Think you have it bad? Here are the 15 most miserable economies in the world

Inflation is a disease that can wreck a society, Milton Friedman, the late Nobel laureate economist, once said. Add rising unemployment to the diagnosis and you get...misery.

That affliction this year will be most acute in Venezuela, Argentina, South Africa, Ukraine and Greece - the five most painful economies in which to live and work, according to Bloomberg survey data that make up the so-called misery index for 2015.

Four things to note:

1. Ukraine

War will exact greater economic casualties. Tension with Russia-backed rebels will see joblessness in the eastern European nation climb to 9.5 per cent this year, while inflation is projected to rise by 17.5 per cent.

The one-two punch means Ukrainian consumers are set to be the fourth-saddest among 51 economies surveyed (including the euro area).

The depressing expectations for Ukraine still aren't quite as bad as what the embattled nation faced in 2014, when it finished second in the misery index.

2. Top three

The three countries that will probably see the most economic misery in 2015 - South Africa, Argentina and Venezuela - haven't budged much from their 2014 rankings, when they occupied three of the top four spots, the data showed.

3. Venezuela

At 78.5 per cent, the estimated CPI inflation rate in back-to-back, most-miserable Venezuela more than quadruples Ukraine's inflation rate.

The shortage of basic goods in Venezuela has gotten so bad that last week neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago offered a tissue-paper-for-oil swap.


Five years after investors popularized the term "PIIGS" to describe a handful of European countries with bloated budget deficits, four of those five countries remain in dire straits, according to their projected misery indexes.

Greece is 5th, Spain is 6th, Portugal is 10th and Italy is 11th in this year's ranking, though each show about average projected income levels relative to survey peers. (Ireland happily sits further down the chain at No. 16 in the misery ranking and with a much-better-than-average GDP per capita of $48,787.


Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.