The inflation rate in Zimbabwe just hit 4 million percent. Some people say it is only 165,000 percent, but they are just being stupid.


The tragic situation in Zimbabwe is no laughing matter. That's true for most of the world. So I try to avoid reading any news that would educate me. Nothing good can come from it. But for some reason I broke my rule and allowed myself to read a story about Zimbabwe's 4 million percent inflation rate. Now all I can imagine is a villager with a zebra cart full of cash trying to buy a turnip, and the vendor says, "That was yesterday's price. Today it is two zebra carts full of cash." And I try not to laugh because zebras are funny, yet this is no laughing matter. It's all making me tense.

I don't know how well the school system in Zimbabwe is preparing its citizens, but it takes a lot of math to plan a trip to the market. "Let's see, that's four million percent inflation annually, convert to a daily figure, calculate the time it takes to get to the market, and QUICK, LOAD THE ZEBRA CART!" If you paused for an unscheduled stop at the unspeakably horrible poop hole, you'd have to start all over.

Yeah, I think I've said enough.

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Jul 2, 2008
You'd need a wallet from Samsonsite with wheels and everything just to go marketing, along with a calculator with a display to handle hella zeroes. I can't even imagine how long it would take to count out change.
Jul 2, 2008
The situation in Zimbabwe is extremely unfortunate and pretty much symptomatic of a lot of the problems Africa faces. The African leaders, even the good ones, won't criticize Mugabe because he was a genuine hero of the black nationalist movements in Africa in the post-colonial era, before he went off his rocker and started having his opposition beaten in the streets.

African leaders are also reluctant to get involved in the internal affairs of other African countries (eg: Sudan) because they don't want to draw more involvement from the West. Self-reliance and dealing with African problems within Africa has been a big theme in post-colonial politics, and it's a shame that this gets taken to such an extreme that the AU feels it isn't proper to intervene at all. Situations like Zimbabwe and Sudan paint a poor picture of the progress most African nations have been making economically and socially in the last few years, since for every corrupt dictatorship there are several countries with stable 6% GDP growth and reasonable democratic institutions.

The AU needs to take a harder line with people like Mugabe if Africa is going to advance on the world stage, but it has to find a way to do it that doesn't make African leaders look like pawns of the West, which Mugabe will continue to paint anyone who opposes him as.
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Jul 2, 2008
Hi Scott,

I think this posting will probably get you in some heat. Perhaps we can steal something from Stalin to explain why their inflation goes unnoticed. 4% inflation (US inflation) is a tragedy slowing down our economy, 4 Million % inflation is just a statistic.

I have been following the election crisis in Zimbabwe since it has been in the news. Apparently Africa is your exile island for retiring dictators. Currently at the big AU meeting most of the leaders of African countries will not denounce Mugabe's regime. The reason, they too are all evil dictators who got into power through rigged elections. Mugabe threatened to expose anyone who denounced him and they all shut up. Zimbabwe is a sad place right now, but no one is going to change it. They don't want western interference and the AU won't do anything.

Zebras are funny,

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