The recent ‘Occupy‘ movement has been criticised for not having clear goals. Critics wonder how they are meant to take it seriously if the protesters can’t say what they want? I think that’s harsh. I wonder whether many historical revolutions have had a clear idea of the future beyond toppling the existing regime. It would, I believe, have been sufficient to express disapproval, then when the situation became intolerable, to take more aggressive action. Creating a new regime was surely the last step, though perhaps in the most successful cases the new was imagined beforehand.
I’ve been too focused on my anthropology masters thesis to consider joining the protesters in camping out in Martin Place, but I can understand their disillusionment. Capitalism doesn’t inspire me as an economic model either.
Bhutan gave me a new model to aspire to. Some Bhutanese are fixated on financial gain, but as a whole, the people are more interested in enjoying their lives, enjoying each other and creating a country that their children will be happy to live in. Gross National Happiness might only be a part of the model, but importantly, GNH removes the focus from finances and puts it on the environment, culture, sustainable development and the governance to make it all work.
I would be happier spending my working life in a role where I can really make a difference to the quality of someone’s life rather than simply striving for financial gain. I don’t know that the ‘Occupy’ movement has quite the same ideas, but I’m sure they see the problem with a system that’s built on competition rather than collaboration. The open source movement has shown how much is possible when people work together for the common good and for the simple pleasure of giving. If the Occupy movement needs a new model to sell, I’d suggest starting by aiming for an open source economy with GNH goals.