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93-year-old Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe made it clear in an address this week that people who murdered white farmers during a government-sanctioned purge in the 2000s will never be prosecuted.
In 2000, Zimbabwe implemented a controversial land reform program that saw squatters invade and seize hundreds of white-owned farms around the country. As Newsweek details, the violent seizures resulted in the murder of several white farmers, with many more displaced, and close associates of Mugabe given large chunks of land.
And now, speaking at a rally in Harare, Mugabe confirmed this massacre will go unpunished, according to Zimbabwean news site NewsDay.
Zimbabwe is back in the news. Or, it was. For about two days. European and Western media have dutifully reported on the series of painful economic crises the country has suffered since independence with the occasional “so-bad-it’s-funny” article on the birthday celebrations of the country’s long-time President Robert Mugabe. But the full tragedy is that the country is entering its second century of colonial rule, having enjoyed a 35 year stint of totalitarian independence in the middle, and no one seems to care.
As the public is told day after day by mainstream media, if stock prices are up in America, it is an indication that all is well in the economy… consumers can consume, investors can invest, and producers can produce as confident citizens gorge on ever more credit (because everything is awesome). So we wonder what the ‘CNBC’ of these two countries would be saying about their stock markets’ massive outperformance…
Venezuela’s “economy” must be roaring?
Of course the point is, it matters what the numeraire is and with Bolivars hyperinflating and ZimDollars on the verge of hyperinflating as Mugabe prints money once again, these ‘markets’ are merely reflecting the collapsing worth of local currency. But hey, don’t tell the global investing public, stocks up = good news, no matter what, right?!
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Some people just don’t learn.
After becoming the most famous case of hyperinflation in modern history roughly ten years ago, Zimbabwe is about to have another go at conjuring paper money out of thin air.
I’m sure this time will be different.
You know the story. Starting in the late 1990s, the Zimbabwe government’s policies under Robert Mugabe began to have some devastating effects.
He confiscated private property from established (mostly white) farmers and redistributed the land in very tiny tracts to his supporters, most of whom had no experience in farming.
Unsurprisingly, Zimbabwe’s once-booming agriculture exports collapsed almost overnight.
You can’t make this stuff up!
From the article:
“Stacked on pallets in the cargo hold of Western Global Airlines MD-11 wide-body cargo plane is 57 tons of South African currency.
By the time the plane is released, that figures will have increased by another 10 tons.”
Initial reports state the plane made either A. an emergency landing at the airport in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, as stated in initial reports. Or B. making a routine scheduled refueling stop, according to a press release put out three days later by the owners of the plane.
Always go with the smart money
The smart money was always on “A.”
The wide-body cargo plane impounded in Harare belongs to “Western Global Airlines,” a Florida airline that is the successor to a long-time CIA subsidiary which itself is no stranger to blood dripping down the fuselage.
– Furious Americans Demand Extradition Of Cecil-Killing Dentist As Poachers Kill Lion’s Brother (ZeroHedge, Aug 1, 2015)
– Zimbabwe phases out local currency at 35 quadrillion to US$1 (RT, June 15, 2015):
Zimbabwe has started retiring its almost worthless local currency in favor of the US dollar. Today, 35 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars are equal to US $1, as a result of hyperinflation which hit the country in 2009.
The demonetization process of the Zimbabwe dollar started on Monday and will run till September 30.
People with accounts of up to 175 quadrillion (175,000,000,000,000,000) Zimbabwean dollars will be paid $5. Those who preserved bills at home will receive a rate of 250 trillion to $1 for their 2008-issued notes and 250 to $1 for their 2009-issued notes.
– Zimbabwe Demonetizes: Offers US$5 Per 175 Quadrillion Zim Dollars (ZeroHedge, June 11, 2015):
It’s over! Starting June 15th and ending September 30th, the Zimbabwe Central bank will begin its process of “demonetization” of the old Zimbabwe Dollar. The Zimbabwe dollar will be removed as legal tender after the currency’s use was abandoned in 2009 following a surge in inflation to 500 billion percent. For bank accounts containing up to 175 quadrillion Zimbabwe dollars they will be paid $5, the country’s central bank said. The people remain angry slamming this as “abusing one’s rights in the banking system,” and claiming this is being done to enrich a chosen few.
- *ZIMBABWE’S CENTRAL BANK SAYS `DEMONETISATION IS A NECESSITY’
- *ZIMBABWE SAYS DEMONETISATION `CRITICAL FOR POLICY CONSISTENCY’
As Bloomberg reports,
– Zimbabwe’s Gold Mines On Verge Of Collapse Due To Low Bullion Prices (Zerohedge, Jan 28, 2015):
To say that Zimbabwe has not had much luck in its recent, post Robert Mugabe-goes-berserk, history with fiat money is putting it lightly. But did you know that with gold trading at prevailing depressed prices, driven over the past several years not by physical demand but by paper supply, Zimbabwe is about to have another “money” moment, only this time not with fiat but with real money. The reason: the same one why every so often we show the gold cost curve: because some miners simply can not continue operating if the “market” price of gold, with or without central bank and BIS intervention, is below their blended cost. Unfortunately for the south African country, the cost curve of the entire Zimbabwe gold mining industry is on the wrong side of the gold price line.
– Obama Threatens More Sanctions Against Zimbabwe Over Russian-Platinum Deal (ZeroHedge, Oct 6, 2014):
As Martin Armstrong exclaims, Obama is out of control. According to NewZimbabwe.com, Washington has said it will accelerate sanctions imposed against Harare in 2003, due to the Robert Mugabe-led government’s closer ties with Russia over the US$3 billion Darwendale platinum project. Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru (who is thought to be Mugabe’s spokesman), reported, Washington explained its expectations on Zimbabwe, namely that Zimbabwe was expected (read required) to support those sanctions by avoiding any association with companies sanctioned by the Americans and their Western allies, or their subsidiaries or affiliates. Manheru said “it was ridiculous for the US to refuse to lift sanctions against Harare and then demand support for its measures against Moscow… This is where I am tempted to tell the American government to go and hang, hang on a banana tree, bums up.“
– China Demands Gold As Collateral For Zimbabwe Loans (ZeroHedge, May 7, 2014):
China, as we noted here, is happy to provide the financing to turn Africa into Disneyland – Monorails and all – but there is one catch… the loans must be backed by gold as collateral. As The Source reports, China wants Zimbabwe to use its mineral proceeds to guarantee any future loans having already extended nearly $1.5 billion in the last three years to Harare’s ailing economy. Various minerals have been discussed to back the loans “but we feel gold is more stable,” Zimbabwe’s Mines Minister noted. Of course, China is defending the demand, claiming “it’s in accordance with rules and regulations when granting any loan” and adding that “it doesn’t mean that we will use the collateral.”
– Meanwhile, China Quietly Takes Over Zimbabwe (ZeroHedge, March 2, 2014):
While the developed world is focusing on the rapidly deteriorating developments in the Crimean, China, which has kept a very low profile on the Ukraine situation aside from the token diplomatic statement, is taking advantage of this latest distraction to do what it does best: quietly take over the global periphery while nobody is looking.
Over two years ago we reported that none other than Zimbabwe – best known in recent history for banknotes with many zeros in them – was bashing the US currency, and had alligned itself with the Chinese Yuan. This culminated last month with the announcement by Zimbabwe’s central bank that it would accept the Chinese yuan and three other Asian currencies as legal tender as economic relations have improved in recent years. “Trade and investment ties between Zimbabwe, China, India, Japan and Australia have grown appreciably,” said Charity Dhliwayo, acting governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
– Hyperinflation – 10 Worst Cases (ToTheTick, May 22, 2013):
I have a neat little app on my smartphone that I like to look at when I’m feeling bored. It won’t change anything in my life, but it makes me think as I see the numbers clocking up, and then suddenly stopping for a few seconds. It’s the app that tells me the how much the National Debt of each country stands at in real-time. As I sit down at my computer screen the USA National Debt amounts to $17 041 241 xxx xxx. Forgive the x’s…they’re not kisses…I tried to get the last six digits, but, there’s no point, they’re moving too fast! Speedie Gonzalez has got into that app! It works out to $54 087 per person. That’s the same value as 3 408 248 816 XXX Big Mac Meals.
Inflation is hot property today, hyperinflation is even hotter! We think we are modern, contemporary, smart and ready to deal with anything. We’ve got that seen-it-all-before, been-there-done-it attitude. But, we are not a patch on what some countries have been through in the worst cases of hyperinflation in history. Here’s the top 10 list of worst cases in history. We’ll start with the worst first…let’s think positive!
With a line-up that includes Drew Barrymore, David Beckham, Orlando Bloom, and Ricky Martin, the UN’s choice of ambassadors has been known to cause raised eyebrows or the odd smirk.
Seldom, however, has there been such anger, or questioning of the organisation’s credibility, as that greeting the appointment of a new international envoy for tourism: Robert Mugabe.
Improbable as it seems, the Zimbabwean president, who is widely accused of ethnic cleansing, rigging elections, terrorising opposition, controlling media and presiding over a collapsed economy, has been endorsed as a champion of efforts to boost global holidaymaking.
Despite that fact Mugabe, 88, is under a travel ban, he has been honoured as a “leader for tourism” by the UN’s World Tourism Organisation, along with his political ally, Zambian president Michael Sata, 75. The pair signed an agreement with UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai at their shared border at Victoria Falls on Tuesday.
– Inflation, Hyperinflation and Real Estate (or, The Lessons of The Great Hernán P.) (Gonzalo Lira, February 12, 2011):
“Hyperinflation accompanied by a housing collapse is simply impossible—by definition.”
– None-too-clever financial blogger.
Most people in the advanced economies—including most economists—really don’t have any idea what inflation and hyperinflation is. They don’t have a clue because they haven’t lived through it, or were children when it happened in the States and in Europe during the Seventies.
Highly recommended article.
We turned off the main road to Awassa, talked our way past security guards and drove a mile across empty land before we found what will soon be Ethiopia’s largest greenhouse. Nestling below an escarpment of the Rift Valley, the development is far from finished, but the plastic and steel structure already stretches over 20 hectares – the size of 20 football pitches.
The farm manager shows us millions of tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables being grown in 500m rows in computer controlled conditions. Spanish engineers are building the steel structure, Dutch technology minimises water use from two bore-holes and 1,000 women pick and pack 50 tonnes of food a day. Within 24 hours, it has been driven 200 miles to Addis Ababa and flown 1,000 miles to the shops and restaurants of Dubai, Jeddah and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Ethiopia is one of the hungriest countries in the world with more than 13 million people needing food aid, but paradoxically the government is offering at least 3m hectares of its most fertile land to rich countries and some of the world’s most wealthy individuals to export food for their own populations.
The 1,000 hectares of land which contain the Awassa greenhouses are leased for 99 years to a Saudi billionaire businessman, Ethiopian-born Sheikh Mohammed al-Amoudi, one of the 50 richest men in the world. His Saudi Star company plans to spend up to $2bn acquiring and developing 500,000 hectares of land in Ethiopia in the next few years. So far, it has bought four farms and is already growing wheat, rice, vegetables and flowers for the Saudi market. It expects eventually to employ more than 10,000 people.
But Ethiopia is only one of 20 or more African countries where land is being bought or leased for intensive agriculture on an immense scale in what may be the greatest change of ownership since the colonial era.
An Observer investigation estimates that up to 50m hectares of land – an area more than double the size of the UK – has been acquired in the last few years or is in the process of being negotiated by governments and wealthy investors working with state subsidies. The data used was collected by Grain, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the International Land Coalition, ActionAid and other non-governmental groups.
The land rush, which is still accelerating, has been triggered by the worldwide food shortages which followed the sharp oil price rises in 2008, growing water shortages and the European Union’s insistence that 10% of all transport fuel must come from plant-based biofuels by 2015.
John Williams, who runs the popular counter government data manipulation site Shadowstats, has thrown down the gauntlet to deflationists, and in an extensive report concludes that the probability of a hyperinflationary episode in America over the next year has reached critical levels. While the debate between deflationists and (hyper)inflationists has been a long and painful one, numerous events set off in motion by the Bernanke Fed (as a direct legacy of the Greenspan multi-decade period of cheap and boundless credit) may have well cast America as the unwilling protagonist in the sequel of the failed monetary policy economic experiment better known as Zimbabwe.
Williams does not mince his words:
The U.S. economic and systemic solvency crises of the last two years are just precursors to a Great Collapse: a hyperinflationary great depression. Such will reflect a complete collapse in the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar, a collapse in the normal stream of U.S. commercial and economic activity, a collapse in the U.S. financial system as we know it, and a likely realignment of the U.S. political environment. The current U.S. financial markets, financial system and economy remain highly unstable and vulnerable to unexpected shocks. The Federal Reserve is dedicated to preventing deflation, to debasing the U.S. dollar. The results of those efforts are being seen in tentative selling pressures against the U.S. currency and in the rallying price of gold.
And even as Bernanke continues existing in a factless vacuum where he sees no asset bubbles, Williams takes aim at the one party almost exclusively responsible for the economic carnage that will soon transpire:
The crises have been generated out of and are centered on the United States financial system, triggered by the collapse of debt excesses actively encouraged by the Greenspan Federal Reserve. Recognizing that the U.S. economy was sagging under the weight of structural changes created by government trade, regulatory and social policies — policies that limited real consumer income growth — Mr. Greenspan played along with the political and banking systems. He made policy decisions to steal economic activity from the future, fueling economic growth of the last decade largely through debt expansion.
The Greenspan Fed pushed for ever-greater systemic leverage, including the happy acceptance of new financial products, which included instruments of mis-packaged lending risks, designed for consumption by global entities that openly did not understand the nature of the risks being taken. Complicit in this broad malfeasance was the U.S. government, including both major political parties in successive Administrations and Congresses.
As with consumers, the federal government could not make ends meet while appeasing that portion of the electorate that could be kept docile by ever-expanding government programs and increasing government spending. The solution was ever-expanding federal debt and deficits.
Purportedly, it was Arthur Burns, Fed Chairman under Richard Nixon, who first offered the advice that helped to guide Alan Greenspan and a number of Administrations. The gist of the wisdom imparted was that if you ran into problems, you could ignore the budget deficit and the dollar. Ignoring them did not matter, because doing so would not cost you any votes.
Back in 2005, I raised the issue of a then-inevitable U.S. hyperinflation with an advisor to both the Bush Administration and Fed Chairman Greenspan. I was told simply that “It’s too far into the future to worry about.”
Indeed, pushing the big problems into the future appears to have been the working strategy for both the Fed and recent Administrations. Yet, the U.S. dollar and the budget deficit do matter, and the future is at hand. The day of ultimate financial reckoning has arrived, and it is playing out.
Looking at the events over the past year demonstrates that Williams is not just being a drama queen.
Effective financial impairments and at least partial nationalizations or orchestrated bailouts/takeovers resulted for institutions such as Bear Stearns, Citigroup, Washington Mutual, AIG, General Motors, Chrysler, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with a number of further troubled financial institutions. The Fed moved to provide whatever systemic liquidity would be needed, while the federal government moved to finance corporate bailouts and to introduce significant stimulus spending.
Curiously, though, the Fed and the Treasury let Lehman Brothers fail outright, which triggered a foreseeable run on the system and markedly intensified the systemic solvency crisis in September 2008. Whether someone was trying to play political games, with the public and Congress increasingly raising questions of moral hazard issues, or whether the U.S. financial wizards missed what would happen or simply moved to bring the crisis to a head, remains to be seen.
More on the impending timing of the complete economic collapse of the US financial system: