In my last post I talked about “Tradable Energy Quotas” or TEQs and why I dislike the term. In a related conversation with growthmadness I mentioned why I like Gross National Happiness (GNH) as an alternative to such measures as TEQ, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP), but not its name. So I guess I better explain myself.
The problem begins with the name. Gross National Happiness is poking fun at GNP, where Product is replaced by Happiness. This seems fine, until you think about the suggestiveness of the gross national. These two words are used together as a set, and it has connotations of economy and economics. So any term which are used with it will be linked to this two-word set. And in the same manner, TEQ reeks of economist’s deodorant.
The environmentalists’ choice of Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) and Ecological Footprint (EF) are milder terminology. Since progress has been enlisted into the Postmodern lexicon to have a negative meaning it has the ability to affect change.
GNH may need to be repackaged if it is to be accepted. The “karma” left by GNP must be exorcised. Apart from this Gross National Happiness is a great concept, one that may actually save us if implemented properly. The question is only, how?