23 Feb 2020

Dr Ross McDonald considers whether money or happiness is more important

From Smart Talk, 4:30 pm on 23 February 2020
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Photo: 123RF

Is money or happiness more important?

For the fourth King of Bhutan the answer was clear. In 1972 he declared that his country would pursue a goal of maximising happiness instead of economic growth, sparking an international debate.

As the King put it: "Economics is a means to an end and can never be an end in itself."

Buddhist monks in Bhutan

Buddhist monks in Bhutan Photo: Flickr / Steve Evans

The idea of economics in this essentially Buddhist view is that business and money are a means to human flourishing and that in the modern world happiness and wellbeing are increasingly sacrificed in the name of economic growth.

In this thought-provoking talk Ross speaks about the growing international movement which aims to redefine how we understand and use economics, and the value that we place on happiness.

Jaye 'Glam' Martin, who was part of the RNZ Joy Project, a look at happiness around New Zealand.

Jaye 'Glam' Martin, who was part of the RNZ Joy Project, a look at happiness around New Zealand. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

About the speaker

Dr Ross McDonald

Dr Ross McDonald Photo: University of Auckland

Dr Ross McDonald is a multiple-award winning teacher working in the areas of economic justice, sustainability and economic development.

He has worked on educational advancement with the United Nations, on the economics and psychology of wellbeing with the OECD and played a significant role in the development of Bhutan's unique approach to development in the form of gross national happiness.

Ross was an inaugural teaching fellow at the University of Auckland Centre for Learning Advancement and Research and teaches courses in organisational ethics and sustainability.


Photo: University of Auckland

Raising the Bar was recorded in association with the University of Auckland