Authored by Steve H. Hanke of the Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke.
Robert Mugabe’s 37-year reign of lawlessness, corruption and incompetence has just come to an end. Mugabe is toast, thanks to a “soft coup” engineered by Emmerson Mnangagwa (aka: “the Crocodile”), who was Zimbabwe’s Vice President until he was dismissed earlier this month by Mugabe. Now, with the support of the military, the Crocodile will probably serve as Interim President until elections are held. What really did Mugabe in? Two episodes of hyperinflation in less than 10 years did the job.
The first episode occurred during the 2007-08 period. It was then that Zimbabwe suffered the second most severe episode of hyperinflation in recorded history. As shown in the table below, the annual inflation rate peaked in November 2008 at 89,700,000,000,000,000,000,000%.
This year, Zimbabwe once again experienced a bout of hyperinflation. This second episode began on September 14, 2017. At present (11/15/17), the annual inflation rate is 323%, as shown in the chart below.
Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation episodes finally produced enough outrage to enable the Crocodile to outsmart Mugabe.
Next stop, Venezuela? Will inflation prove to be the catalyst that unseats Maduro?