>TV: Good or Bad?

>Most of us love television. Most people spend a hell of a lot of time watching it. But is it good for us?

Bhutan’s ruler nobly declared in 1972 that he would lead the nation based not on ideas of advancement and monetary growth but on happiness. On the whole this does seem to have made people more happy, even if only through providing people re-assurance that their government is trying to help them. But in 1999 it was decided that television would help people become more happy. And so Bhutan became the last nation on Earth to recieve television. What happened next?

One year later crime and suicide had surged. In April 2002 the country experienced a crime wave like no other it had ever faced. The non corrupt culture that Bhutanese had been so proud of erroded seemingly over night. In a country where drugs grow more commonly than grass drug use had never been a problem before television. Yet on April 16th 2002 Dorje, a 37-year-old truck driver, bludgeoned his wife to death after she discovered he was addicted to heroin. Stories like this would have seemed completely out of place in 1998, where the Budhist culture discourages killing anything, even insects. Have the Bhutanese experienced a culture shock and difficulties coping with change? Or is television really at fault as many Bhutanese believe?

2 comments

  • >Without knowing a great deal about it, it would seem unlikely that television alone is to blame for the drug/crime increase. However television (along with the internet,etc) contribute towards the breaking down of cultural boundaries, and the fact that Bhutanese culture has been 'westernised' at a much faster rate than other countries because of their relative isolation, means that measures to help the population adapt gradually have not been taken. In other words countries modernise or change gradually – however this country has undergone a complete paradgm shift in an obviously dangorousloy short amoubnt of time. Perhaps if they had limited the number of channels, then increased them over time…i dunno.

  • >Couldn't agree more. Well said.

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