Bhutan, the Himalayan kingdom, does not use Gross Domestic Product as the governance target. Instead it pursues Gross National Happiness. It also bans tobacco which is said to increase said joy at merely being alive.
It’s possible to wonder why they change the target that so many others find useful. The argument put forward is that there are things more important than mere economic success, rampant consumerism and all that. Which is true, there are.
It’s possible to take a slightly different view.
One is to think of compensations. For example – I’ve no idea whether it’s true or not – it’s commonly said that the loss of one sense makes others sharper. The blind have better hearing perhaps.
Another is to think that people just don’t desire to be measured by the things that they’re bad at. So, therefore, a place with a low GDP will ask to be measured by some other yardstick.
The truth is probably politesse. As with:
“She’s a model you know”
“Yes, for British Leyland.”
“Ah, a lovely personality then I take it?”
So too with measuring the economic success of Himalayan kingdoms.
“They’re dirt poor you know”
“Well, $3k and climbing isn’t that, that, bad you know. Better than England in 1700.”
“But they’re terribly happy all the same.”