Gross National Happiness

With a new caretaker prime minister in place and elections promised for next year, the leaders of Thailand's Sept. 19 coup spent last week reassuring the world that the country was returning to some semblance of normalcy. But will the economy do the same? Interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, a former general installed by the junta on Oct. 1, began his tenure by publicly committing himself to the "people's happiness." But Surayud's definition of happiness, which emphasizes "self-sufficient" economic practices over GDP growth, and consumption of local goods over foreign products, worries some economists and investors?particularly since more than 60% of...

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