Saturday, February 09, 2008

Imagine That

Kathie e-mailed me this link the other day. To protect the innocent, the significance of the article’s content to us will remain undisclosed here. :)

Anyway, it seems that Karma Wangchuk, a member of the Bhutanese royal family (we think) who is also an urban planning student at MIT, has spent some time shadowing Missoula (MT) city planning officials. Why Missoula? There are similarities between Missoula and Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan and the city of which Mr. Wangchuk is currently the deputy chief town planner.

”There are, of course, a few differences. Instead of black bears and whitetail deer getting into backyards, it's wild boars and elephants. And developers defer to government planners, although they may appeal to the king if they dispute a decision.”

Imagine that.

“'Every citizen has access to the king,' Wangchuk said Wednesday as he prepared to return to Boston. 'That keeps everybody in check. At the end of the day, you don't want to fail the king, country or people. It's shameful to ask that I only benefit and others suffer.'”

That last sentence was bolded by me. Can you imagine our government people (or any of the rest of us Americans, for that matter) thinking like that?

Bhutan has a four-pillared test for making major decisions. According to the article's author, “An action must create sustainable benefits for the economy, the culture, the environment and the government.”

Perhaps we could have gross national happiness if our government used a similar test.

The writer goes on to say that “a recent proposal to aggressively log the nation's extensive forests was defeated because its economic benefits couldn't match its environmental impact.”

Wow. Are you listening, Dubya? How about you presidential candidates?

When Mr. Wangchuck finishes up at MIT, he will return home and run for mayor. Hope he wins.

1 comment:

Katharine said...

Well, I'm still checking on the royal family part. The old King has several wives, I don't know how many children. Wangchuk is the last name of the royal family.

In any event, Karma seems like a pretty savvy guy and typical of those who are going to be involved in leading the new democracy, or should I say constitutional monarchy.