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 7, 2008
Well if they have those super powerful note printing machines, imagin they start printing US$. I know there are regulations and stuff.. But there is a chace and way of thinking that will prolong ZIM life.
Jul 6, 2008
@ CakeOrDeath, thank you for rectifying me.

Uncle Bob is indeed head-honcho of Zimbodia, and not Maozambique, as I have previously mentioned.
My PC runs on Windows, which explains why the word Mozambique appears on your screen, when I clearly typed Zimbabwe.

That being said, be kind to simply replace "Mozambique" with "Zimbodia" on my previous post, and I'm sure you might get the jist of what my post was about. Mozambican currency is the Metica. Zim does the Zim dollar.

I just had look at an atlas, and was pleased to note that my hometown, Nelspruit, is indeed only 45mins drive from Moz. Phew, you had me worried there...

Sincerely hoping that this post corrects a most embarassing previous post, while not tarnishing your valued geographical expertise. Don't worry. Your anti-stupidity mode of critique remains admired.

Thanks again.
Jul 5, 2008
The Rhodesia To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions...

It’s guys like him, who instil within us that glorious faith in humanity. That warm, fuzzy, things-are-gonna’-be-alright-afterall feeling. Like those rare, wonderful mornings when you unscrew a brand new, bulging tube of toothpaste; the cap gliding through its white threaded grooves, and you give that effortless squeeze and paint a smooth cylinder onto your toothbrush, and you just know nobody’s going to dampen your nothing-less-than-splendid day. That feeling! That’s the feeling that guys like him give us.

And the ‘him’ that I’m referring to here, is of course, His Excellency Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President-elect of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Oh Bob, I love that guy!

We’ve probably all heard these stories. Examples from history abound of the perseverant failure who, with that 1% of inspiration, and their 99% perspiration achieves their goals and changes the world.

The first example that turns on the little lightbulb in our minds, is the author of that quote, and inventor of that bulb; Thomas Edison. He went through over 6000 aural abortions, before perfecting his first electric light bulb. Or how about my namesake, Margaret Mitchell, author of the prolific Gone With The Wind, who had to endure 38 publishers’ rejections before she could share her South, civil-war love story with the world?

You’d think maybe after like the 4th or 5th successful publishing house tells you not to bother, or perhaps by the 20th or 30th bleak bulb, you might retrace your steps to see if you’ve gone wrong. Ya’ know, listen to others, try and change your ways.

But no, not these historical heroes. With determination like a pit-bull to a porterhouse, they resound a brave ‘screw you!’ to the world, trample over the short-sighted naysayers, and with courageous fortitude bring the world to a newly enlightened era, hope renewed.

So why is it then, that we celebrate the resilience and resolve of those bygone champions, yet berate poor Mr. Mugabe so? Perhaps, only with hindsight can we recognise their brilliance. Maybe it takes the heightened perspective of the future to realise the wisdom of their ways.

If we fête Tom, then why slate Bob?

[By the way, Thomas Edison did happen to be a ruthless, cruel and bumbling idiot, but that’s a story for another note.]

Well let me help you. Let me give you some perspective on this Zimbabwean Heracles.

Who else has the fearlessness to stand up to the might of British Empire and the world’s biggest super power? Who else can win elections when everyone, professional and layman alike, from every other nation, is telling him that the people want to vote for his opposition?

Oh Bob, I love that guy!

And don’t think it’s all just show, and no substance nor wits. His quotes and quirks rank right up there along the likes of Churchill and Cromwell.

Like the unforgettable “Blair, you keep your Britain, I’ll keep my Zimbabwe.”

Or how about the chutzpah to invite Tsvangirai to his 6th presidential inauguration ceremony.

He digs it in to the world attending lavish conventions in Rome sharing advice at a Food Summit while his people starve and the shops lay bare. Or sending his wife off to Harrods in London to rack up the record for the most spent there by one person in a day.

Oh, and my best example: Consider the odd, uncharacteristic election recount in May 2008 that placed Tsvangirai with a slim, but not outright majority. In the face of this, one impudent journalist put Mugabe on the spot, under international TV, asking, “Mr. Mugabe, don’t you think it’s about time you faced facts and bid your fellow countrymen farewell?” To which Mugabe, unflinching and immediately, with a look of solemn concern hiding an unmissable smirk, rejoined with “Oh, but I didn’t realise they were going anywhere.”

Oh Bob, I love that guy!

Then, if not honouring Mugabe’s ballsy gumption weren’t bad enough, people seem more than happy to back Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, the main political Zimbabwean opposition leader, without so much as a spared second to his selfish intentions. What person of sane mind would fight to take responsibility for a berated, failing nation? What imbecilic half-wit would choose to have the criticisms of a destroyed country rest on his fat shoulders? I’ll tell you who... one greedy enough who, in spite of this, still sees the opportunity for his own personal riches. He want tha’ munney.

Have you read the MDC’s manifesto? No? Well I have. Despite a website with malicious software, and ignoring the in-your-face ‘Donate to the MDC’ feature, I managed to read some of the principles and promises that the MDC stands for. For the most part, it reads like a Socialist propaganda-piece. And don’t we all know just how caring and how successful all those other Communist government-run countries have turned out?

If, after that, you still choose to put blind faith in Morgan, then let me demonstrate to you his ape-like intellect...

An interesting psychological study is reported in the March 2004 edition of the Nature journal. Sarah Brosnan Ph. D., assembled pairs of Brown Capuchin monkeys, placed next to each other and trained to exchange with human handlers a small granite rock within 60 seconds to receive a reward, in most cases, a piece of cucumber.

The partners to the first capuchins that made the swap, either received the same reward (a cucumber slice), or a better reward (a grape, a more desirable food), for the same amount of work or, in some cases, for performing no work at all.

Brosnan said the response to the unequal treatment was astonishing: Capuchins who witnessed unfair treatment and failed to benefit from it themselves often refused to conduct future exchanges with human researchers, would not eat the cucumbers they received for their labours, and in some cases, hurled food rewards back at their human researchers, refusing to enjoy any participation in the food at all.

So when Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai sees Pres. Mugabe’s rewards, and looks at his own deservedly paltry achievements, he gets upset and refuses to participate in the election altogether. This is exactly the political equivalent of throwing the cucumber back at the people, just because he saw his other getting grapes.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want a monkey-brained loser who can’t see challenges through, running my country.

But Bob, oh Bob, I love that guy!
Jul 5, 2008
I can understand the outcry from U.K over the loss of Zimbabwe as it was a quiet investment haven for the aristocrats who went out of fashion back in the days of Winston Churchill.

But how are Americans so concerned about the British backyard? Or is it just in the family?

Jul 4, 2008
@fryingpanwarrior: Dude, check a map... Zimbabwe and Mozambique (yes, that's the one just over the "Maozamican" border from us, apparently) are two completely different countries. With different currencies. And wildly different political situations.

Jul 4, 2008
It might interest you all to know a few facts (I'm South African, living close to the Maozamican border)...

- Mozamican currency (Zim dollars) have an expiry-date printed on the notes. Believe it or not, but each note is only valid for a few months... otherwise people could hoard the notes till things get better, then everyones a millionaire...

- They have a 10 million Dollar note.

- a pice of toilet-paper has more value than some their monetary notes...

- A businessman recently tried to deposit a cheque of 100 trillion Mozambican dollars, and the bank couldn't help him, as their computers only handle numbers with less than 10 digits... LOLfact!

The stories coming out of that country are hilarious... yet ol' Robert Mugabe (affectionaltely known as "Mad uncle Bob" to the SA public) and his wife make regular visits to Paris to do shopping... nice going!
Jul 4, 2008

I don't think that there are many billionaires living in Zimbabwe. Yes, the inflation is ridiculously high, meaning a loaf of bread costs a couple million dollars, but the average Zimbabwean's wages is not keeping up with inflation. Last I read, the miminum monthly wage was not even enough to buy a 2L bottle of Coke.

Which is why so many Zimbabweans are starving, or (if at all possible) fleeing the country.
Jul 3, 2008
Wouldn't you need at least 165,000 zebra carts?
Or 1 shiny American penny.
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Jul 3, 2008
Unspeakably horrible poophole? That would be Robert Mugabe, right?
Jul 3, 2008
Mr. Ed was really a zebra on the show, but the black and white format blocked out the stripes and made him look like a blonde horse.
Jul 3, 2008
Douglas Adams once described that idea of the Golgafrinchans to adopt the leaf as legal tender - now that'll put an end to rain forests...
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Jul 2, 2008
It's all so sad. Zimbabwe as a country can't even go down the toilet properly.

The run away inflation comes first then comes the evil dictator; you know like the way it was done in Germany.
Jul 2, 2008
That's the same kind of inflation that paved the way for Hitler to take power in post-WWI Germany and led directly to WWII.
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Jul 2, 2008
I am five days back from Zimbabwe. But your post still made me smile. After all the heartache in there. Thanks
Jul 2, 2008
They must have some kick ass money printing machine armada.

But doesn't that kind of inflation soon reach a point where unprinted sheets of money paper are far more valuable than printed money?

And aren't those high capacity money printers so valuable that they could connect their currency to the printers (like currencies used to be connected to gold)? Wouldn't that slow down their inflation?
Jul 2, 2008
The real tragedy - not only Zimbabwe politicians think that one can freely print new money to make everyone rich
Jul 2, 2008
I read the article last night as well. Still...30 cents for milk ain't half bad...of course they didn't say what kind of milk. There are probably some cats in the back giving it their all. The inflation is sad and it sucks...but on the other hand...look how many billionaires now live in Zimbabwe. That has to be some sort of record

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Jul 2, 2008
I'm guessing that you and Bono don't hang out too often.

When he talks about this stuff it just sounds depressing.
Jul 2, 2008
Sad doesn't begin to cover it. When Mugabe started the 'land reforms' by taking land away from whites and redistributing it to blacks, it spelled the beginning of the end. The formerly well run agriculture sector suddenly lost all of its experienced farm management personnel and saw them replaced by Mugabe's supporters, who decidedly have no talent for farming. Couple that with a year or two of drought and viola, instant national disaster. And when agriculture is your country's main source of revenue, you're in big trouble. I sort of understand the desire to right a colonial wrong, even if it happened a couple hundred years ago, but to do it this way was national suicide. It looks more and more like the formerly heroic Mugabe has lost his marbles.
Jul 2, 2008
Any well-meaning AID (including food) to a country like that tends to get confiscated by the dictator, thus becoming part of the problem. The most productive elements of the country (the white farmers) have been driven off. First the North Koreans and now the Chinese have assisted Mugabe in creating and maintaining a Police State. the list goes on. It is a mess; but at least it is a mess that the United States cannot plausibly be blamed for.

Meanwhile, in Nigeria, polio rates are nine times higher than last year. Polio might have been wiped out - permanaently - were it not for the Islamic Fundamentalists who claimed the vacinations were an evil plot to kill Muslims.

And, finally, AIDS continues to devestate the continent... one of the few parts of the world where it is epidemic among heterosexual females.

You are right, Scott - knowledge can be depressing!
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