>Zimbabwe, sham elections and hyperinflation

>Zimbabwe held sham elections today. They’re not even trying. People are instructed to copy down the serial number of their ballot so it can be verified that they voted for the country’s dictator, Robert Mugabe. Those who cannot prove they voted for him are being threatened with expulsion from their rented vendor stalls and other consequences. The election was supposed to be a run-off between the previous election’s winner, Morgan Tsvangirai, and the dictator, but Mr. Tsvangirai dropped out after being repeatedly harassed, arrested, beaten, and his supporters were likewise treated harshly and in some instances, killed.

Zimbabwe currently suffers from the world’s worst current inflation rate, in excess of nine million percent. The Zimbabwe dollar exchanges at Z$100,000,000,000 to the US dollar. I have seen videos of people buying groceries, where half of the shopping basket has food, and the other half is full of bricks of currency.

I do not understand why this country has not had a civil war, or how inflation like this is able to happen for years. I would have expected a complete collapse of the government or a violent revolution.

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About perkinsms

I'm an engineer and father interested in transit, parking and economics.
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10 Responses to >Zimbabwe, sham elections and hyperinflation

  1. Mark says:

    >> I do not understand why this country has not had a civil war, or how inflation like this is able to happen for years.Duh. Mugabe is successfully fighting the REAL problem and has almost completely genocided the farmers.Next you’ll be telling us you don’t believe the Gambian AIDS cure is “real”.

  2. Ryan says:

    >Actually that brings up something I find really confusing – Zimbabwe’s inflation. It just doesn’t make any sense, at that extreme rate of inflation how do assess value? How do they continue to have an economy at all?I think one of you economics minded blogger people should write a good explanation of how that all went down and what’s going on. It just seems too absurd to be real.

  3. Michael says:

    >Ryan, you got me. I know the government is printing large amounts of money, and using it to purchase stuff and to give to government workers, who then immediately turn around to try to buy things. Inflation was decreed illegal back in March, though that just resulted in shops withholding all of their goods, at least until the police came and threatened them with prosecution for withholding goods. After the goods were out for sale, the government cronies were conveniently there to purchase them.

  4. Robert M. says:

    >You guys are all jerks.I’m trying my best to run this country as well as possible.I don’t see any of you helping!

  5. Michael says:

    >Get back to printing more money, Robert.

  6. Mark says:

    >I’m amazed that the average Zimbab can handle numbers bigger than a billion.I one asked a sample of American adults lacking college educations three questions:1. In terms of other numbers, how big is a million?2. In terms of other numbers, how big is a billion?3. In terms of other numbers, how big is a trillion?I doubt that even half of those sampled could answer correctly.

  7. Geoff says:

    >quoted from a CNN article about farmers in Zimbabwe.http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/07/15/zimbabwe.farmers/index.html“Looters stole his computers, farm equipment, antiques, custom gun collection and a safe with billions in Zimbabwean currency (hundreds of thousands in U.S. dollars).”Can you imagine going to store carring a brick of currency to buy groceries. The simple logistics of counting is a burden.

  8. Michael says:

    >Was that article or story from a while back? 1. “Billions of Zimbabwe dollars” is worth dozens of US dollars at most in 2008, and 2. Under multi-thousand percent inflation, I doubt anyone would be willing to store any amount of currency in a safe. If it’s a small amount of money, why bother storing it, and if it’s a large amount of money, why would you keep it in currency?

  9. Michael says:

    >Should have read the article better. First line: “It was a frigid June night…”

  10. Geoff says:

    >Good news, no need to carry a large sack full of cash to go grocery shopping, just a small sack, at least for a month or so…Introducing the new 100 billion dollar Zimbabwean bank note.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7515823.stm

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