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Bhutan leads the world to a new economy of happiness

The Bhutan government says its idea of happiness “has nothing to do with the common use of that word to denote an ephemeral, passing mood – happy today or unhappy tomorrow due to some temporary external condition like praise or blame, gain or loss. Rather, it refers to the deep, abiding happiness that comes from living life in full harmony with the natural world, with our communities and fellow beings, and with our culture and spiritual heritage, – in short from feeling totally connected with our world.

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Ballons of Buthan Project by Jonathan Harris

In an attempt to measure happiness, artist Jonathan Harris has used inflated balloons as a quantitative tool in Balloons of Buthan.

The multimedia project mixes audio interviews with statistics and photography, creating a platform that can be read, listened to and seen through the immediate visual impact of the pictures.

Harris was inspired by a Himalayan kingdom, which is the only place in the world that measures prosperity as GNH (Gross National Happiness) instead of GNP (Gross National Product). In 2007, Harris visited Buthan to research and question the most basic ideas of happiness.