Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Zimbabwe's descent into economic and political purgatory

Today Tom Friedman took a break from talking about energy policy (which he has done both very frequently and very well) to talk about the continuing deterioration of conditions in Zimbabwe.

He cites an AP report from May gauging annual inflation at 1,063,572 percent, "based on prices of a basket of basic foodstuffs” presumably measured by reporters, to a level where “a loaf of bread now costs what 12 new cars did a decade ago.”

That's right, inflation of a million percent.

That's a multiplicative increase of 100 million.

Imagine a million dollar bill. Now imagine its purchasing power dropping to that of a penny.