George Graham

I Wish I Could Be Magically Transported to Bhutan

A neighbor sent me an email today that deepens my sense of despair. It’s a press release claiming that “an international drug ring, operating from New York City,” is behind the swine flu scare. I gather the motive is the loot derived from vaccinations plus a secret plan to reduce the world’s population and introduce a new system of government in which a few powerful people will control a subjugated mass of impoverished peasants.bhutan2

I know. It sounds like a bad James Bond movie, and I accept this kind of news with a grain or two of salt.  For one thing, I notice that the “whistle blowers” who warn of such dangers have their own axes to grind: They sell books, videos, CD’s and so on to their followers, and they collect fees for speeches to conspiracy groups. The man behind the swine flue expose, for example, is Leonard Horowitz, a dentist turned health industry entrepreneur. He and self-proclaimed celebrity Pat Perez formed a company to publish his stuff.

But despite my skepticism, I must admit I harbor a lingering suspicion that the swine flu “pandemic” is a marketing ploy for vaccine. I don’t know about the plot to use the vaccine to kill off large numbers of people as a population-control device. It seems to me that birth control and legalized abortion would do a better job in a less drastic way. But from what I know about the way drug companies operate, I would not be surprised if they concocted a swine flu fantasy to push one of their products.

The ongoing health care “debate” in America has revealed the corruption at the core of American society. With vast amounts of money and the tools of the public relations trade, profiteers have succeeded in co-opting politicians and persuading a large segment of the public to abandon their own interests in favor of further enriching the health care industry.

And that leaves me despondent. In a society that is driven purely by profit, where human beings are valued only as consumers, what hope is there for us?

I have always wondered why countries like America measure their “wealth” in terms of the Gross Domestic Product. The GDP includes the total value of goods and services but does not take into consideration the nature of these goods and services. For example, when armament production goes up, so does the GDP.  And the GDP of the state of Alaska soared after the Exxon Valdez disaster, boosted by the “wealth” produced in cleaning up the catastrophic oil spill.

sarcozyWith that kind of score card, what do you expect from a society? That’s why I was captivated by a blog posted today in Care2 by “Nancy R.” She reported that last week, on the anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, French President Nicolas Sarkozy (photo at right)  gave a speech calling for change in how countries measure wealth.  He suggested the need for a new metric that would take into account the happiness of a country’s population along with its economic prosperity.

Nancy R. suggests this “may be just the ticket to helping the … world measure what real progress is, so we can chart a path towards true happiness.” And she pointed out that:

One country has gone significantly farther in terms of decoupling progress from uncritical measurement of economic activity.  The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan guides all governmental policies through the Gross National Happiness indicators, which incorporate four pillars: sustainable development; natural resource conservation; cultural values, and good governance.

I looked up Bhutan on the web, and it seems just wonderful. Perched atop the Himalayan mountains between China and India, Bhutan is described as “a peaceful country with strong traditional values based on religion, respect for the royal family and care for the environment.”

The country’s history is rich in tales of demons and angels, magic and mystery, warlords, feuds, giant fortresses and castles. Its hereditary monarchy used to pursue a policy of isolationism, but a new king has decided to take some cautious steps toward emerging from the country’s medieval heritage of serfdom and seclusion. Until the 1960s the country had no national currency, no telephones, no schools, no hospitals, no postal service and no tourists. Now, these signs of modernization have all been developed. And there’s a national assembly, airport, roads and – take heed America! – a national health care system. Yet despite the speed of modernization, Bhutan has maintained a policy of careful, controlled growth in an effort to preserve its national identity. The government has cautiously accepted tourism, TV and the internet and is set to embark on its biggest challenge – democracy.

I say we should all move to Bhutan and explore the breathtaking mountains and valleys (see photo above) until the western world recovers from its endemic sickness – or destroys itself in its lust for money and power.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for