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Eric Bloch Column

Destruction-phobia knows no bounds

By Eric Bloch

GOVERNMENT is so imbued with its convictions of infallibility, exceeded only by the magnitude of its paranoia, that it is oblivious to the

devastating destruction that it is wreaking upon the Zimbabwean economy, and to the intense suffering it is subjecting Zimbabweans to, at a massively accelerating pace.

Despite pronouncedly irrefutable evidence that government’s economic policies are cataclysmically disastrous, it continues pursuit endlessly of those policies. And, being totally convinced that there is naught wrong with those policies, it readily convinces itself that the sole reason for the pursuit of policies not achieving declared objectives must inevitably be the actions of others to undermine and derail government and that which it allegedly is determined to achieve.

There are innumerable examples that can be cited to corroborate that government is phobia-driven to an extreme and that, in consequence, it myopically fails to recognise realities. That sightlessness occasions the most appallingly negative consequences for Zimbabwe and its sadly and unnecessarily afflicted people. One of the most pronounced, if not the greatest, example is that of Zimbabwe’s devastating price controls. Whilst government is not prepared to acknowledge it to be so (and would undoubtedly vigorously deny it), those controls have achieved diametrically the opposite which government claimed was intended.

Diverse other ill-conceived, minimally considered, and horrifically implemented policies of government were the incontrovertible triggers of the most substantial hyperinflation ever experienced in Zimbabwe. So great has hyperinflation been in 2007 that Zimbabwe has acquired the unenviable record of having higher inflation than is prevailing anywhere else in the world. As government believes that everything it does is right, without exception, it could not be even remotely responsible for that horrendous state of endlessly rising prices. And, if it was not responsible for the soaring costs of living, others had to be.

Having long been convinced that the Western world in general, and the United Kingdom (aided and abetted by its European allies) and the United States, have evil, colonialistic, domination designs upon Zimbabwe, and a determination to oust the Zimbabwean government, it readily mesmerised itself to believe that hyperinflation was a diabolically devised stratagem, of its perceived enemies, to attain their aims.

But government also realised, whether consciously or subconsciously, that its imaginary enemies could not bring their inflation-driven strategy to fruition with-out collaboration of others, and therefore very rapidly and readily persuaded itself that the majority of the Zimbabwean business community were engaged in a diabolical conspiracy with those enemies. Government vociferously alleged that that community were conniving with Zimbabwe’s so-called foes to destroy the economy, in order that a poverty-stricken populace would then enforce regime change. Moreover, government (perhaps adhering to the precept that “It takes one to know one!”) loudly contended that the business community was highly motivated to implement the economic destructionplan of massive, continuing, price escalations, because so doing would be compatible with its endemic tactics of exploitation and profiteering.

Despite blatant, undeniable, realities which prove there to be not even a microscopic iota of substance to government’s beliefs as to the sources of Zimbabwean hyperinflation, it dogmatically and obdurately adheres to those beliefs. If the Western world did wish to recolonise Zimbabwe, it would not wish the economy to be ruined, access to primary resources destroyed, the infrastructure devastated, the population emaciated, and that there actually be nothing to recolonise. And for the business community to strive to bring about economic collapse would be to commit suicide, for the destruction of the economy would be the destruction of them.

However, governmental self-delusion and hallucination was so great, that it disregarded all the facts and therefore, in a fruitless attempt to frustrate the conspiracy, halt the inflation, and endear itself to the people it rules (dominates!), government imposed stringent price controls, and followed that up by the creation of the catatonic National Incomes and Prices Commission (NIPC). The resultant was to destroy all business viability and consequential monolithic declines in product availability. Shop shelves have now, for nearly seven months, been almost constantly nearly bare (Zimbabwe has been transformed from a land of plenty to a land of empty). Manufacturers, to survive, have had to focus upon export markets, albeit at minimal margins, but nevertheless more viable than operating at NIPC constrained margins.

Much of the goods exported are subsequently brought back into Zimbabwe by cross-border traders, to be sold in the black market to desperate, sadly deprived, consumers at prices far, far above those as would have prevailed in the formal sector, had price controls not prevailed, and market sufficiency of product existed. So, the actuality of the situation is that government has markedly worsened inflation, instead of lessening it, through its perfidious price controls.

Side effects of those controls, and of the resultant exacerbation of inflation, have been enormous. An already sickly investment environment has been reduced to a point of near death (compounded by stupidly formulated, ill-conceived, intended legislation for economic indigenization which will do nothing but temporarily enrich a few, will strengthen government’s death-occasioning stronghold on the economy, and further accelerate economic collapse). And the mass exodus of Zimbabweans is escalating at a tremendous pace. The gargantuan acceleration in the “brain drain: is fast denuding Zimbabwe of the greater portion of the few, greatly-needed, skilled that the country desperately needs. The floods of people fleeing to other economies are cyclonic, impacting tragically upon all facets of Zimbabwe, be it economically or sociologically.

As the economy’s collapse intensifies, so too does governmental insolvency, for fiscal inflows inevitably decline, in real terms, apace with economic decline. The combined economic ills of hyperinflation, brain drain, inflation-driven non-generation of foreign exchange, and fiscal penury are also impacting upon the infrastructure, and parastatals service delivery, worsening all further. Underlying all of this is the incontestable idiocy of price controls and, therefore, the operations of the NIPC.

If has been said before, and it is still so: Government is vested, even though unintentionally so, with a death wish, for its phobias are so intense and destructive as to know no bounds.

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