Monday, February 21, 2011

China May Start Caring About Happiness

Well, that was easy! Everyone in China is already happy,
if this 100%-accurate portrait is any indication.
From Cultural Revolution Artifacts.
Here in America, today is Presidents Day, but for our Chinese friends on the other side of the world, it is the start of a new five-year plan. According to this story from, Chinese leaders may start prioritizing the happiness of its citizens. However, before you start thinking this will turn into a Bhutan-like Gross National Happiness program, it seems that the Chinese system will be much more focused on economic measures.

For instance, instead of emphasizing the measurement of happiness, Beijing plans to lower its GDP by one percent and raise income for its residents by two percent. Other cities will go through similar adjustments, and social security programs will also be revamped. Shanxi Province in northern China plans to add freelance, migrant workers, and farmers to its social security network, and Shandong Province will aid disadvantaged residents when prices rise. Other provinces also want to improve their social services while lowering GDP.

These policies act as a response to survey results that show citizens believe economic issues to be most important. Out of 11,519 respondents, around 30% believe "economic status," "quality of life," and "public services" are the three primary factors in their happiness.

(Remember to click my Gross National Happiness tag to read what other countries are doing with regards to happiness.)