Bowled Over by Bhutan - 2007

IS BHUTAN MEETING ITS FOUR “HAPPINESS” GOALS?

The 4th king set down these 4 pillars for the attainment of a high degree of societal

happiness. The first pillar is the promotion of equitable and sustainable socio-economic

development.

Everywhere we visited in the country we saw much evidence of the attainment of this

goal. We saw excellent hotels already established for promotion of a healthy tourist

business. We observed the work on infrastructure primarily road improvements.

We saw thriving businesses, both large and small, in villages and cities. We saw

prosperous farms with healthy and well-fed citizens. We saw plentiful goods in the stores

and shops. We saw foreign investment in the country, in the form of a Japanese car

assembly plant and a soft drink manufacturer. We saw the reach of globalization when

we visited a DHL outlet in the capital city where we sent some unneeded items home

easily and successfully. We learned about the hydroelectric plant that sells India excess

electricity for hard currency and were told that another such power facility is under

construction now. We saw growing entrepreneurship in our own young guide who owns

and operates a snooker parlor in Thimphu and has bigger plans to become a builder

through a business plan involving the hiring of experienced Indian workers through

companies in India. Bhutanese workers do not have the skills possessed by the Indians,

according to Kelzang. We saw that technology is already changing the way business is

done in the country. Computers and the Internet are available and utilized. There are cell

phones and television for mass communications. Bhutan is busily expanding its

economy and bringing prosperity to its people. No doubt the first goal is being met.

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