CubaBrief: Cuban intellectuals and artists call for amnesty and for colleagues not to be silent. Patria y Vida panel at SXSW. Cuba is 2021’s most miserable country

Political show trial in Cuba for 11J protesters (Archive photo: Marti Noticias)

Cuban intellectuals living in Cuba – who belong to official cultural institutions – wrote an open letter published in El Toque and translated to English in the Havana Times titled “Manifesto against silence, for justice”, with the main objectives of demanding the release of the July 11th protestors sentenced to prison, and calling on other artists and intellectuals to speak out against State violence, and warning that silence is complicity.

“You can condemn or support the State’s violence from any ideological standpoint. Under-handedness, silence, or passivity with the punitive trials of protestors during the social uprising, instead of defending vulnerable citizens and making the authorities answer for their actions, will only perpetuate and extend abuse and conflict. We, people of ideas and words, will become accomplices of violence and injustice, consciously or underhandedly.”

Signers include filmmakers such as Fernando Perez and Juan Pin Vilar; historians Alina Fernandez, Mario Navia and Leonardo Fernandez; poets Alex Fleites and Jorge Fernandez Era that come from official circles. The Cuban dictatorship would like to silence dissent, and have attempted through the use of violence and political terror to impose it, but thus far have failed.

Cuban historian Rafael Rojas (Foto: L.F.Rojas 2015).

Cuban historian Rafael Rojas in a March 21, 2022 Marti Noticias interview said that he perceives that more Cuban intellectuals are positioning themselves against the sentences imposed on anti-government protesters of last July 11. This crackdown is having a boomerang effect against the dictatorship within its own institutions.

The Austin Chronicle published on March 21, 2022 Gary Lindsey’s article “Patria y Vida: The Newest Rhythm Of Revolution” reporting on a panel discussion during SXSW on the continuing significance of the song “Patria y Vida” [ Homeland and Life] comparing it with historic protest songs such as “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and NWA’s “F— The Police.”

In the same rebellious spirit as the two above mentioned songs, Cuban artist Yotuel Romero created Homeland and Life, with the help of his wife, Beatriz Luengo, rappers Maykel “Osorbo” Castillo Perez, Descemer Bueno, Eliecer “el Funky” Márquez Duany, and the Cuban group Gente de Zona. The Austin Chronicle provides both the context for the song, and the price paid by one of the artists.

The title means “Homeland and Life”, which would seem a pretty innocuous phrase were it not for the fact that it pulls a rope-a-dope on Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolutionary slogan, “Patria O Muerte” – meaning “homeland or death.” This, of course, is the same style of subtle yet powerful word-play that NWA skillfully exercised when they took a common pejorative historically uttered by racist whites to African-Americans who “didn’t know their place” – and made it not only a badge of honor, but also an incredible band name.

One drastic difference: none of the members of NWA were exiled from their homeland or sent to a maximum security prison for their artistic expression, a fate which befell rapper Maykel Osorbo, one of the vocalists on “Patria y Vida,” who was arrested on May 18 while he was at his house having lunch, taken away without a shirt or shoes. According to international reports, for 13 days he was held in what’s known by Amnesty International as a “forced disappearance” – state sanctioned kidnapping. Osorbo still languishes in Pinar del Río provincial prison, west of Havana, deprived once again of any and all contact from his family, friends or lawyers, not to mention his due-process.

“It is a classic David and Goliath,” Romero stated at the South by Southwest panel that he and Luengo spoke at last Thursday, “but this time David has a song instead of a stone”.

Not mentioned by Lindsey was that the threats extended beyond the island., and to non-Cubans. Yotuel’s wife, Beatriz Luengo, a Spanish national, described what she had experienced in working on Patria y Vida during the Latin Grammy ceremony last year: “I cry because you cannot imagine what I have suffered as a woman composer. I have had all sorts of threats. They took down my social networks, they took our video off YouTube. The song annoyed some very much, but it only talks about human rights. I have had personal threats with my recently born child.” CBS News reported on November 19, 2021 how some of the Cuban artists living abroad felt about the consequences of expressing themselves freely in their music.

Gente De Zona, who is made up of musicians Alexander Delgado and Randy Malcom, talked to “CBS Mornings” in July about the song and risks of speaking out. “We’re talking about the lives of an entire country,” Delgado said. “They’re killing our people. So, if I have to, or we have to die, for our people, we’d do it. We have to keep denouncing it.” … “We knew we’d never be able to step foot on our land again, that we’d never be able to see our families again,” Malcom added. “But, Cuba is my family. My family is more than 12 million Cubans who are still on the island suffering.” 

This is part of the internal blockade on Cubans, imposed by the dictatorship, and those that do business with the regime’s tourism industry that is run by the military are also complicit in this repression. They are providing resources that the Castro regime uses to repress Cubans, and maintain its internal controls on them. This is why, ironically, the most popular foreigners to visit Cuba re Americans because, thanks to economic sanctions, they have not been collaborating with the dictatorship.

Steve H. Hanke, a professor of applied economics at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a senior fellow and director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the Cato Institute, has published his latest installment of the Misery Index with Cuba being the most miserable country on the planet. However, in his analysis he also provides the way out of the inflation predicament for Havana.

Cuba, with a dramatic plummet compared with last year’s HAMI, now holds the inglorious title of 2021’s most-miserable country. As you can see, Cuba’s HAMI score was driven by a soaring 1,221.8 percent per year inflation. That level of inflation was rather unsurprising, given Cuba’s devaluing of the peso by 95 percent during 2021. Currency devaluations lead to increased inflation rates. Indeed, following a devaluation, inflation will pick up and so will the costs of producing goods and services, including exports, in the country that has devalued its currency. Inflation will steal away any of the potential short‐term, competitive benefits that might initially accompany the devaluation. This is exactly what happened in Cuba. Of course, it’s not so miserable in Cuba if you are favored by the party and receive a loan, which will carry a negative real interest rate of approximately 1,219 percent.

Cuba could easily solve its inflation crisis by installing a currency board, as Dr. Kurt Schuler and I proposed in Currency Reform for a Market Oriented Cuba (1992). A currency board issues notes and coins convertible on demand into a foreign-anchor currency at a fixed rate of exchange. It is required to hold anchor-currency reserves equal to 100 percent of its monetary liabilities. A currency board’s currency is a clone of its anchor currency. Currency boards have existed in some 70 countries. None have failed.

HAMI = [Unemployment (3.7%) + Inflation (1221.8%) + Bank‐Lending Rate (2.3%)] – Real GDP Growth (0.2%) = 1227.6. 

There is a formula for ending this misery in Cuba, and that involves the dictatorship lifting its internal blockade on Cubans, both economic and political, and allow a fresh breath of freedom to reinvigorate the country.

Havana Times, March 21, 2022

Cuba: Manifesto against Silence, for Justice

March 21, 2022

HAVANA TIMES – A group of renowned Cuban intellectuals and artists living on the archipelago – who belong to official cultural institutions – wrote a public letter they called “Manifesto against silence, for justice”, the main objective of which is to demand the release of the July 11th protestors sentenced to prison. Intellectuals and academics from the diaspora community also joined the spirit and purpose of the document.

This manifesto has essentially become a protest. It also seeks to report, yet again, state repression deployed to calm down protests on July 11th and 12th 2021; as well as sentences given to make examples of those taken to trial. The letter explains that it is a humanist duty to condemn every act of violence and arbitrariness, regardless of the ideology of the Government that commits it.

The document calls upon intellectuals and artists to join it and make this complaint their own, so victims of the State can be supported, and the Cuban government’s punitive actions come to a halt.

Signees include filmmakers such as Fernando Perez and Juan Pin Vilar; historians Alina Fernandez, Mario Navia and Leonardo Fernandez; poets Alex Fleites and Jorge Fernandez Era; as well as activists – some of whom are outside Cuba for the time being but are permanent residents on the island – linked to different public protests that have challenged the State’s power recently.

Here, is the full manifesto:

To Cuba’s artistic and intellectual community:

On July 11th and 12th 2021, Cuba was shaken by a social uprising that was responded to by the State’s deployment of its military forces and their repressive actions. These events led to excessive violence which resulted in the death of citizen Diubis Laurencio Tejada, the forced entry of homes, protestors being beaten and over 1000 citizens arrested, as a direct consequence. This episode of civil disobedience was followed by the prosecution of over 500 citizens who have been given sentences to set an example, over 20 years in prison in many cases.

Despite the Government’s announcement, the right to protest exists but is still pending regulation. Faced with the 11/12J protests, the State responded with excessive and methodological political and legal violence that went beyond the one-off and spontaneous acts of violence committed during the uprising by some citizens. The responsibilities of a protestor damaging an object or another person’s property doesn’t compare to that of somebody attacking another person (and the attackers being law enforcement officers or civilians).

Given the above, the signees below declare:

I- These Cubans have only exercised their right to have rights, the same way citizens protest every day in our region of Latin America and in the world. When excesses take place in protests in any country, those involved – whether they are citizens or public officials – need to be taken to trial with due process and according to the Law, it should never aim for excessive punishment.

II- Sentences given publicly ridicule all Cuban society – going beyond ideological beliefs or political membership – and stop any attempt for people to actively take control of their lives in their country. The young people taken to trial mostly come from vulnerable neighborhoods, hit hard by severe economic crisis and poor government administration. Sentences, violations of due process – according to Cuban and international Law – and government media coverage of these trials to set an example, are excessive.

III- It is the intellectual duty of every academic and artist, during any period of time and in any society, to condemn violence and arbitrariness without double standards, without ideological exemptions or realpolitik subterfuges. We need to condemn it because the victims of this violence are almost always those whose lives, needs and interests are the object of our research and work.

IV- It is our social responsibility to accompany victims of State violence if we understand what happened between July 11th-12th as a social uprising, like we would in all of Latin America, expressed with civil disobedience, and the result of the Government’s poor administration of the economy and authoritarian means of managing conflict and socio-political participation in Cuba.

V- At this unprecedented and sad moment in Cuban history, we are calling upon our intellectual and artistic colleagues to join us. These prisoners are – or could be – our relatives, neighbors, friends. Ourselves even. During this age of online connections, we all know what’s going on. Nobody is disconnected from recent events, testimonies and how things have unfolded.

You can condemn or support the State’s violence from any ideological standpoint. Under-handedness, silence, or passivity with the punitive trials of protestors during the social uprising, instead of defending vulnerable citizens and making the authorities answer for their actions, will only perpetuate and extend abuse and conflict. We, people of ideas and words, will become accomplices of violence and injustice, consciously or underhandedly.

For that reason, given the prolongation and corruption of these trials, the punitive essence of these, and lessons from similar processes in our region, we demand the release of our fellow Cubans. Likewise, previous delimitation needs to be established for private and public responsibilities for the violence related to these protests. The real way to begin this process – by an amnesty or something similar – is up for discussion, but not its essence. The Law can’t subordinate justice. 

Adriana Ortega Normand

Alberto Abreu Arcia

Alex Fleites Rodriguez

Alexander Hall Lujardo

Alexei Padilla Herrera

Alfredo Lopez de la Rocha

Alina Barbara Lopez Hernandez.

Amaury Pacheco Del Monte

Armando Chaguaceda Noriega

Camila Cabrera Rodriguez

Carmelo Mesa-Lago

Carolina Barrero Ferrer

Dany Roque Gavilla s.j

Eloy Viera Cañive

Fernando Perez Valdes

Harold Cardenas Lema

Haroldo Dilla Alfonso

Helen Ochoa Calvo

Ivette Garcia Gonzalez

Jorge Fernandez Era

Jose Manuel Gonzalez Rubines

Juan Pin Vilar

Leonardo Manuel Fernandez Otaño

Leonardo Romero Negrin

Mario Valdes Navia

Marta Maria Ramirez Garcia

Mauricio de Miranda Parrondo

Miguel Alejandro Hayes

Omar Everleny Perez Villanueva

Pedro Manuel Monreal Gonzalez

Rafael Rojas Gutierrez

Raul Prado Rodriguez

Sandra Ceballos

Tania Bruguera

Teresa Diaz Canals

Uva de Aragon y Hernandez-Cata

——–

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

https://havanatimes.org/opinion/cuba-manifesto-against-silence-for-justice/

The Austin Chronicle, March 21, 2022

Patria y Vida: The Newest Rhythm Of Revolution

Panel spotlights Cuba protest song leading to rapper’s imprisonment

By Gary Lindsey, 11:30AM, Mon. Mar. 21, 2022

Yotuel Romero on the Sound of Change: Patria y Vida and Cuba’s Uprising panel during SXSW. (Photo by John Anderson)

Quick music history quiz; what do the songs “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and NWA’s “Fuck The Police” have in common? Give up? They’re both protest songs.

”Yankee Doodle” was originally a British song mocking Americans as lowly simpletons that didn’t know the difference between a horse and a pony – a worthless bunch of dirty rabble who thought that putting a feather in their hat would elevate their status.

When the American Revolution started to turn against our royal rulers, the song became popular, ironically, to American soldiers who began singing it on the battlefield to the retreating Red Coats. In that single act of war-time snarkiness, “Yankee Doodle” was flipped from being a satirical smack-down, created by an overwhelmingly larger oppressive force, to being an anthem of strength, resilience, and eventually, national pride, to a budding nation.

Hence the reason it is still known to this day.

In that same renegade spirit, Cuban musician Yotuel Romero began creating last year’s double Latin Grammy winning hit, “Patria y Vida,” with the help of his wife, Beatriz Luengo, and Maykel “Osorbo” Castillo Perez, Descemer Bueno, Eliecer “el Funky” Márquez Duany, and the reggaeton duo Gente de Zona.

The title means “Homeland and Life”, which would seem a pretty innocuous phrase were it not for the fact that it pulls a rope-a-dope on Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolutionary slogan, “Patria O Muerte” – meaning “homeland or death.” This, of course, is the same style of subtle yet powerful word-play that NWA skillfully exercised when they took a common pejorative historically uttered by racist whites to African-Americans who “didn’t know their place” – and made it not only a badge of honor, but also an incredible band name.

One drastic difference: none of the members of NWA were exiled from their homeland or sent to a maximum security prison for their artistic expression, a fate which befell rapper Maykel Osorbo, one of the vocalists on “Patria y Vida,” who was arrested on May 18 while he was at his house having lunch, taken away without a shirt or shoes. According to international reports, for 13 days he was held in what’s known by Amnesty International as a “forced disappearance” – state sanctioned kidnapping. Osorbo still languishes in Pinar del Río provincial prison, west of Havana, deprived once again of any and all contact from his family, friends or lawyers, not to mention his due-process.

“It is a classic David and Goliath,” Romero stated at the South by Southwest panel that he and Luengo spoke at last Thursday, “but this time David has a song instead of a stone”.

The SXSW Featured Session, titled Sound of Change: Patria y Vida and Cuba’s Uprising, was hosted by Billboard VP Leila Cobo, who did a wonderful job as both interviewer and translator for the couple. Although Romero and Luengo are both bi-lingual, they felt greater ease expressing certain answers in Spanish, due to the passionate nature of the topic at hand.

“What do you want from this song?” Cobo asked Romero at one point in the discussion. After a clearly eloquent response in Spanish that I would’ve given anything to be able to understand because it sounded so beautifully expressed, his english translation summarized it in simpler terms: “We just want to be.”

A fair request for any artist as well as any human.

Leila Cobo (l), Yotuel Romero, and Beatriz Luengo on the Sound of Change: Patria y Vida and Cuba’s Uprising panel during SXSW (Photo by John Anderson)

Over the summer of 2021, the song – which the Cuban regime banned after it came out the previous February – became a popular rally cry during the largest anti-government protests in decades. Cuba, which which has a poverty rate more than twice as high as the United States, was hit very hard by the pandemic. With food shortages, rolling blackouts, improper COVID testing, and a loss of tourism shrinking the already desperate economy by 11 percent, the island was like a powder keg in a burning barn. Ready to blow at any second.

Upon the release of “Patria y Vida,” anti-government protests quickly caught on around the country, swelling to thousands, despite the fact that the song’s topic is more about artistic freedom than economic depression. That didn’t seem to matter, as the shared message for all was still about the hypocrisy, repression, and brutality of living under a heavy handed, authoritarian government.

“You talk about beaches, but you don’t talk about what is happening to your people” Luengo stated, mirroring the lyric her husband wrote and sang, “You advertise the paradise of Varadero, While mother’s cry for their children who have perished.” A line that would unfortunately turn prophecy for their collaborator Osorbo.

Not only has the song been banned, but anyone caught even listening to it in Cuba can be fined the equivalent of a month’s salary. Think about that for a second – a month’s worth of income to an impoverished household. A ridiculously devastating financial hit, simply for listening to a popular song.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel blames the US for the recent unrest, citing both the embargo and social media – even going so far as to calling it “genocidal,” and continues to publicly urge pro-government Cuban’s to counter-protest.

With Diaz-Canel’s administration holding its own rallies in reaction to the pro-Democracy demonstrations, it could be hard for onlookers to know which protest is which. Both sides carry signs proudly claiming that they’re the true revolutionaries. Whatever the motive for anyone involved, whether it’s cultural, political, generational, or even just sheer desperation and fear, the stakes are just as high.

“This is not a political movement, it is a human rights movement,” Luengo emphasized at the SXSW pannel.

When the conversation came back around to their imprisoned friend, Osorbo, the depth of their frustration became visible in their eyes as well as their posture. After one participant asked, “What else can be done for Maykel” they looked at each other helplessly. You get a sense that they ask this same question of themselves, countless times, everyday. After taking a moment to collect his thoughts, Romero simply responded: “I don’t know, but we will not stop.”

With the so-called “legal channels” locked down tight by the state, Romero and Luengo will once again have to rely on their talents, friends, and creative energy for any sense of hope or relief. They recently announced that “Patria y Vida” will be getting a full-length documentary through a partnership with Exile Content Studio. Although no release date has been given, they’re doing all they can to get this urgent message delivered quickly to a broader audience.

At the risk of sounding flippant, I feel that the situation in Cuba is an interesting combination of nearly every popular revolution since the Sixties. It’s Pussy Riot, Arab Spring, the Summer of Love, and even a bit of Hamilton, all rolled into one – artists in jail for their art, citizens in the streets using social media to override an authoritarian government, and all of it playing out to a soundtrack heavily influenced by American hip-hop.

We can only hope that with enough blood, sweat, and empathy from the international community, this story can find a happy ending reminiscent of a Broadway play.

https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/music/2022-03-21/patria-y-vida-the-newest-rhythm-of-revolution/

National Review, March 16, 2022

International

Hanke’s 2021 Misery Index: Who’s Miserable and Who’s Happy?

By Steve H. Hanke

March 16, 2022

People wait in line to enter a store that sells products in U.S. dollars in Havana, Cuba, July 20, 2020. (Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters)

It is essential for policy-makers to have a read of their constituents’ well-being, as viewed through the lens of economic statistics.

Author’s note: Below is the latest installment of Hanke’s Annual Misery Index (HAMI). What is it — and how should we conceive of man’s well-being? The human condition lies on a vast spectrum between “miserable” and “happy.” In the economic sphere, misery tends to flow from high inflation, steep borrowing costs, and unemployment. The surefire way to mitigate that misery is through economic growth. Comparing countries’ metrics can tell us a lot about where in the world people are sad or happy. HAMI gives us the answers. My version of the misery index is the sum of the year-end unemployment, inflation, and bank-lending rates, minus the annual percentage change in real GDP per capita. Higher readings on the first three elements are “bad” and make people more miserable. These “bads” are offset by a “good” (real GDP per capita growth), which is subtracted from the sum of the bads to yield a HAMI score. For more on this index, please see here.

As in last year’s HAMI, this year’s includes 156 countries.

In our review of this year’s table, let’s start with the three least-miserable countries. The following three countries (and the United Kingdom) were the only countries whose HAMI score was negative — i.e., real GDP per capita growth was greater than the sum of unemployment, inflation, and bank‐lending rates.

Libya, somewhat surprisingly, takes the prize as the world’s least-miserable country for 2021. Libya’s civil war went from hot in 2020 to simmering in 2021. As a result, Libya’s oil revenues, which were snuffed out in 2020 by port closures and blockades, increased by roughly 3.7 times in 2021. That’s why Libya’s real GDP per capita growth reached a sky-high 62.6 percent.

HAMI = [Unemployment (19.0%) + Inflation (4.6%) + Bank‐Lending Rate (3.0%)] − Real GDP Growth (62.6%) = −36.0.

Malta improved significantly in 2021 and is the second-least-miserable country in the world. If you look at Malta’s arithmetic, that’s no surprise. Low unemployment, negative bank-lending rates, solid real GDP growth, and the lowest inflation rate in Europe equals a lot of happiness.

HAMI = [Unemployment (3.6%) + Inflation (0.7%) + Bank‐Lending Rate (-0.5%)] − Real GDP Growth (5.3%) = −1.5.

Ireland turned in a solid performance in 2021 and is the third-least-miserable country in the world. That’s because Ireland’s “bads” were offset by a very strong “good,” as you can see in Ireland’s arithmetic.

HAMI = [Unemployment (6.2%) + Inflation (4.5%) + Bank‐Lending Rate (2.9%)] − Real GDP Growth (14.0%) = −0.4.

Now, let’s dive down into the pits.

Cuba, with a dramatic plummet compared with last year’s HAMI, now holds the inglorious title of 2021’s most-miserable country. As you can see, Cuba’s HAMI score was driven by a soaring 1,221.8 percent per year inflation. That level of inflation was rather unsurprising, given Cuba’s devaluing of the peso by 95 percent during 2021. Currency devaluations lead to increased inflation rates. Indeed, following a devaluation, inflation will pick up and so will the costs of producing goods and services, including exports, in the country that has devalued its currency. Inflation will steal away any of the potential short‐term, competitive benefits that might initially accompany the devaluation. This is exactly what happened in Cuba. Of course, it’s not so miserable in Cuba if you are favored by the party and receive a loan, which will carry a negative real interest rate of approximately 1,219 percent.

Cuba could easily solve its inflation crisis by installing a currency board, as Dr. Kurt Schuler and I proposed in Currency Reform for a Market Oriented Cuba (1992). A currency board issues notes and coins convertible on demand into a foreign-anchor currency at a fixed rate of exchange. It is required to hold anchor-currency reserves equal to 100 percent of its monetary liabilities. A currency board’s currency is a clone of its anchor currency. Currency boards have existed in some 70 countries. None have failed.

HAMI = [Unemployment (3.7%) + Inflation (1221.8%) + Bank‐Lending Rate (2.3%)] – Real GDP Growth (0.2%) = 1227.6. 

Venezuela, another socialist basket case, slips to the second-most-miserable country in the world after six years in the pole position. While inflation came down from 3,713.3 percent in 2020, its rate of 686.4 percent was still the main cause of Venezuela’s misery. Unlike Cuba, however, Venezuela’s unemployment and bank-lending rates, both the highest of any of the 156 countries in this year’s HAMI, contributed to its placement as 2021’s second-most-miserable country. Just take a look at its miserable arithmetic.

HAMI = [Unemployment (45.0%) + Inflation (686.4%) + Bank‐Lending Rate (53.0%)] − Real GDP Growth (10.1%) = 774.3. 

Sudan, once again, holds down the spot as the third-most-miserable country in the world in the 2021 HAMI. This year’s big event in Sudan was the military coup d’état, which was inspired, in part, by the civilian government’s inability to rein in Sudan’s inflation. But with Sudan still ranked as the third-most-miserable country in the world, it’s clear that the military junta hasn’t been able to control inflation, either. Just check out Sudan’s miserable arithmetic for 2021. In fact, to repeat myself, the only way to smash Sudan’s inflation is to install a currency board, as Sudan had from 1957–1960 when the Sudanese pound was fixed to the British pound sterling.

HAMI = [Unemployment (17.4%) + Inflation (359.1%) + Bank‐Lending Rate (21.6%)] − Real GDP Growth (0.9%) = 397.2.

Lebanon repeats its 2020 performance as the fourth-most-miserable country in the world. While 2021 did mark the formation of a new Lebanese government, Prime Minister Mikati’s government has operated in a somewhat dysfunctional state, and as a result, has been unable to stabilize the Lebanese pound and rescue the country from the grip of inflation. That’s because the currency-board proposal of Jacques de Larosière, John Greenwood, and me, elaborated in the Wall Street Journal in April 2021 and in Capital Matters in September, has fallen on deaf ears. Until a currency board is installed, inflation will persist, and Lebanon will continue to rank as one of the most-miserable countries in the world.

HAMI = [Unemployment (6.7%) + Inflation (224.4%) + Bank‐Lending Rate (7.1%)] − Real GDP Growth (-10.5%) = 248.7.

It is, of course, better to be “happy” than “miserable.” It’s essential, too, for policy-makers to have a read of their constituents’ well-being, as viewed through the lens of economic statistics. Hence Hanke’s Annual Misery Index. Stay tuned for next year’s.

Steve H. Hanke is a professor of applied economics at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He is a senior fellow and the director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2022/03/hankes-2021-misery-index-whos-miserable-and-whos-happy/