Tuesday, July 01, 2008


I'm a coin collector, but I have a few banknotes that I found of interest. In addition to one from the French revolution I have a few from 1923 Germany, during a time of horrendous inflation. My largest such note is 100 million marks, although inflation was so high that there's no telling how much that note was worth in US$ on the day it was made. Probably a few cents.

We've heard stories of needing a wheelbarrow-load of paper money to buy a loaf of bread? 1923 Germany.

So I'd love to be able to get ahold of a few current notes from Zimbabwe.

A German company that has been supplying paper used by Zimbabwe's central bank to print bank notes said Tuesday it is stopping shipments immediately at the request of Germany's government.

The move could be a new problem for the regime of President Robert Mugabe, which has been churning out currency amid skyrocketing inflation that forces Zimbabweans to shop with bundles of cash. A pint of milk can cost 3 billion Zimbabwe dollars, or about 30 U.S. cents...

Zimbabwe's currency needs have spiraled upward as a shattered economy spurs overheated inflation. Prices rose 165,000 percent in February, according to government figures, but independent experts say the real inflation rate is closer to 4 million percent.

Pre-algebra question of the day: given the information in the article, how many Zimbabwe dollars to a US dollar? We could also talk about prices rising 165,000%, and what that means.

1 comment:

Fritz J. said...

From the information in your post and off the top of my head, it looks like ten billion ZWD to one USD for the currency. However, the actual rate, as of today, is 11,739,000 ZWD to 1 USD which would make a one Zimbabwe dollar bill not worth the paper it is printed on. The actual rate would also make the AP story incorrect as written.

Of more interest is how we would react to having the price of gas jump from $4.19 (my local price as of last Saturday) to $6,913.50 in one month. I thought gas prices were climbing pretty fast as it was, but at least our inflation rate is under much better control than Zimbabwe. I am left feeling sorry for the citizens of Zimbabwe. Yes, I know the old adage that the people will have the government they want, but sometimes it takes a long time to achieve it and many people can suffer greatly until they do.