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Bhutan’s Case: Social Capital, Household Welfare and Happiness

Social capital, in simple terms can be understood as interpersonal relationship built on mutual trust (blo ted) and the norms of reciprocity (phen tshun nyam phen) that facilitate the collective (mnyam rub) action to achieve the common goal (spyi mthun dmigs don). Social capital until now has remained one of the least explored subjects of research in Bhutan. For this reason, the NSB has taken an initiative to study this subject.

 We are already seeing some signs of our social capital stock either changing or declining. The rise in the reported crimes, increased feelings of insecurity and isolation, and growing sense of individualism and competition (among the Bhutanese citizens) are some of the spin-off effects of modernisation and urbanisation. We believe these phenomena are partly responsible for the weakening of social capital in the country.

Integrating social and economic ideas have greater potential for better development outcomes. We feel that blending these two branches of knowledge would make development processes more holistic by lending to the proper balance between material, social and psychological well-being.

We conducted the study mainly to examine whether social capital contributes to promoting the household welfare, happiness and well-being in Bhutan.

The study is supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Our own team of researchers conducted the study.

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Aug 30, 2013    News    webadmin    1765 views