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Venezuela Ranked As The World’s Most Miserable Country – OpEd

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In early January, 2016, Johns Hopkins University, under the leadership of Prof. Steve H. Hanke (an American Applied Economics Professor), published its annual World Misery Index which has ranked Venezuela as the World’s Most Miserable Country.

The South American Nation has championed the World Misery Index for three consecutive years; Caracas continues to lack effective economic policies and has been hit hard by inflation, corruption and unemployment. Such a ranking is based on a summary generated by unemployment rate, lending rate, and the inflation rate, minus the annual percent change in real GDP per capita. Maduro’s Government leads the world misery ranking due to its spiking inflation and a laundry list of obstacles that his government has been facing since the passing of Hugo Chavez Frías.

According to Professor Hanke, President Reagan’s privatization expert, “the only way to permanently fix Venezuela’s money mess, which has been going on for many years, is to dollarize. That politician or political movement that does this will win the prize and stands a good chance of remaining in power for many years.”

Another remarkable change is that Brazil has replaced Argentina and it is ranked the second after Venezuela, Brasilia’s negative performance has increased up to 23.8 points since 2014, due to the country’s interest rates. The principal reason for its standing as one of the two top countries with a high misery level is the country’s interest rates.

According to Prof. Hanke, “When interest rates are the major contributing factor to the Misery Index, it implies that the banking system is either not competitive, or there is a great deal of credit risk and uncertainty about inflation — or both.”

Prof. Hanke brings to the attention that Panama, El Salvador, and Ecuador — “the dollarizers,” as he names these countries — “continued to do relatively well this year, although Ecuador is showing signs of economic deterioration; “the government of Rafael Correa has adopted a socialist-interventionist model. This is a formula for failure. If Ecuador was not dollarized, it would be closely following Venezuela towards the bottom of the abyss.”

In regards to the other nineteen countries of the Americas, Prof. Hanke states that those who got a score of over twenty in the Misery Index — Paraguay, Colombia, Uruguay, Honduras and Peru — need “serious structural economic reforms, including a major overhaul of its monetary and banking regime, as well as a good dose of free-market reforms.”

In conclusion to his remarks, Professor Hanke notes that, “In the world of economic reforms, one has to be big and bold. The best way to proceed is to adopt a foreign currency (i.e. dollarization), or clone a sound foreign currency via a currency board.”

Moreover CATO Institute’s economist emphasizes the fact that Latin America “failed to make headway while the sun was shining. Yes, Latin America failed to reform and become modern during its ‘boom’ years. Now, the region will pay the price. Indeed, there are many headwinds in the region. Indeed, 2016 could prove to be a very difficult year, and the 2016 Misery Index scores could be worse than this year’s.”

Peter Tase

Peter Tase is a freelance writer and journalist of International Relations, Latin American and Southern Caucasus current affairs. He is the author of America's first book published on the historical and archeological treasures of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan (Republic of Azerbaijan); has authored and published four books on the Foreign Policy and current economic – political events of the Government of Azerbaijan. Tase has written about International Relations for Eurasia Review Journal since June 2012.

11 thoughts on “Venezuela Ranked As The World’s Most Miserable Country – OpEd

  • January 15, 2016 at 3:05 am
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    What Mr. Tase fails to point out is Venezuela’s misery is largely a product of the long-term and steady attack of the United States on both the person and policies of Hugo Chavez, and his successor, Maduro (who has just been defeated at the polls). In many ways, the US persecution of Venezuela is very like its very long-term boycott of Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba. The Chicago economists, led by Milton Friedman, have long persecuted any Latin American country that has had the guts to oppose US neo-liberal economics or the globalized system the US has put into place. During the Cold War, it was fairly simple to deal with the rebels: accuse them of being Communists. Nowadays, we get them heavily involved in the drug trade and then send in the US military to combat it, taking over the government in the meantime. The N. American banks and the IMF have their methods as well. As the old saying goes “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

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    • January 19, 2016 at 8:15 pm
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      “steady attack of the United States on both the person and policies of Hugo Chavez” you dont know nothing about the massive theft of the chavista elite to the nation dont ya? Cuban military infiltrated in the venezuelan army , you dont know that? why dont you ask yourself how a country with 30 million people and with a 100+ $ oil barrel can be so destroyed that there is no toliet paper to sell in the supermarkets? You lefty gringos dont know NOTHING, fighting capitalism with your iphones. USA was happy buying oil like the rest of the planet so i invite you to my country , Venezuela , and find yourself whats going on.. Cheers

      PD: please tell Danny Glover to return the 18 million $ that he got to do a movie and ask Sean Penn if he really gave the venezuelan money to Haiti. They are very lefty and liars as well.

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    • January 20, 2016 at 7:51 pm
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      I don’t know why I’m blatantly surprised to see outsiders buy that “economic war” and “the empire is against us” lie the government feeds its followers, it’s just a poor excuse for the consequences of their terrible decision making (and corruption). I have no idea what the media showed you (foreigners) about this, Dr. Perkins perhaps you should come and visit for a while, experience the great legacy of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro first hand and form a less theoretical opinion, see for yourself how the government’s poor management alone tore this country apart.

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    • January 24, 2016 at 2:26 am
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      I wonder where did Ms. Perkins get her Ph.D. A box of Corn Flakes? Blaming the US government for a condition created by the clumsiness and ignorance of Venezuelan Chavistas seems to indicate that origin of her Ph.D. The US government, even if do not like it too much because of its tendency towards socialism, has no responsibility whatsoever in the mess created by chavistas in Venezuela.

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  • January 18, 2016 at 6:47 am
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    If only Venezuela would follow US direction as have Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, it could join them as stable, wealthy, growing democracies with police and military fully funded by US taxpayers.

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  • January 19, 2016 at 11:17 pm
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    Dr. Perkins: I am not sure whether you have ever been to Venezuela. I am going to guess you have not. I am also not sure if you have made the math regarding the obscene amount of money Venezuela has received thru oil revenue in the past 16 years. I am also not sure whether you are aware that Venezuela has always had rampant corruption, but never like we have seen in the recent past. Until last year Venezuelan oil was been marketed for $100/barrel and in the middle of Chavez’s presidency it reached the astronomical figure of $140/barrel. Billions of Billions of $ flooded the country and have literally DISAPPEARED. Is there any excuse for a country with that kind of revenue and only 30 million inhabitants to be in the state it is today? It is very easy to keep blaming the USA. That story has been told many, many times to the poor. Wonder when we, citizens of Latin America are going to start pointing the finger to where it belongs: our dishonest politicians, that would sell their mother for $100 without a doubt. Those who scream revolution but are seen in the very fancy and expensive restaurants in Caracas, drinking 18 year Reserve Whiskey. The very same politicians that ask their people to sacrifice in the name of Chavez and the Revolution all whilst wearing $100K Rolex watches. The politicians coming out of 5th Avenue shops with their hands full. Those who roam around Caracas in huge Hummers, surrounded by legions of body guards, while crime kills mostly the poor. The unconstitutional takings without indemnity of most of the productive land and businesses. The straight forward acknowledgement by Venezuelan officials that they are not going to help people out of poverty because after that they would be middle class and vote for the opposition. What happens today in Venezuela is by no means the fault of anyone else but wrong economic policy and the most outrageous corruption the country has ever seen. This cat, sadly, is skinning itself, Dr. Perkins.

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    • January 24, 2016 at 11:06 pm
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      I totally agree with this assessment. I have spent a considerable amount of time in Venezuela over the past 20 years, been a partner in what was a thriving business there (now struggling to survive). The government of Chavez / Maduro is unbelievably corrupt (I have personally been approached by government ministers soliciting huge bribes).
      The monumental mismanagement of the economy for the personal gain of the “Faithful” Chavistas is hard to even comprehend. There is no need for the USA, or any other government to interfere or conspire to ruin Venezuela, as the Chavez / Maduro oligarchy are succeeding superbly on their own to absolutely bankrupt the country and fatten their own bank accounts (in dollars, of course). As a friend of mine said, Chavez & Maduro must surely love poor people, as they are creating more of them every minute.

      Reply
  • January 23, 2016 at 7:42 pm
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    Dr.Perkins.You have absolutely NO IDEA of what you are talking about..while Chavez talked for hours against USA, he NEVER EVERE stoped selling oil to them EVER, thank God! Or we would be in a worse deeper place that what we are(if this is still possible). Also the actual situation is not only Maduro’s fault it comes from Chavez bad politics, Populism’s and a lot a lot a lot of talking talking and talking, non programmed, organized or by verified programs apllied like he was playing a children’s game instead of governing a country.
    I could go on forever!
    Really take a trip to Caracas and see it your self, IF you come back alive, meaning you were not rob or kidnapped ( because let’s face it, you do not know the things we have to do to try to avoid violence and crime) then and only then make an opinion.

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  • January 24, 2016 at 2:54 am
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    The only root of all evils in Venezuela, has been total submission of chavez and maduro to the castro brothers as well as infinite corruption and the involvement of the military in civil rule.

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  • January 24, 2016 at 4:07 am
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    What a shame, specially when you realize it’s true.

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  • January 24, 2016 at 4:16 pm
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    Chavistas has always blame others for not having been able to achieve progress after handling US$ 1,000,000,0000,000 in 17 years with absolute control of the country. Do the math, 2 to 3 million barrels of oil per day production which at at point reached 130 $ per barrel. All that money disappeared, many Chavistas and their friends became very rich. Now that the barrel of oil is 24 or so, they blame USA, Obama, and the extreme right. They confiscated productive land and turn it into nothing. They took over thousand of entreprises and made them unrpoductive or they even close down. They kept exchange rate at 6.3 Bs per US$ but the black market has reached and exceeded 900 Bs sper US $. Not a single person has been proceesed for corruption because they control the supreme court and all the judges. One judge that deared to contradict Chavez´s command got 30 years in prision sentence. Many in the army are using planes and other hardware and influence for drug traffic. Some that have been cought outside Venezuela carry dimplomatic passport with no reason other than been connected to someone in the government. .But Perkins also believe it is the imperialism, the extreme right fault. I can´t believe it.

    Reply

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