Thursday, October 2, 2008

Zimbabwe's Useless Money

Zimbabwe is in the grip of one of the great hyperinflations in world history. The people of this once proud capital have been plunged into a Darwinian struggle to get by. Many have been reduced to peddlers and paupers, hawkers and black-market hustlers, eating just a meal or two a day, their hollowed cheeks a testament to their hunger.

Horrific. Mugabe has destroyed the country in order to retain power.

inflation surpassing what independent economists say is an almost unimaginable 40 million percent

40,000,000% is obscene.

Economists here and abroad say Zimbabwe’s economic collapse is gaining velocity, radiating instability into the heart of southern Africa. As the bankrupt government prints ever more money, inflation has gone wild, rising from 1,000 percent in 2006 to 12,000 percent in 2007 to a figure so high the government had to lop 10 zeros off the currency in August to keep the nation’s calculators from being overwhelmed. (Had it left the currency alone, $1 would now be worth about 10 trillion Zimbabwean dollars.)
10 trillion Z-dollars. Look at that figure.

Basic public services, already devastated by an exodus of professionals in recent years, are breaking down on an ever larger scale as tens of thousands of teachers, nurses, garbage collectors and janitors have simply stopped reporting to their jobs because their salaries, more worthless literally by the hour, no longer cover the cost of taking the bus to work.
And Mugabe lives in splendor behind walls.

Clues to the calamitous state of the country can be found even in recent articles tucked into Mr. Mugabe’s mouthpiece, The Herald, the only daily newspaper he has allowed to keep publishing.

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