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US/Zim: some ridiculous comparisons



I AM completely puzzled when Zimbabweans complain that prices are outrageously high in Zimbabwe. Having lived in America for many years now I have lost touch with a good grip on what the Zim doll

ar will buy these days.


I read reports about staggering inflation and a loaf of bread costing $1 000 but without any baseline for comparison it’s impossible to know what that means.


I decided to convert a few US goods and services at current parallel market exchange rates to compare. I was amazed to discover that in fact Zimbabwe is possibly the cheapest place on the planet to live! Take a look:


At a $2 500/US$1 exchange rate :

* a loaf of bread in America costs between $1,50 – $2. That would convert to $3 750 to $5 000;


* a T-bone steak is about $8 a pound. That’s $17 500 a pound;

* apples run at about $1 a pound. That’s $2 500;


* an average house costs $150 000 to $200 000. That’s $375 million to $500 million;


* bus fare on most routes is $1,75. That’s $4 250 – one way;

* a nice steak dinner is about $15. That’s $37 500; and

* going to a movie is about $7,50. That’s $16 250.


A bricklayer makes about $12 an hour. That’s $30 000 an hour – more than the average domestic Zimbabwe worker’s monthly wage.


In America a maid gets about $50 for a half day’s work. That’s $125 000 – more than a month’s salary for a Zimbabwe teacher!


In America a teacher makes about $3 000 per month. That’s $7,5 million and more than a CPA makes in a year.


In America a CPA makes about $60 000 a year. That’s $150 million but still less than Mugabe and his chefs make in a week.


Man, I’m saving up my change and buying a farm for my retirement in Zimbabwe!


Of course it’s not funny – it’s tragic. Zimbabwe has so completely lost touch with the real world that ordinary comparisons are ridiculous!



Lori Pelham,

USA.

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