World’s Most Miserable Countries

  • A country’s unemployment and inflation rates are strong indicators of how its economy is doing
  • Venezuela and Syria are among the most miserable countries by this economic measure, the “Misery Index”

It’s hard to get by when you don’t have a job and the cost of living keeps rising.

This is the maxim behind economist Arthur Okun’s “Misery Index,” which adds together a country’s unemployment and inflation rates. The higher the number, the more “miserable” your country.

Take a look at some of the world’s most miserable countries where people are generally unhappy:

Venezuela – yet again, Venezuela is the most miserable country in the world, according to latest report published by the Cato Institute. The country holds the inglorious tile of the most miserable country in 2018, as it did in 2017, 2016 and 2015. Not only is Venezuela the most miserable country in the world, but its Misery Index score has dramatically increased since 2016. It qualifies as the saddest country to live in the world.

Syria was the unhappiest place to live in 2015 and currently holds down the rank of second-most miserable country in the world. The reason isn’t hard to uncover – Syria’s almost seven years brutal civil war which has claimed the lives of over 300,000 people and displaced roughly half the country’s population. More than 4 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homeland because of the war.

Brazil was once regarded as a country of the future and no longer holds a pride of place as one of the enviable BRICS – national emerging economies. The country’s biggest unfunded liability — the pension system — is about its biggest albatross. The bankrupt pension system is, of course, not the only problem facing Brazil. Corruption, for example, remains an endemic problem.

Argentina has improved its ranking (and index score) in 2017, moving from the second- to the fourth-most miserable country in the world. But until inflation is wrestled to the ground, President Mauricio Macri will struggle — as President Carlos Menem did until April 1, 1991, when he introduced Argentina’s Convertibility System, which linked the peso to the greenback.

Egypt has always been impossible to describe. Now it is also impossible to analyze. The county’s Misery Index score actually increased — a bad sign. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s military-socialist rule continues to deliver misery. In addition to the problems that accompany any socialist-type system in which the military plays a decisive role, the Egyptian pound remains the country’s Achilles’ heel. The only solution to this problem is the adoption of a currency board, in which the pound would become a clone of an anchor currency, such as the euro or U.S. dollar.


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