Look at Zimbabwe. Inflation is officially running at about 7,000% per year. But unofficial estimates say the rate for this year will turn out to be more like 100,000%. Marc visited Zimbabwe recently. He says he went out to buy a bottle of orange squash on Monday; it was 120,000 Zim dollars. On Tuesday, the price had gone up to 180,000. And by Friday, it was at 600,000.
This would seem all very funny, but currencies mean something to ordinary people. At the margin, they can make the difference between life and death. Thanks to Robert Mugabe’s financial management, the average man in Zimbabwe can expect to drop dead at the age of 37. As recently as 1990, he could have looked forward to 60. While life expectancy plummeted, so did job expectancy. The average guy has only a 50/50 chance of finding work.
But here’s the kind of detail that gives us hope for the future. We may not survive it, but at least it will be amusing. It’s apparently the Africans’ turn to head the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Naturally, they turn to a country that has found a way to sustain un-development – Zimbabwe. The country has been going downhill ever since they kicked Ian Smith out of office in 1979.
(Ian Smith is still alive, we believe. He is living in Cape Town, South Africa. Perhaps he should be called back to service…like Churchill in WWII…or Petain.)
The man given the post of heading up the commission on sustainable development is named Francis Nhema, a crony of Robert Mugabe. His personal contribution to sustainable development is that when he was given one of the farms stolen from white farmers, he let it go to rack and ruin.
Markets and Money