This is so not funny but it really is something you’d find on The Onion or the Colbert report…and yet it is true. Are you ready for it? Okay. The government of Zimbabwe is down to their last $217. Yes, for real, the government of Zimbabwe has less money than the average 16-year-old makes a week working at McDonalds.
How in the hell did this happen. Well in order to figure out when the economy fell apart you have to go back to the Presidency of Robert Mugabe. Before that you have to go back to 1979 and the Zimbabwe land reform and the Lancaster House Agreement. This was an effort to distribute land more equitably between the disenfranchised black indigenous population and the minority ruling whites who gave up power in 1979. From that time to 2000 the land was transferred to willing buyers and willing sellers applied for economic help from the U.K. In 2000 Robert Mugabe decided enough of this land reform, it would be easier to distribute if it was just seized from the white people and fairly distributed among those wanting it.
Really a tenet of socialism or communism was applied in action here, taking too much land away from the rich and giving it to the poor. The problem was the “rich” white people and their land were the agricultural backbone of Zimbabwe. What had been a slow, but peaceful turnover of land with recompense became an overnight stripping of the expertise of 4,000 agricultural families and farms. The country began to fall apart and inflation went rampant.
In 2008 inflation reach 11.2 million percent. Zimbabwe produced a one hundred billion dollar note followed by a one hundred trillion-dollar note in 2009. Then in 2010 they decided to chop twelve zeros off the currency. It didn’t help.
Redistribution of wealth helped this happen. I guess when Robert Mugabe set out to radically transform his country he got just what he wanted…Maybe we could take heed from this lesson and the ultimate price of wealth redistribution and social justice in action.
Until then, maybe Zimbabwe can get a job at Burger King or Taco Bell and double the money in the government till.