Ethics and Energy: A Comparative Study of Gross National Happiness and Sustainability

By Geoffrey Lamberton.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Underpinning Bhutan’s development is a Buddhist tradition providing a strong ethical foundation to achieve the inherently spiritual goal of Gross National Happiness (GNH). Theoretical equivalence of GNH with sustainability enables ethical influences to be compared leading to the question as to whether Western versions of sustainability are inherently flawed due to the lack of a virtuous moral basis.
A set of sustainability indicators provide data for a comparative study of energy policy, consumption and impacts in Bhutan and Australia contrasting Bhutan’s history of preserving natural and cultural capital whilst making steady economic progress, with Australia’s strong economic performance but lack of progress towards sustainability.
The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of Bhutan’s GNH project for Western developed economies struggling with the challenge of sustainability.

Keywords: Gross National Happiness, Sustainability Performance Indicators, Energy Policy, Buddhist Ethics

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.151-164. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.208MB).

Dr. Geoffrey Lamberton

Senior Lecturer, School of Commerce & Management, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia

Geoff Lamberton was a corporate and chartered accountant before entering academia where he teaches ethics, sustainability and sustainable business management. His research interests include sustainability business management and the ethical change required for the transition to a sustainable society.

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