Jun 24 2007
You thought living in Vancouver was expensive? Try living with one million per cent inflation.
Zimbabwean President (for now) Robert Mugabe has essentially committed economic suicide for his country. Confiscating farmland and turning it over to violent but lazy cronies has turned the former bread basket into an agricultural basketcase. Infrastructure that used to be on par with some European countries is now equal to that of war zones like Afghanistan. Now diplomats are suggesting that already-nightmarish 3,700 per cent inflation in Zimbabwe could hit the million mark by the end of 2007.
When Mugabe’s thugs realize they’re going to have to push a wheelbarrow full of Zimbabwean dollars to the corner store just for a pack of smokes, they’ll turn on him.
Mugabe was likely just following the model of other dictators before him: regulate private enterprise and shrink the economy to the point where the government becomes the sole reliable source of sustenance. When the choice is to toe the government line or starve, everyone is a true believer.
The problem for Mugabe is that he did his work too well, too fast.
If anything, the situation is instructive of how fast and how far you can run a prosperous country off the rails if you’re really trying.