Paul Lachine

¿Podemos aumentar nuestra felicidad nacional bruta?

PRINCETON – El pequeño reino de Bután, en el Himalaya, es conocido internacionalmente por dos cosas: unas tasas elevadas para la obtención de visados, que reducen la afluencia de turistas, y su política de fomento de la “felicidad nacional bruta”, en lugar del crecimiento económico. Las dos están relacionadas: más turistas podrían impulsar la economía, pero dañarían el medio ambiente y la cultura del país, por lo que a la larga reducirían su felicidad.

Cuando me enteré por primera vez del objetivo de Bután de aumentar al máximo la felicidad de su pueblo, no sabía si significaría de verdad algo en la práctica o si era simplemente otro lema político. El mes pasado, cuando estuve en su capital, Timbu, para intervenir en una conferencia sobre “el desarrollo económico y la felicidad”, organizada por el Primer Ministro Jigme Y. Thinley y copatrocinada por Jeffrey Sachs, director del Instituto de la Tierra en la Universidad de Columbia y Asesor Especial del Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas, Ban Ki-moon, me enteré de que es mucho más que un lema.

Nunca había estado yo en una conferencia que un gobierno nacional se tomara tan en serio. Esperaba que Thinley la inaugurara con una bienvenida oficial y después regresase a su despacho. En cambio, su discurso fue un meditado examen de las cuestiones fundamentales que entraña la promoción de la felicidad como política nacional. Después permaneció en la conferencia durante los dos días y medio que duró e hizo contribuciones pertinentes a nuestros debates. En la mayoría de las sesiones, varios ministros del Gobierno estuvieron también presentes.

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