Thu | Apr 27, 2017

We're not that miserable ... are we?

Published:Monday | February 2, 2015 | 2:00 AM

To say I'm miserable, would be like saying tortoises move slowly.

The reasons for my 'miserableness' are varied and we won't really go into them this week. My point, though, is according to the Cato's Misery Index 2014, Jamaica is the ninth most miserable country in the world. Garbage! We miserable but nuh so bad! First off, the index is compiled by the Cato Institute which is a think tank (educated people who love talk 'bout odda people problem). According to its website, the institute is "dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace." So dem bright people yah love siddung and come up wid all manner of samples and indices.

Now why dis ting nuh mek no sense is that di miserable index looked at 108 countries and used data from the Economist Intelligence Unit (who?) and calculations from applied economics professor Steve Hanke (who?). Hanke used inflation, lending rates, unemployment, and gross domestic product per capita when making calculations to determine 'misery' (why?). So after all of that economic mathematics (don't ask me why that's the measuring stick used), we are the ninth most miserable nation on the planet.

That rank is way too high based on them maths deh. You can't use financial situations to 'guesstimate' how miserable anybody is. Jamaicans, as in the average man on the street, have been in less-than-ideal financial situations for a while. I remember asking some Port Antonio residents about recession, and they said they were good because they were always poor. So high interest rates, which were the main reasons for Jamaica's ranking, nuh really badda wi. Unemployment? Not a miserable issue for Jamaicans - some of them are quite content with doing nothing all day.

wrong criteria

Obviously, these folks are using the wrong criteria. If they were going to use things like conflict between citizens, bad-mindedness and the speed at which people get 'ignorant', then Jamaica's ninth place would be too low. Based on the daily reports of little fights in the streets, the constant complaints on the talk shows about the utility companies, the myriad of protests and the general feeling of angst you get in the streets, I find it hard to think some country out there would be more miserable than us. But dem a use economics, so that's their business.

If they did the index my way, Sudan (who has had serious civil war) and Honduras (yuh think we have nuff murders? Check them) could never be less miserable than us as they are in Cato's index. By the way, the number-one miserable nation is Venezuela (dem have nuff beauty queen but even nuffer high consumer prices. They are followed closely by Argentina, who have the same major issue. The nearest 'true' Caribbean nation (mi nuh count Belize etc) to Jamaica is Barbados at 28.

When somebody does a 'real' miserable index, hope they consult me. I will set the record straight.

Link me at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com