Birds of a feather

23 11 2006

Zimbabwe DOES have a few friends left. Our esteemed president has been in Iran, rattling up support and no doubt some much needed fuel supplies. We certainly got some moral support if the government owned The Herald newspaper is to be believed. Yesterday’s banner headline “Iran slams Zimbabwe Sanctions” crowed that the Iranian president fully backed Zimbabwe’s land reform programme and condemned various western nations for being so nasty to us. We are also friends with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez who likes to poke his finger in George Bush’s eye on occasion. I suppose I have to give him points for that. The sanctions issue is a favourite scapegoat for the Herald. It likes to intimate that a large proportion of Zimbabwe’s economic woes are due to “sanctions”. Yes, there are sanctions imposed but they are targeted at specific individuals, not the economy.

If you have the money you can buy just about anything in Zimbabwe. New Zealand kiwifruit (not great), a new Benz or several, even diesel! I have not seen Toblerone recently and of course our local milk supplies have dried up but I covered that in a previous posting. The Reserve Bank has even splashed out on some very nice new Italian made tractors, for various government farming enterprises. Sanctions? Certainly not economic ones!

I can only speculate what is probably the world’s fastest shrinking economy might have to offer Iran. I wonder if president Ahmadinejad has heard about Zimbabwe’s credit rating? It is non-existent but I’m sure the various comrade dignitaries with President Mugabe have gilt edged tongues that can smooth over any silly stories propagated by the Western media! Comrades? Yes, the abbreviation is “Cde” as in Cde Dr Joseph Made who has presided over the land redistribution programme. Redistributing the poverty, as a Malawian once commented to me. Wow, imagine that one in your CV!

That reminds me; there is a particularly anarchic computer game called Grand Theft Auto. I have never played it but one goes around stealing cars and getting into fights. There is another called SimCity where the object is to build up and successfully run a city. There are variations such as SimIsle I think but they all centre on successfully running a local economy and coping with various challenges; traffic clogging the city, flooding etc. Now, you saw this here first… I am proposing a hybrid of the two, call it “Anarchy” though “Loot” would be equally apt. The idea is to trash a country. A third world country, we won’t give it a name. One buys one’s position in the “order of things”. The more you pay the more power you have and the more influential friends “in positions” you have. You want to be top dog? You pay BIG MONEY! You can be a nobody and it costs nothing but you have no friends and no power. Or you can come in anywhere else on the scale. Limits have to be set on how far down the economy can go before the game is over and the winner is the one who ends up with the most offshore assets (local assets are worthless). Which is the best strategy? Trash quickly and grab while you can or stretch it out over a longer period and milk more slowly? It would be an online game. Economists would have to be sought and economic models used in the programming but it could work. The possibilities are enormous! Other limits would have to be set of course; how many times money can be reprinted for example. It would be quite challenging to define the end of the game, how does one define just how dismal an economy is? Inflation? Absence of GDP? Shortages of commodities? Food for thought – oops, food’s short too!

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4 responses

25 11 2006
Gillian

GTA – Grand Theft Africa!

27 11 2006
Gillian

What about the original ‘Grand Theft Africa’…the one where the main players are the missionaries and the colonialists who came and spread their westernised ‘civilisation’ and religion? The slave traders and plunderers who didn’t give a shit about the continent or its people. Were they any different to today’s political plunderers?

27 11 2006
Andy

Quite whether the above mentioned are “better” or “worse” than today’s plunderers is subjective and irrelevant. What was done then is history and cannot be changed though it is constantly being rewritten! Africa has a propensity to look into the past to find blame for the mess it is in today. Other countries such as S. Korea, Thailand and Malaysia have looked to the future and got on with it. Shit happens; learn and move on. What is happening NOW in Zimbabwe IS changeable despite all the damage done and unforgiveable. The land issue can be debated for as long as you like but there is/was NO excuse to trash the economy.

I find Tony Blair’s recent “apology” or whatever it was for Britain’s role in the slave trade very puzzling. How he can presume to apologize for something that finished around 200 years ago is beyond me.

18 08 2007
Land of Shopping

This is very nice and informative post. I have bookmarked your site in order to find out your post in the future.

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