The world’s most miserable countries

The world’s most miserable countries

Even if you’re miserable, you should be happy you’re not in Venezuela. León Markovitz of Dadaviz has graphed the Cato Institute’s World Misery Index for 108 countries. The index defines misery a lack of economic freedom: high inflation, unemployment and interest rates and low growth. To calculate the score, Cato’s Steve Hanke added a country’s inflation rate, unemployment rate and lending rate, and then subtracted year-on-year per capita GDP growth.

By this definition, the most miserable countries in the world at the end of 2014 were Venezuela, Argentina, Syria, Ukraine and Iran. Argentina and Ukraine particularly shot up in 2014, moving into the top five and displacing Sudan and Sao Tome and Prince. The five least miserable countries are Brunei, Switzerland, China, Taiwan and Japan. The U.S. ranks 95th, making it the 14th least miserable nation.

Misery is obviously very subjective, but research generally supports the idea that economic improvements are correlated with life satisfaction, at least up until a point. Countries that are experiencing fast growth and rising living standards also tend to report greater feelings of well-being.

Source: Washington Post

Jesús Huerta de Soto and The Spanish Scholastics

Jesús Huerta de Soto & The Spanish Scholastics

On the occasion of the fifth centenary celebration of the Scholastic Diego Covarrubias y Leyva the economics professor Jesús Huerta de Soto, points out the importance of this Austrian Economics School´s forefather. During the conference celebrated on 8th of November of 2013 in Segovia, the professor Huerta de Soto refers to todays economics crisis that could have been avoided. The conferece is a homage to Diego Covarrubias and other Salamanca school´s thinkers.

The School of Salamanca (Spanish: Escuela de Salamanca) is the Renaissance of thought in diverse intellectual areas by Spanish and Portuguese theologians, rooted in the intellectual and pedagogical work of Francisco de Vitoria. From the beginning of the 16th century the traditional Catholic conception of man and of his relation to God and to the world had been assaulted by the rise of humanism, by the Protestant Reformation and by the new geographical discoveries and their consequences. These new problems were addressed by the School of Salamanca. The name refers to the University of Salamanca, where de Vitoria and others of the school were based.

Francisco de Vitoria, Domingo de Soto, Martín de Azpilcueta (or Azpilicueta), Tomás de Mercado, and Francisco Suárez, all scholars of natural law and of morality, founded a school of theologians and jurists who undertook the reconciliation of the teachings of Thomas Aquinas with the new political-economic order. The themes of study centered on man and his practical problems (morality, economics, jurisprudence, etc.), but almost equally on a particular body of work accepted by all of them, as the ground against which to test their disagreements, including at times bitter polemics within the School.

The School of Salamanca in the broad sense may be considered more narrowly as two schools of thought coming in succession, that of the Salmanticenses and that of the Conimbricenses from the University of Coimbra. The first began with Francisco de Vitoria (1483–1546), and reached its high point with Domingo de Soto (1494–1560). The Conimbricenses were Jesuits who, from the end of 16th century took over the intellectual leadership of the Catholic world from the Dominicans. Among those Jesuits were Luis de Molina (1535–1600), the aforementioned Francisco Suárez (1548–1617), and Giovanni Botero (1544–1617), who would continue the tradition in Italy.

The juridical doctrine of the School of Salamanca represented the end of medieval concepts of law, with a revindication of liberty not habitual in Europe of that time. The natural rights of man came to be, in one form or another, the center of attention, including rights as a corporeal being (right to life, economic rights such as the right to own property) and spiritual rights (the right to freedom of thought and to human dignity).

The School of Salamanca reformulated the concept of natural law: law originating in nature itself, with all that exists in the natural order sharing in this law. Their conclusion was, given that all humans share the same nature, they also share the same rights to life and liberty. Such views constituted a novelty in European thought and went counter to those then predominant in Spain and Europe that people indigenous to the Americas had no such rights.