Thought on Laws Social Justice and Happiness

My attempt to understand the relationship between Social Justice and Happiness is one out of curiosity and concern primarily.

As a law-maker, I have begun to understand the profound influence of Statutes and other instruments though which a State is Governed. It has come to my understanding that as a citizen, happiness cannot be absolute and therefore, is dependent and relative. The non-absolute nature of Happiness then leads one to question if Happiness is about Adam Smith’s invisible hand and his economic theory. Much can be understood if not almost everything (for someone like me) in referring to Smith’s great works. Yet, today in Bhutan and in many other countries, ideas are developing and GDP is being replaced with other indices sensitive to human happiness.

In this great accumulating body of work, I am quite certain by now there is are huge number of work already studying different aspects of Happiness in particular and various other disciplines and cross-disciplines.

In my own understanding of GNH in Bhutan, the State tries endeavours to create a conducive environment for socio-economic development. The Executive, carrying out it’s mandate(s) tries to set policies which would make possible that environment and execute plans and programmes to bring about socio-economic development and delivers public services and accessibility. The Legislature enacts Statutes which allow for the State to be Governed and the Judiciary exercises control over the Statues.

Imagine a community with lots of resources. Production, distribution and consumption would be a natural step. With Statutes, this community would be governed. The kind of implication a Statute can have on people may be easier to understand using this as a model. A free-enterprise economy also uses these Statutes and the others also uses Statutes. This is not different at all. What differs is then the philosophy with which the contents of these Statutes make all the difference. If Bhutan should decide to embrace GNH as a philosophy for socio-economic development. Then is it not logical perhaps then to have Judiciary operate in such a manner? After all justice is also a commodity that citizenry consumes and can play a vital role in creating happiness in a society. Should the Legislature not approach legislation and law-making with that philosophy? Would simply a philosophy suffice? Would bringing clear ways of law-making help in brining Happiness to where it all begins?

It is with these questions that I start this blog. I hope to be able to learn a great deal through this endeavour.


About Sangay Khandu

Elected to Parliament of Bhutan twice. Previously worked with the Central Bank, the largest SoE (power utility) and international organization.
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