Post-Hyperinflationary Zimbabwe Welcomes The Holidays With 80% Unemployment, Empty ATMs And Paralyzed Transport

Tyler Durden's picture

Zimbabwe's hyperinflation, courtesy of one Gideon Gono - the brilliant man behind such grand monetary experiments as QE and its offshoots throughout the developed world - and numerous one hundred trillion dollar Zimbabwe dollar bills, may have come and gone, and the country may no longer have a functioning currency of its own, but it certainly has the aftermath of the most recent episode of modern-era monetary hyperinflation to contend with. And with the holidays here, AP provides a very bleak snapshot of what the country which currently has an 80% unemployment, has to look forward to. Zimbabweans are facing bleak holidays this year amid rising poverty, food and cash shortages and political uncertainty, with some describing it as the worst since the formation of the coalition government in the southern African nation.... Banks have closed, ATMs have run out of cash and transport services have been paralyzed." It gets worse: "Zimbabwe's unemployment is pegged at around 80 percent with many people in Harare, the capital, eking out a living by selling vegetables and fruits on street corners." And all of this is after the massive economic imbalances in Zimbabwe's economy should have been "fixed" (or so conventional economic theory would have one believe) courtesy of hyperinflation, which left any savers in tatters, destroyed the value of the old currency, benefited solely debtors  but also allowed a fresh start to a government, which could only remain in power due to a violent power grab by the democratically elected-turned-dictator Robert Mugabe.

What else do all those countries (all of them) engaged in a wholesale currency destruction have to look forward to? AP explains:

Matthew Kapirima, 60, waits outside a busy supermarket for customers to buy his boxes of weather-beaten peaches and litchis for $10 each.


But holiday shoppers go about their business without even giving him a second glance. Kapirima has not sold any fruit in days and with a day left before Christmas, he said has to concede that he won't be able to provide his family with food and new clothes this year.


"This is the worst Christmas ever," Kapirima told The Associated Press. Kapirima has four wives and 25 children living in the rural areas, but all he has managed to get them this Christmas is a 40-kilogram (88 pound) bag of maize seed to plant on his small-sized family plot in Mudzi.


* * *


Food shortages are "worse" this year compared to the last three years due to drought and constrained access to cash to buy seed and fertilizer for rural farmers, said World Food Program Zimbabwe country director Felix Bamezon. Bamezon said the Zimbabwe government for the first time has assisted by providing grain to give to starving communities in rural areas.


"This is good because they don't interfere to tell us which people to give the food to," he said.


The World Food Program has been donating hampers of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of cereal, vegetable oil and mixed beans to each person in qualifying households every month since September.


For those who live in areas where there are grain traders, WFP gives out $3 per person in a household to buy the grain from traders instead of the food hampers.


An average household has five people, making it $15 for a family to spend for Christmas.


Bamezon also said their organization helps vulnerable communities by engaging them in "food for work" projects where people work to get food during the time they are not provided food assistance.

"Food for work" projects - remember that...

Naturally, creative solutions to deal with the endless misery have emerged, such as no longer eating, and of course forcing your children into prostitution:

Rural communities have come up with coping mechanisms such as cutting down the number of meals a day from three to one and selling their prized livestock, furniture and household goods. Bamezon said he had heard reports that some young girls are given away to elderly men for early marriages.


The U.N.'s childrens agency, UNICEF, has in previous research this year noted that girls and young women have been pressured by destitute families to solicit as prostitutes in bars and shopping areas.


In the troubled economy, money is not trickling down from the nation's urban elite, who own luxury cars and mansions, to the urban and rural poor.

Can't they just raise the taxes on the nation's "urban elite?" Problem solved.

In summary: "Life is getting harder in this country," said fruit vendor Kaparima. "There is nothing to celebrate this Christmas."

Truly, there is so much to look forward to when the coordinate global attempt at wholesale currency devaluation finally succeeds.

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Kobe Beef's picture

or, The End of Civilization, for short.

Shameful's picture

True, but we are at the dawning of what should be an interesting phenomenon.  I expect over this century for the Chinese to make real inroads to colonizing Africa.  Will be interesting to see how that dynamic plays out, and see if Africa becomes a prosperous place.  Already some of the Chinese workers are marrying local women, and culturally that makes the offspring Han.  From what I know about Han Chinese views on other people's I kind of have an idea how things will turn out though, wonder if the progressives will scream about one "minority" dominating another "minority"...

Conax's picture

The Chinese marrying the African gals?

"Is it in yet, Hu?"

"Ginjaaaah- soko mu pitasan!"

LFMayor's picture

ROFL!  man, that reminds me of Dennis Hopper's brief essay on the history of Sicily from the movie "True Romance".

Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

I therefore dub you a chigger, a new supersub-minority, and award your a protected minority slot in american colleges. I'm still waiting for my millet spring roll...

Orange Pekoe's picture

Chinese and African make beautiful babies. Hope they keep their foreskins.

LetThemEatRand's picture

"This is what happens when Blacks gain control and chase all the whites out."

Holy shit -- a "Confederate" guy who makes random observations about the failings of dark skinned people, with the clear point being that they cannot govern themselves because they must be defective and inferior to light skinned people?  Who could have seen it coming?

Does the fact that Hitler was white mean that white people should not rule Germanic countries?  How about Stalin.  The guy was white as a sheet (you know all about that, I'm sure).  Killed a few folks and ruined a country.   Mass murdering whites -- they seem to repeat with complete predictability, yes?'s picture

It's government which gives autocrats the ability to commit mass murder even in nations like the US of A. May I suggest that the concept of rule through violence be banned? It's no surprise that the government's policy of "might makes right" leads to the use of violence. Time to leave the jungle and enter into the world of free and voluntary cooperation.

LetThemEatRand's picture

You crack me up, because you don't see the irony in saying "leave the jungle" to refer to the exact opposite of the common usage of the expression (the jungle doesn't usually have a government).  I also see the humor -- even if you don't --  in your idea that we should collectively "ban" collectivism.  

Anusocracy's picture

'that we should collectively "ban" collectivism'

Crockett is correct, you are wrong. The jungle may not have a government, but the modes of operation of both are the same: might makes right.

Just allow those who wish to be free from the 'might makes right' paradigm to have no part of it.

You would be free to live in your Zimbabwetopia.

I, for one, would choose freedom.'s picture


 I also see the humor -- even if you don't --  in your idea that we should collectively "ban" collectivism. 


The joke was intentional on my part. Somehow you missed that and then found your own misinterpretation to be humorous in a snide and snarky way. That is funny!'s picture

They never let me play in any reindeer games.

LFMayor's picture

well, why don't you move to East St. Louis then?  To be closer to your flock.  You can be their fucking messiah of racial harmonies.  Strike up Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, oh champion of the oppressed colored masses!

Maybe your daughter can date an aspiring rapper, if you can't logistically make the move. 

That would be a real show of good faith, oh Rayciss Martel!

rwe2late's picture

 Mugabe is no saint,

but his complaints about the roles of the US and the EU in ruining Zimbabwe's economy should not be dismissed lightly.

The US maintained a global freeze on Zimbabwe's credit lines since 2002.

The IMF and the World Bank (as usual) mandated policies to promote an export-oriented (and dependent) economy. That which ruined many local farmers, but favored some large white landowners who favored cash crops which enriched themselves, but did nothing to help most Zimbabweans out of the mess Britain left.



LetThemEatRand's picture

Your view is nuanced, requires more than a child's understanding of how economies work, and does not involve blaming either skin color or an "ism" for the failure of Zimbabwe.   Next thing you know you'll be telling me that Bernanke is a white guy.

FWM's picture

"blaming either skin color"

If it were only just the hue of skin that made up the difference...

Merry Christmas

Anusocracy's picture

Yah, like psychopathic brains come in different colors.

dvfco's picture

Mugabe is their Josef Stalin.  But, you are right.  The US and IMF did our usual F.U. by forcing billions in loans on them, then cutting them off completely.  I do still want to buy a Million Billion Dollar Zimbabwaen bill on E-bay though.  Maybe I'll get one in my stocking.

slackrabbit's picture

Santa Ben is working on it...

foxenburg's picture

For a start, Britain left no mess. Rhodesia was always self governing, and any residual formalities were dispensed with in 1965 when it announced its unilateral declaration of independence. - the first UK colony to do so since 1776. Many will remember Rhodesia as being the world's largest tobacco exporter. It also supplied everything from beef to corn to the rest of Africa. I am a Rhodesian and never heard of hunger, extreme poverty, etc. Priot to WW2 the blacks were unwilling to send their children to school, preferring them to work in the fields. Post WW2 they all wanted education. How could 50 000 modestly middle class white taxpayers pay for the education and improvement  of a geometrically increasing black population of 5 000 000 in under a generation? The number of much vilified wealthy white famers was tiny. The average white was a civil servant, shopkeeper, railway worker. Enter the USSR and Red China to make mischief. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the Zimbabweans got rid of the, laugh though you may, benevolently patronising white farmers, missionaries, administrators etc who had spent their life living cheek by jowl with black Zimbabweans, and have replaced them with Chinese overlords who will have Africans for breakfast. Zimbabweans deserved Mugabe and you'd have to have a heart of stone not to see the funny side of what has happened. 

optimator's picture

Thanks to Henry Kissinger and the U.N., Rhodesians were given one man, one vote, one time.  If Ian Smith were around I'd bet they vote him back in - if they could.

rwe2late's picture

According to you England didn’t leave behind a “mess“ in the European designated land-locked nation of Zimbabwe? ?

Just years of apartheid white “self”-rule. Followed by a declaration of white-ruled independence that you ballyhoo, but fail to mention Britain opposed and led a campaign of global economic sanctions against. Then the years of black insurrection/civil war where Mugabe supposedly earned his creds.

Never heard of poverty or racial animosity in Zimbabwe before Mugabe? Be serious.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"
-- Matthew 7:16

NoTTD's picture

Yeah, that's it. Way to apply the tunnel vision goggles.

arby63's picture

Unfortunately, you can take any country and the entire population of the USA (or Europe) and the Africans would be in FAMINE within 24 months. We would find them sleeping on tractors in the middle of the largest cornfield in Nebraska. Just simple fact.

Winston Churchill's picture

Detroit sums it all up.

Our home grown Zim.

Bawneee Fwank's picture

"He has had his opportunity. That opportunity has lasted
for a hundred years in a splendid land which he found
ready prepared for him. Yet to-day we find him with a
Government which, save in the single point of force
majeure, has degenerated into a farce ; and as for the
country itself, houses and plantations have disappeared,
and where clearings once were there is now impenetrable
forest. Certainly he has existed through one hundred years
of internecine strife, but he has never for six consecutive
months governed himself in any accepted sense of the word.
Today, and as matters stand, he certainly cannot rule himself."

bank guy in Brussels's picture

Zimbabweans in Europe tell me it is not that bad there, actually, tho certainly FUBAR

They tell me people don't really 'starve' too often because the land is so friggin' rich and fertile, edible fruit and food falls from trees ... a very boring menu, but they survive, it is not a desert

Zim exiles say their countryfolk claim to be 'starving' because they don't have meat, and Zimbabweans have essentially killed all the local animals that used to be on the white farms, plus they have killed many of the wild animals, the endangered species, they killed any animal they could either eat, or profit from selling the dead flesh and bones

Re 80 % 'unemployment', I have been seeing that figure for years ... Zimbabweans explain it means most of the economy is essentially 'off the books', subsistence farming and fruit picking and selling

They also say not only is Mugabe corrupt, opposition parties are corrupt too ... kind of like many places

The Chinese are there big-time, they know how to do business in these places

A mess of a country but 'dictator' Mugabe more beats people up, very few Zimbabweans are in prison ... unlike the USA gulag of 2.3 million ...

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Huh. OK so you are saying:

-- the land is unbelievably fertile, and yet the people barely eke a subsistence diet from it
-- virtually all animals have been slaughtered and there is no sustainable animal farming
-- the Chinese are actively exploiting the country
-- Mugabe is corrupt, but then again, everyone is corrupt, so therefore it is a sinkhole of corruption
--80% unemployment is a meaningless statistic because despite that fact, people are scratching out a subsistence living

And yet you then say "it's not that bad" and imply the US is worse because we actually have the resources to imprison criminals instead of letting them run free???

e-recep's picture

it's not a race issue. underdeveloped cultures cannot produce the same results as the developed ones.

geez man, skin color? what are you, 12? nazi? redneck? dimwit?

fuu's picture

Our central bank puppet has a beard though, that Zimbabwe guy doesn't. We should be fine.

GreatUncle's picture

Hyperiflation the weapon of choice to deflate debt away "whilst maintaining the wealth at the highest level".

dwdollar's picture

Sounds like Zimbabwe needs to take some lessons from Uncle Scam on calculating unemployment.

yogibear's picture

Uncle Scam is the best in the world at cooking the unemployment numbers and inflation stats.

AssFire's picture


I thought the photo might have been taken in Detroit-

then I noticed his Santa pants weren't hanging hanging off his ass with his underwear sticking out.

Kapirima has four wives and 25 children (LOL)

Freddie's picture

As nightmarishly bad as Zimbabwe is - this photo looks much nicer than Detroit or Camden, NJ.

The only good thing about Detroit is that it appears to keep shrinking and the trees and wildlife are reclaiming the city.   They need to bring in more wildlife including bears to clean out the feral "humans' out of Detroit.

Just like Chernobyl where the humans fled and the animals, trees, plants reclaimed it.

Snakeeyes's picture

We ARE Zimbabwe, we just don't know it yet.

q99x2's picture

Exile Bernanke and friends to Zimbabwe. Send the fat Fkers there too.

_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

It's very hard for me to feel pity for someone who has 25 ??!!! children. Jesus!

Conax's picture

Well, to be fair rubbers don't grow on trees.


LFMayor's picture

and they can't watch re-runs of "Good Times" since the goverment didn't keep the power lines up and running.  A fella has to do something to wheedle away all the idle hours.

bank guy in Brussels's picture

Zimbabweans in Europe tell me that in Zimbabwe or 'Zim', there are truckloads of free condoms from international organisations

But men there don't feel 'manly' using them, and there is also a big rumour that the condoms are a plot by the Western countries to give African people AIDS via poisoned condoms

Plus some of the Zimbabwean men 'believe' that they can get cured of AIDS if they have sex with a virgin, most readily obtained via rape

Sad stories from Africans themselves

Banksters's picture

In America, the baby boomers will be lucky if they get 40 cents on the dollar after the next financial implosion. Of course, the modus operandi of the bankers is to  steal through inflation.

Winston Churchill's picture

You sir, exagerate.

0.04 on the dollar.

Which just about matches said devaluation under a hundred years of Fed Res stewardship.

Mean reversion.

yogibear's picture

Bernanke and the Fed's Moidified Zimbabwe economic plan.

yogibear's picture

Bubble Bernanke and the Fed loves the idea of devaluing debt just like Zimbabwe.

Bernanke's own kid racked up over $400,000 worth of debt because Benny knows the debt will be paid in worthless US dollars.

That's the Fed's grand plan. To print out of debt.

Bernanke and the fed are buying up US treasury debt with printed money.



CelticCanuck's picture

Four "baby mamas", 25 unfunded offspring that probably don't know their daddy strewn across the land, conjures up visions of festive tidings from any "hood" here in the land of perpetual welfare and unlimited foodstamps.

highandwired's picture

"Can't they just raise the taxes on the nation's "urban elite?" Problem solved."  I'm not sure if this comment was included as irony or if you actully believe that raising taxes is the answer to this problem?