Gallup headlined on December 2nd, "'Suffering' in Bulgaria and Armenia Highest Worldwide," and reported Gallup's well-being scores of 1,000 respondents in each of 143 countries, which showed the percentage of people in each country who had described themselves as "suffering."
Dictatorial capitalist, or fascist, countries had the most suffering reported. Many of these countries had previously been dictatorial socialist, or communist, countries.
In the most-suffering country, Bulgaria, Britain's Guardian headlined on November 26th, "Bulgarian Students Lead Wave of Protest: Young people occupying institutions all over the country amid growing anger over corruption and unemployment," and described "the nepotistic nature of their political system, which, according to Transparency International, is the second most corrupt among the 28 EU member states, beaten only by Greece." Greece scored 17th-worst in the percentage "suffering." TI (Transparency International) ranked Greece #94 out of 174 in its lack of corruption. By way of comparison, the U.S. scored #37 in Gallup on lack of suffering, and was #19 in TI on lack of corruption.
Regarding the second-most "suffering" country, Armenia, Reuters headlined on December 2nd, "Russia's Putin Faces Protests as He Woos Armenia," and reported that, "Some of the crowd in central Yerevan held banners declaring 'Putin, go home' or 'No to the USSR', a reference to the Russian leader's efforts to bind former Soviet republics together more closely in economic and security alliances."
Ever since communism collapsed in the former Soviet Union, Russia has tried to lead the other formerly communist countries to adhere to Russia's new fascist model, of building a new aristocracy on the basis of the old "nomenklatura" or Communist Party elite. All of these Russian satellite countries have been imposing rule by their former ruling communist functionaries and their chosen "entrepreneurs" to receive "privatized" formerly government-owned companies, which then kick back to these political benefactors whatever is needed in order to maintain these new fascists "democratically" in control of their government, and of their economy.
It's fake "democracy," dictatorial capitalism, which is actually top-down rule by the local aristocracy, the real fascist rulers. The powerful, both in government and in business, sustain themselves in this way, as a cl osed self-sustaining ruling class, while poverty continues widespread, and the public are essentially condemned to live under kleptocrats, who suck everyone else dry. This is the parasitic "free market" model of government, otherwise known as fascism, the far-right "capitalist" model, as compared to communism, or the far-left "socialist" model. In between those totalitarian forms lies democracy, which can be either democratic socialism such as in northern Europe, or else democratic capitalism, which hardly even exists anymore. In the United States and other capitalist democracies, the tendency has instead been to move increasingly toward fascism: nepotistic, aristocratic rule.
Another prominent example of a formerly communist fascism is displayed in Ukraine. On December 2nd, Reuters headlined "Ukraine Protesters Urge General Strike," and reported that, "Demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday, which saw violent clashes with the police, drew as many as 350,000 people, the biggest public rally in the ex-Soviet state since the 'Orange revolution' against sleaze and electoral fraud nine years ago." Ukraine's fascist leader, Viktor Yanukovich, had just chosen to join the Russian bloc in preference to continuing Ukraine's bid for joining the European Union. Ukraine scored #122 in Gallup for its lack of suffering, and #144 in TI for its lack of corruption.
The top 18 countries for lack of corruption in TI are, in order from the top: "Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, Norway, Canada, Netherlands, Iceland, Luxembourg, Germany, Hong Kong, Barbados, Belgium, Japan, and U.K. Those are the countries that outscored the U.S. in lack of corruption.
The top 36 countries in Gallup on lack of suffering are, from the top: Iceland, Qatar, Sweden, Norway, UAE, Nigeria, Switzerland, Somaliland, Venezuela, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, Thailand, Netherlands, Kuwait, Libya, Ireland, Brazil, Costa Rica, Luxembourg, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Finland, Austria, Mongolia, Surinam, South Africa, Belgium, Uzbekhistan, Kazakhstan, U.K., Malaysia, Israel, Singapore, and France. Those are the countries that outscored the U.S. on lack of suffering.
Almost all of the democratic socialist countries outperformed the U.S. on both factors. Almost all of the fascist, or dictatorial capitalist, countries, underperformed the U.S. on both factors. Not many democratic capitalist countries even remain: either they've become democratic socialist, or else they've become dictatorial capitalist.
As for the communist countries, they are almost entirely gone, with the exception of Cuba. Whereas the aristocracy can often fool voters to vote for "free market" dictatorships, they can't often fool voters to vote for communists. Whereas communism can come into power only via the military route, fascism can come into power either that way or else via elections.
The real contest is therefore between democracy and fascism. Generally speaking, that means it's between the low-corruption countries and the high-corruption countries. And, of course, as a general rule, people are much happier in democratic countries, and those nations are also generally the least corrupt.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.