Saturday, June 13, 2015


It's sad, what's happened in Zimbabwe under Mugabe .  The saying goes, "People used to go to Rhodesia to see the ruins of (old) Zimbabwe.  Now they go to Zimbabwe to see the ruins of Rhodesia."  Inflation has gotten a little bit out of hand there recently:
Zimbabweans will start exchanging 'quadrillions' of local dollars for a few US dollars next week, as President Robert Mugabe's government discards its virtually worthless national currency, the central bank said on Thursday.
The southern African country started using foreign currencies like the US dollar and South African rand in 2009 after the Zimbabwean dollar was ruined by hyper-inflation, which hit 500bn percent in 2008. 
I have one of the 100 trillion dollar notes shown at the link.

From the BBC:
But from Monday, Zimbabweans can exchange bank accounts of up to 175 quadrillion (175,000,000,000,000,000) Zimbabwean dollars for five US dollars.

Higher balances will be exchanged at a rate of Z$35 quadrillion to US$1...

Zimbabwe's economy has struggled since a government programme seized most white-owned farms in 2000, causing exports to tumble.

Mr Mugabe has always blamed the economic problems on a Western plot to oust him.
Huh. So a government "social justice"-style program is the cause of this inflation? Huh.

Update, 8/28/16:  Here are two articles from the left-leaning New York Times, one older and one relatively new.
3/23/05   A Morsel of Goat Meat
The hungry children and the families dying of AIDS here are gut-wrenching, but somehow what I find even more depressing is this: Many, many ordinary black Zimbabweans wish that they could get back the white racist government that oppressed them in the 1970's.

"If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we'd do it," said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. "Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job."
8/24/16  ‘No One Is Safe’: Zimbabwe Threatens to Seize Farms of Party Defectors
Do I even need to quote from that one?  Or is the title clear enough?


maxutils said...

Your conclusion is not accurate. It isn't the policy goal of the government that cause inflation, it's how it's financed. If you do so by allowing the money supply to grow more than the rate of growth in production, you will always get inflation. Countries known to be good, established economies can get away with it longer by borrowing, but it doesn't matter what you spend the money on . And, in your implied analogy to the U.S. -- yes, social program expansions hurt, especially underfunded mandates like social security, but so does fihting a bunch of wars without properly funding them. And, I believe, most economists agree that while "a little debt is a good thing" (Alexander Hamilton, I believe) a lot of debt is not. And, we have a lot of debt, both current andd pending. The only solution I see? Build more high speed rail.

Darren said...

You read way too much into my conclusion. Yours, however, is worthy of Jerry Brown :-)

maxutils said...

Maybe, but I know you. I'm not sure how Jerry Brown comes in to it, as, unlike him, I favor reducing the national debt … Jerry gets a one year surplus, not counting future mandates, and he's already telling the legislature how to spend it -- instead of paying down the debt. My point was merely that ALL forms of government programs are ripe for being cut … but I guess I can see where you got that -- because there are only two ways to pay off the debt, factually -- and I hope you weren't given the impression that I wanted to increase taxes ...

Auntie Ann said...

A few years back, I gave our 10 year old 160,000,000 dollars in Zimbabwean currency, which cost me a couple of bucks on Amazon. I thought that was ridiculous inflation!