Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Making Our Financial Crisis Look Bush League (no pun intended)

In our preoccupation with the U.S. financial crisis - now democratically spreading to Asia and Europe - we may have forgotten about the goings-on in Zimbabwe.

A bit over a year ago, I reported that their inflation rate was set to hit 100,000% for the year. Now it looks like the economists got it wrong. In fact, the annual inflation rate has now hit 11,268,758.90%. That's the number reported by the governmental Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Check out their website, which will inform you as to the vision and mission of this feckless institution:

Our Vision
To become the financial cornerstone around which Zimbabwe's economic fortunes and developmental aspirations are anchored.

Our Mission
The pursuit of the Bank's vision will express itself through leadership in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of policies and action plans for fighting inflation, stabilisation of the internal and external value of Zimbabwe's currency ...
A few other tidbits from their website:
  • Inflation in the last month has been 839.80%
  • The overnight interest rate is 8500.00%
  • "The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has, as its primary goal, the maintenance of the internal and external value of the Zimbabwean currency. In this regard, the Bank is responsible for the formulation and implementation of monetary policy, directed at ensuring low and stable inflation levels and maintains a stable banking system through its supervisory and lender of last resort functions."
I would have explored their website further, but the pages load so slowly that the price of bread doubled three times while I was waiting.
The people of Zimbabwe are waiting, too. Over 5 million face starvation by the end of the year. My guess is that the great statesman, the near-divine President Mugabe, has food to eat that his people know not of.
Meanwhile, the world does nothing. Why intervene? It's just a bunch of black people who have nothing to offer us.

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