Thursday, July 24, 2008

Zimbabwe in less troubled times

Here's a remarkably evocative piece about Zimbabwe by WaPo writer Neely Tucker, who was one of the few Western reporters there from 1997 to 2000, leaving befvore he was expelled from the crime of talking to opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangarai. But he remembers the smell of millet beer, the grasses waving in the breeze, the sudden driving rainstorms, farms stretching for miles -- and people dying "suddenly" at 42.

Now he knows that life expectancy is 36, inflation runs at several million percent (and there's now a shortage of banknote paper), store shelves are empty, there are roadblocks everywhere manned by thugs who'll steal your money and your food if you have any -- and the miserable Mugabe is apparently going to be president for life and keep trying to kill the country until he dies. Very sad.

The indefatigable Steve Hanke at Cato,who seems to have a monetary scheme for every country in trouble, has some comments on how to cure Zimbabwe's hyperinflation -- get rid of the central bank, duh -- while Marian Tupy has some reflections as well.

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