I WAS going through an old copy of the bombed-twice, banned-twice Daily News of January 6 2003 when I came across an opinion piece entitled “Zimbabwe scenario draws chilling parallels with Tito’s Yugoslavia”.
ticle had a prophetic ring to it, in relation to our recent removal of zeros from our currency.
To quote a few paragraphs:
“Under Marshal Tito, Yugoslavia ran a budget deficit that was financed by printing money. This led to a rate of inflation of 15 to 25% per year.
“After Tito, the Communist Party pursued progressively more irrational economic policies. These policies and the break-up of Yugoslavia led to heavier reliance upon printing or otherwise creating money to finance the operations of the government and the socialist economy. This fanned hyperinflation.
“By the early 1990s the government had used up all of its own hard currency reserves and proceeded to loot the hard currency savings of private citizens. It did this by imposing more and more difficult restrictions on private citizens’ access to their hard currency savings in government banks . . .”
Sounds familiar? Read on:
“In October 1993 they created a new currency unit. One new dinar was worth one million of the old dinars. In effect, the government simply removed six zeros from the paper money. This, of course, did not curb inflation and between one October 1993 and 24 January 1995 prices increased by five quadrillion percent. This number is a five with 15 zeroes after it.
“In November of 1993 the government postponed turning on the heat in the state apartment buildings in which most of the population lived. The residents reacted to this withholding of heat by using electrical space heaters which were inefficient and overloaded the electrical system.”
Now wait for this:
“The government power company then had to order blackouts to conserve electricity.
“The social structure began to collapse. Thieves robbed hospitals and clinics of scarce pharmaceuticals and then sold them in front of the same places they robbed.”
On July 31 2006, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono announced the removal of three noughts from our threadbare currency, the dollar.
On July 2 2006, I purchased a 750ml bottle of cane spirit for $1 120 (000) — up from $815 (000) — an increase of $300 (000). This means that of the three zeros removed on Monday, one zero had already returned in two days!
Of course, this makes nonsense of Gono’s threat to “harm” businesses that continue to increase prices.
According to British economist John Maynard Keynes: “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”
The fact that our wartime government continues to ignore this impending implosion is frightening. All we can do now is put our heads between our legs, and start praying hard.
Be very, very afraid.