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Annual misery index reveals world’s most downcast nations

The Annual Misery Index which judges nations predominantly on their economic conditions has deemed Zimbabwe the most miserable country in the world.

The east African country, former known as Rhodesia pipped Ukraine, Venezuela and Syria to pole position, with sky-high inflation accounting for much of the dejection.

The Index was made by Steve Hanke, professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University. The list is calculated by taking the rate of unemployment (multiplied by two), inflation, and bank-lending rates, minus the annual percentage change in real GDP per capita.

Hanke says that he been tracking the fate of Zimbabwe for over 20 years since inflation became problematic in 2008 when Robert Mugabe was president.

He has predicted economic growth of merely 0.9%, in contrast to the 6% recently forecasted by Zimbabwe’s finance minister, Mthuli Ncube.

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“Its [Zimbabwe’s] policies have resulted in massive misery,” Hanke said.

“For example, Zimbabwe has suffered endemic inflation since the Mugabe era, including two episodes of hyperinflation, in which the inflation rate exceeded 50 pct per month for 30 or more days.

“Last year didn’t deliver much better, with annual inflation at 243.8 pct, and lending rates following suit at 131.8 pct.”

Thanks to stunning inflation, high unemployment, high lending rates, and anemic real GDP growth, Zimbabwe clocks in as the WORLD'S MOST MISERABLE COUNTRY in the Hanke 2022 Annual Misery Index. Need I say more?

— Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) May 21, 2023

In the post-war period up to the 1970’s the country established a relatively balanced economy, transforming what was once a primary producer dependent on backwoods farming into an industrial giant.

Nowadays informal money changers occupy Zimbabwe’s shopping areas and outside banks and even policemen and soldiers can be seen openly exchanging local currency for a U.S. dollar to purchase bread.

Ukraine was eighth in the index, owing to the war-induced low rate of unemployment. Poland was 74th, whilst the U.K. was 129th and the U.S. 134th, whilst Switzerland was ranked the least miserable.

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