One of the most miserable places in the world?
When you live in one of the least developed countries in the world it’s quite common to come across surveys of all kinds where your nation is placed at the bottom based on the parameters used to compile such a list. In this case I am referring to Nepal.
But last week Business Insider, the New York based technology and business news website, came out with the 2013 Misery Index, which lists the 25 most miserable countries in the world. And this is one list where Nepal finds itself placed at the top half.
The country has been ranked 8th in the list compiled after a survey of 197 countries. Not surprisingly most of the countries in the top 25 are from Africa and Asia with Mali ranked 25th and Zimbabwe topping the list with a misery index score of 103.3.
It would be pertinent to mention how the list was compiled. A country’s inflation and unemployment rates are totaled and the nation that has the highest total is given the unflattering title of being the ‘most miserable country in the world’.
A crude economic measure as admitted by the website itself. So, Zimbabwe, which has an inflation rate of 8.3 % and unemployment rate of 95 %, gets that distinction for this year. Nepal’s score is 54.3—inflation rate 8.3 % and 46 % being the unemployment rate.
The reason given for adopting this ‘crude’ method of measurement for misery is that “most citizens understand the pain of a high jobless rate and the soaring prices of goods”.
It is worth noting that the results are based on CIA’s World Factbook data, which estimates figures for countries where reliable local reporting agencies are absent. Hence, North Korea, which most would assume is a pretty miserable place, doesn’t find mention.
“Civil strife, labour unrest, its landlocked geographic location and susceptibility to natural disaster exacerbate its already weak economy,” the Business Insider list says about Nepal.
Having lived in Kathmandu for over three years now I know that problems are aplenty in Nepal. Severe power crisis, high inflation, poverty, unemployment, and political instability are just some of the more glaring ones.
But to term it as one of the most miserable countries is perhaps a bit of an exaggeration. Especially when the conclusion is arrived at by adding data of just two factors (that too not very reliable ones) and without any exhaustive survey done on the ground.
Oxford dictionary defines miserable as “wretchedly unhappy or uncomfortable” and most Nepalis would come across as anything but those two adjectives despite the plethora of problems plaguing the country and their daily lives.
Therefore the 2013 Misery Index is one list they needn’t pay much heed to – more so when they already have other pressing issues to worry about.
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