Noted economist Steve Hanke named Zimbabwe the most miserable country on his Steve Hanke’s Annual Misery Index (HAMI) with a ranking of 157. Hanke said Zimbabwe was given the ranking because of inflation and economic mismanagement, which has led Zimbabweans to be unhappy.
Hanke assigns a HAMI score to each country by forming an equation using metrics such as unemployment, inflation, bank lending, and the percentage change in GDP.
He also blamed the ruling ZANU-PF party and its policies, saying they have caused “enormous misery” to Zimbabweans.
Venezuela, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Argentina, Yemen, Ukraine, Cuba and Turkey followed Zimbabwe as the most miserable countries in the world.
Speaking of Syria’s ranking as the third least happy country, Hanke told the New York Post it’s not surprising given the country’s protracted civil war that has spanned more than 12 years.
Switzerland emerged as the happiest country with the lowest HAMI score, which Hanke attributed to factors such as a favorable debt ratio.
Kuwait took second place, followed by Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Niger, Thailand, Togo and Malta.
India ranked 103rd on the list, with unemployment adding to the country’s woes.
The United States ranks 134th, with unemployment being the leading cause of unhappiness. Finland, known for its consistent top ranking in the World Happiness Report, ranks 109th on the misery index.
“The human condition straddles a broad spectrum between ‘miserable’ and ‘happy,'” Hanke told the New York Post.
In his view, the key to alleviating a country’s woes caused by factors such as high inflation, high borrowing costs and unemployment is to stimulate economic growth.
He stressed that evaluating the statistics of different countries can provide valuable insights into the happiness or sadness experienced by people around the world.
Hanke’s calculation is a modified version of the misery index prepared by Arthur Okun, an economist who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors during the tenure of former US President Lyndon B. Johnson.