadian Institute
for Advanced Research, CIFAR, program on social interactions,
identity and well-being. Professor has been among
so many other things that he has done, right
now he's spearheading as the editor of the
World Happiness Report which has just come out and
I had the honor of attending the big launch day in
New York on March 20th. And professor has been to Bhutan and I believe I will be heading
there next month as well to look at urbanization and
Gross National Happiness. So without further ado,
I just wanted to mention a small thing on Professor John Helliwel. I had a friend actually who
called me up from Israel saying that, "I heard of
Professor John Helliwel "is coming here to speak." And then I managed to meet her in New York and one thing that sort of
really sort of exemplifies Professor Helliwel and why he's taking on this huge responsibility I
suppose on happiness initiative is she says that, "He's
one of the first few guys "who can really make anybody happy "just by looking at his face." (audience laughs) And I think that's sort of true. – [John] Oh my God. – So with this professor, if
you can please take it away. – That's good. Are you still happy? (audience laughs) So the secret is if you
see you're not smiling, oh I have to do with smirk,
can I speak and smile at the same time?
(audience laughs) What if the things that are
important can't be counted but you need evidence
in order to show that? And that's the conundrum you placed for us and I'm going to take
you through some history as to how I think it in fact
has worked to some extent and lots left still to be done. I got in as the second
song we sang this morning indicated I got into the study
of happiness in the 1990s jointly with Robert Putnam in
this study of social capital through the following puzzle. If social capital is really important, how can we measure its value in order to get people
to take it seriously? And people started seeing whether it affected economic growth and so is that it either
affects life deeply or we won't maybe able to
make a convincing case. So at that time we discovered there was quite a lot of evidence about people evaluating the
quality of their own lives. And I said, "Either this
is the most important fact "I've run into in decades or it's a sham." And because if true with
enables economics to go back two centuries and acquire
the bread they lost when it got stuck into
thinking of material things as being the measure of progress. Because if you can have some judgment about the quality of life then welfare economics
can be an applied science, not just theology as it
otherwise is inclined to be. Theology is the wrong word,
I meant purely theoretical in the literature as it was. So by the time the century
turned and got to the International Gross National
Happiness Conference, I was at the first one in Canada
in 2005 and several since, I was very much in that community while also studying happiness and social capital more broadly. So that when the prime minister
and the secretary general were responsible for that
direction turning resolution in June, 2011 before the United Nations that was passed unanimously
and to take happiness and wellbeing as a
focus of national policy is recommended to the member countries. And immediate be after that
a conference was convened, chaired by Jeff Sachs and
the prime minister in Bhutan and because of my history and
well I was among those invited to a planning session
as it essentially was for a meeting to be held, a high level meeting in April,
2012 at the United Nations. And at that time the decision was made in the prime minister's
office after this two to three day meeting that
we should put together a scientific report about what is known in the science of wellbeing and what kind of evidence is
available, what kind of truths are known or hypotheses are there but what does lead to a better life. And so that report was written and became, and it's important as her Excellency said earlier this morning to note that at that April, 2012 meeting, well the World Happiness
Report was part of it, it had a double platform. The other was for sustainability. And increasingly now we're
trying to mesh those two agendas in a tighter way than has been done before but it's quite clear it has to be done. Now, what happened then was that there was quite a takeup of
the first report and so we felt there was enough takeup of it
that we should keep doing it and in fact have done ever since. And so what is this, the question is how do you take a basic idea exemplified and essentially made famous by Bhutan, I mean the credit that
goes to Bhutan is enormous. It's not a tourist brand, it's an idea that has infused the world and this UN resolution and it's outflow was clearly seen to be, hoped
to be and turned out to be a critical juncture at doing that. So it essentially took what was an idea and converted it into a
global pattern of thought. Well, in order to get
further if you then say, what should people in their communities and what should their governments think? You then have to build
up on a scientific basis that can allow them to make
their decisions differently. But the first thing we
had to do is then find out what are the supports for a good life? Because after all policies to deliver it must know what to do. Now the Bhutanese structure is great but it has evidenced but
doesn't translate directly so what we do is take these data and use them all over the
world to say what is different in the countries that are happier? What is different among the people within countries who are happier? And the cities within
countries that are happier? And it turns out those
are precisely those things that aren't captured by numbers
in the conventional way. So we found essentially six factors that underlie the highest ranking of lives and I can get back to why you think the dark Norwegians aren't happy because it turns out the
Norwegians are very high on all six of these factors
and they'll resonate with you as at least tapping into a
space of life that is vital. And two of course, are the
standard development goals of GDP per capita and
healthy life expectancy, either necessary or
important in supporting life. Interesting, I entered
this field quite explicitly as Aristotle's research assistant and so– (audience laughs) It's a good job. (audience laughs) He said, "Ask someone
in a reflective moment "to value their life", and he
said, "Here are my hypotheses "about what will be important." So I essentially took all that list and took them to the
data and it turns out, 'cause basically he said,
"If those do not turn out "to match the world as it
is then it's mare theory." And so I said he needs
a research assistant. (audience laughs) So we did and he passed with
flying colors because everyone, the only one that's missing
of his items is purpose ad that's just 'cause we don't yet have it in the relevant data. And this is one of those cases where you have to keep
asserting something's important even if you don't have data for it. But beyond those two, the
others are really about the social construct of
humanity, social support. Do you have someone to count
on in times of trouble? You can imagine how that
would generalize in many ways. Freedom, do you have freedom to make your key life decisions? This is our doors open, our
opportunities open to you, writ large. Generosity. Aristotle didn't mention that but it turns out to be
absolutely fundamental. There's a lovely chapter in this year's World Happiness Report by real experts in the field on the power and generality of generosity
and pro social behavior and their untapped instruments to allow people to build better lives. And finally, the Gallup poll
has measures of corruption but that's a negative measure of trust, but in fact trust the extent to which will people not just won't cheat but if you dropped your wallet,
they would watch your back, pick up the wallet and chase
you down to give it back. All of those things are things that make people deeply happy and all of those are things
that are very high in Norway. All right, now what is this report done? Well, it turns out it
and I hated the rankings, we didn't have any rankings
in the first report but it turned out I had
to calm down the list because everybody phoned
up and wanted to know what numbers they were (laughs). So now we put numbers
beside the country names. Rankings are only to
get people in the room then we want to think about
what underlies a good life. So what has happened, of
course Bhutan's got tourists coming on GNH but that's not really where these rankings are taking people. They're looking at all the
countries and immediately after, a Danish colleague set up the
Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, he's buried
again in people coming and wanting to know about
the sources of happiness in Denmark and the same
thing is happening in Norway and in Finland and it's quite appropriate. These are thinkers writing
books, these are style leaders saying what's going on there and what are they doing that we can copy. And it turns out once
they get past the giggles and they start looking in
what the community life looks in these places he said, "Oh", he said, "That Finnish education
system is not just wonderful "because they get good
marks, that's not the point. "It's because they are creating, "in the way they run the schools "and the way they treat their teachers "and the way they treat each other "in order to prepare people to live happy "and fulfilling lives." And so those kinds of
lessons are being learned by people going off to
try and emulate things where they're done to deliver better lives and a better life is to
stop speaking right now because you're– (audience laughs) (audience applauds) – Thank you professor. So as I shared earlier, 10
minutes, 10 hours is too less for I think what you have in
front of you, the whole report on the global happiness ranking but we do have some of the
world copies available outside as you go out so please
feel free to take them. And professor, I think a few of the things that you mentioned, one was the fact that I think through your
experiences and realization that it was not in fact GNH is not a sort of a tourism
packaging that you have seen it's sort of a genuine
initiative which now that I think globally there is a realization
that we could make use of some of the things that
has been done in Bhutan. I think one of the questions that, even in the Global Happiness
Report that people ask is I think while it has captured
all some of those sense, one thing is what is your understanding of the cultural differences
on when you rank something on the subjective value scale? And so some friends for example ask me, while in US if you ask
people, are you happy? And generally people are more
open and they want to prove that you know yes, I'm
happy I'm doing well and so you tend to read
yourself seven or eight. Whereas in a culture like Bhutan, normally even if you offer something we have to refuse it three times. And in the western concept I
mean if you refuse three times then you don't give it to him anymore but in Bhutan you have to push
the fourth time, fifth time, and then they accept. So the thing is, it could be a reason where people are genuinely shy
and say, "Oh, I'm not happy. "And where's the middle part? "Okay, 10 plus zero, 10 divided by two "so five is a good number." And I do find that actually
in the world report Bhutan is ranked five in
terms of happiness indices. So any idea on the cultural differences on how impacts the way
how somebody answers on the happiness index question? – There are systematic differences across cultures and across continents. What is astonishing is
when you take the data for each country and fit
it within that country, the extent to which these human values are the same everywhere,
quite astonishing. But the manifestations across
nations are very different. You know actually the styles, the modes, the social norms and so
on, they really do differ and some of them are more successful for supporting happy
lives than others are. So then do you then say
it's just the way they think of the question differently or is in fact that set of social norms not quite as good as it could be for producing happy lives? And of course we don't really know because the two are meshed together but we're trying to sort it out. One of the thing helps to sort it out is to follow through time where
are those longstanding norms are sort of constant. And so if things are
getting better or worse for particular subgroups in
particular aspects of life then you've got something
holding the other constant. One of the sort of called
the Latin American bubble that in fact these average score, especially on affect yesterday, that sort of a billion joy part but also on the life
of valuations in total which are supported by the joy. In Latin America above
what you'd think by looking at those six factors I talked about and we had a special chapter last year, these reports are online
so you can get them even if the copy's run out out front on "Happiness in Latin America" by Mariana Rojas from Costa Rica. And he went much deeper
in terms of the evidence about the structure of family life and the nature of
respect and desire there. And it was quite clear
in all the dimensions that they did more of it,
they wanted more of it, three generation families
where the choice, not the obligation and
the happiness they got from these warm and tight families is just much more than another countries 'cause they had comparable
measures than other countries. And a good part of that
Latin American boots was simply that, once you
took account of the fact that that aspect of life was
especially well developed and especially it's valuable everywhere, it was valued even more
there and present much more than a good part of that
puzzle was explained. Also, there is a East Asian
departure on the low side so once again is it this question of low answers and so on. We do find all these things
are the little bunching at the end points and
five and some differences but it turns out they're second order. And of course in this
business when you start you're looking for first order
ways of making better lives and the second order
things are of interest but not an obsession. – Thank you professor. So I really wanna get to all
the our wonderful audiences here for the Q and A, questions
and answers but before that, if you may allow me, I don't
wanna keep the last say, okay see your best piece
last two minutes or whatever. I think that puts additional
pressure on you to wrap up so I think before that,
before I go to the audience, maybe perhaps I would like
to provide an opportunity for the honorable speakers to comment. Two minute each on the
conversation that has taken place so far and starting
with Professor Reinert. – [Sophus] (laughs) We call
this a cold call where I reach. (audience laughs) – See, this is how I get to
get back to my professors now. (audience laughs) – [Wolfgang] Revenge is sweet. – Yes– – [Kinga] You taught me. – I don't think I ever cold called you but I will have to get
you back for this somehow. So the point about subjectivity is of course at the core of this and when I first came here again being dark and brooding Norwegian and you ask people how they're doing, "I'm awesome." Everything is also is
like Lego song, right? Everyone is over the top all the time and clearly you can't
really just ask people how, I'm sure you have all sorts of methods for dealing with this. But my personal, the reason
I am more like Camus that "If you look for happiness,
you'll never find it." I'm very skeptical about
these things temperamentally because sharing my idea of
happiness with my students, I have these slideshows
and I found a picture that what I wanted to do over break after finally having taught for a year and being up for ten year along that, I wanted to walk along
a cold Nordic beach. And I found this wonderful
image of a man in a coat walking on this snowy beach
and that was my happiness and it was image number
three under depression on– (audience laughing drowns out speaker) So clearly what makes me happy evidently doesn't make other people happy and I think as a historian
I'm just more attuned to the variety and very, very
partial to Wolfgang's take on the problem of putting
things in numbers is really, if the moral message
of GNH is all you lose from the scientism then there's
just a deep, deep danger of losing something important in trying to make it
overly scientific but– – Thank you, thank you for sharing that and as you can see when you
talk about packaging everything, that's what they do best
in Harvard Business School, I mean– – How?
Thank you so much (laughs). (audience laughs) No I mean the cold Norwegian image. – Ouch.
So anyway, Professor Wolfgang. – Wow but I mean this is a nice key. What I appreciate about this
conference and this panel and if we see it with a
conference yesterday as well, is there was a lot of emotion in this GNH because for many of us this
is like a breakthrough, the kind of where the world
has gone wrong empirically or with wrong values
or with strong systems. And then of course, if Bhutan is that cool there is a backlash and if
you're in a certain place and you want tenure, you have to write something anti Bhutanese because everybody has heard
the pro-Bhutanse stuff already, it's so popular, yeah. You get this backlash right
now and what I've seen is that, the last and I don't wanna
say we are the greatest and the other ones are not but many of the last both
publications or conferences about Bhutan were very one sided. They were either just really rah rah and with the wrong cheerleading
crowd or very critical and most of them very positive. One really has to say, basically remember it's a success story but it was this or that. What I really liked about this panel and what I really like
how Kinga has done it and what I really like with this audience is that here we really seem
to look at the various sides and we seem to be able to discuss to say in principle this is
great but there is a but and we're not gonna put it under the rug. And so also with the quantification, because you know there is such
a thing as data imperialism and there are people who think
that over quantifying life is the main problem that
we're actually having. But on the other hand,
but on the other hand, we are living in a world
in which you have to and so on and so on. So there is so many oh
shall I say cliche words like ambivalences and ambiguities here but something like that, right? That altogether this is great altogether, all together this allows
us to reflect, GNH is real once you get through it, even
if it shifts through time and space in what it is, it's
a moving target to understand. But I think with this kind
of openness, methodological, background-wise and
the de-siloized Harvard that we have here, people
who use the bridges over the rivers, yeah,
(audience laughs) that is a great accomplishment already. And so thank you very much
for putting this conference on and we are off to a
greatly auspicious start and I think this is really good. Thank you. (audience applauds)
– Thank you, professor. – [Kinga] Honorable Dasho. – Well, our conversation
on Gross National Happiness is really about beginning
with the end in mind and I think that's the real value. That if you start taking
your means as ends and that's what's happening
with just focusing on stock, you know what's happening on
the stock exchange and GDP, at least getting that conversation
shift is actually itself, I think a big nudge in
the right direction. I think there are many imperfections but I think those imperfections
are less of a problem. The fact that we're standing and looking at the right direction is it's itself I think a big plus and I think that's
really what GNS has done. I wanted to reflect further on what Professor Wolfgang
shared that I do agree that too much infatuation with numbers not necessarily that that useful. And indeed as a planning agency actually that magical
number, the index we meet we were not actually interested in it. We are actually more interested
at the indicator level, at that level is actually very useful. And so I would not discount all measures, I think if we don't have measures, accountability is going to be difficult and we'll have elected leaders who try to do all sorts of things. And if you now say we will move away from any kind of measures then I think we might give free reign and create more problems than solutions. So I do feel that moving
into measurement was positive even though the subject
is to do with happiness and it is quite challenging. But there are more and
more clever coming out, thanks to institutes that are in the areas like here in Boston. The other thing I'm helpful is if you remember what I mentioned, that the more innovative
areas are actually the areas which are much more difficult. We know they're important but we don't know about
what sort of interventions or conditions we can create. So that is a challenge for I think those in the business of
governance for happiness. And in this regard I find that the growing behavioral sciences, that the knowledge that
has come up about biases, about how you can do not just, those are actually a very good compliment. And actually now they're giving us an idea about what we can do to get
those pro social behaviors in areas where it's not as
simple as making a road. So yeah, I thought I'll just share that. Thank you very much for this opportunity. (audience applauds)
– Thank you, professor. – One of the charming
things about Norwegians is their modesty and humility. (audience laughs) When Norway became top of
the list some people said, "Well that's because of the oil." And we had to remind them, "No, I'm sorry. "Norway is not top because of the oil, "Norway is top in spite of the oil." It's very rare country that
can handle natural resources as beautifully as Norway did. (audience applauds) And this didn't come out of the blue, it was in the Norwegian
values in the first place. A big lecture we had on
this topic many years ago. Somebody wanted, we are for examples as to why social capitalist
is so high in those countries and a Norwegian put up
her hand in the audience and she said, "You know,
on a Saturday morning, "what happens in Norway
is that people go out "and they paint each other's houses." This idea of doing things
with each other for each other is just endemic and that leads people to think of their lives
as successful lives. It's not a question of joy, it's a question of this is the good life and those of us outside
witness that and we admire it we're grateful for Norway for giving us these kinds of examples
that we can follow. Getting back to your other point was, if you lose a moral base in
a process of quantification then you've made a deep mistake
and that has to be true. So I go back to Aristotle here. If it was true that these measures gave us a purely epicurean view of life then that would be mistaken index. Aristotle said, "I
think in fact the stoics "and the epicureans are specialized views, "each of which represents
part of a true person's life. "And that the golden
mean involves them both." And indeed we have found
very strong evidence to my gratitude and add
a bit of a surprise, the extent to which
people do build morality into their judgments about their own life. For example, we are now finding
that to live in a country where there is great
inequality, makes you less happy than you would have been before, even if you're among the favored. And it turns out to be even truer where the inequality is
inequality of wellbeing which I would argue is
what's really important rather than of income and wealth which is only a part of the story. Similarly, people are happy, it turns out Americans will
sometimes laugh at the idea that was announced by each
of the Nordic ambassadors speaking at the UN launch. Where they said, "People like
paying taxes in our country. "They appreciate paying taxes. "It's their opportunity to pay their share "of the services that are
trust-worthily designed "and delivered in the right
ways to the right people." And that's the kind of
society you wanna live in. Where all the people with whom your work, whether they're in businesses
or in government bureaucracies or your neighbors or
people you trust, you like, you'd like to share your
community and your lives with then it's something we can
all learn something from. (audience applauds)
– Thank you, professor. – Because of time I won't even
I guess attempt to summarize because we still have the rest of the day to continue the conversation. But yeah, I think as we started
off, at the end of the day is how we make this whole policy and the philosophy of
governing values and matrices as accessible as we can
at our individual level. And as Professor Reinert
was sharing in the morning, about his story of how
he crossed the river and came to the Divinity School, similarly we also, in my
case a lot of my friends say, "You are at the Kennedy School, "why did you end up at
the Divinity School now?" And we always share
this story that we have, when it comes to car seatbelt, the MIT friends have designed
it, technically made it, that's a device that obviously
saves thousands of lives but then again not to
pick on you professor, it's the HBS who has
perfected and how to market it and manufacturer it,
this is a joke anyway. And then in comes the Kennedy School and they say there's a speed limit so then you don't need the seatbelt. But in Bhutan actually, if you look at the bestseller
"Geography of the Place", the author says that when
you drive in Bhutan actually you don't need either
because either speed limit or seatbelt doesn't help you at all because the roads are
wide, the precipitators and you can fall any moment. And when you ask the driver, "How do you really drive
in a room like this?" Then they said, "You have to
believe in reincarnation." (audience laughs) So with this, I would like to thank all the honorable speakers
but just to mention that we have a great two panels again continuing in the afternoon, moderated by none other
than our Dasho Karma here and then Professor Vish who
has held this terrific workshop yesterday at the T.H. Chan
School of Health and Happiness. And so we would urge you to stay back after the wonderful and sumptuous lunch. So with this, before I break off I would like to request some gifts to be, a small memento for our honorable speakers to be handed over. (audience applauds) (gentle guitar music)

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