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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 20, 2008 / 14 Adar I 5768

Dying silently in Zimbabwe

By Michael Gerson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of the most reckless and cruel acts of government is the destruction of a currency.


During the hyperinflation of Germany's Weimar Republic, the number of marks in circulation went from 29 billion in 1918 to 497 quintillion in 1923. Workers were paid twice a day and given breaks to spend their money, carted in wheelbarrows, before it became worthless. Most Germans lost their life savings, leaving many prepared to blame others for their impoverishment. The Nazis blamed the Jews.


This kind of hyperinflation is rare in history, but we are seeing it once again, in Zimbabwe. Government officials claim an inflation rate of 66,212 percent (most months they refuse to release inflation figures at all). The International Monetary Fund believes the rate is closer to 150,000 percent — about the level reached by Weimar Germany. By some estimates, about 50 percent of Zimbabwe's government revenue comes from the printing of money. At independence in 1980, the Zimbabwean dollar was worth more than one U.S. dollar. Recently, the state-controlled newspaper raised its cover price to 3 million Zimbabwean dollars. Two pounds of chicken were recently reported to cost about 15 million Zimbabwean dollars.


A Zimbabwean friend who runs a business recently told me, "If you don't get a bill collected in 48 hours, it isn't worth collecting, because it is worthless. Whenever we get money, we must immediately spend it, just go and buy what we can. Our pension was destroyed ages ago. None of us have any savings left." Zimbabwean nationals who work on the U.S. Embassy staff in Harare have seen all their retirement funds wiped out. American government officials in the country carry boxes of money to pay at restaurants and must begin counting out currency at the beginning of the meal to finish by its end.


The government of Robert Mugabe has responded with the normal economic policy of tyrants: price controls. And these have naturally emptied the shelves in grocery stores and caused shortages of most basic goods. My friend's wife travels to Botswana to buy flour and sugar.


Mugabe manages to pay off his military leaders and political cronies with hard currency that comes from mining gold and platinum. He also sells farmland to Chinese and Libyan speculators — land expropriated from white farmers, supposedly in the cause of Zimbabwean nationalism. Mugabe is literally putting his country on the block to maintain his power.


So why don't the impoverished people of Zimbabwe revolt? "The tragedy is that nobody is in the streets," says my Zimbabwean friend. "People are dying silently."


Zimbabwe's odd stability has several causes. More than 3 million discontented people have fled the country — often the talented and educated — leaving Mugabe with less internal opposition. Many of the Zimbabweans who remain avoid starvation with the help of international aid and remittances from relatives in prosperous neighboring countries. Mugabe's political opponents have generally been weak and divided — when not being jailed and tortured by the government. And some residual support for Mugabe remains, particularly in rural areas, because he is an anti-colonial hero; it is hard for many to accept the idea that their founding father is also a corrupt, brutal incompetent.


There are, however, signs of resistance. My friend reports that lower-level members of the military and police seem increasingly alienated and disillusioned. At a demonstration last year, he says, "they were unenthusiastic and malnourished, with ragged uniforms. They pleaded with us to go away, because they didn't want to hurt us. And then I was saluted for the first time by the police."


And Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is beginning to fracture. The former finance minister — who opposed the policy of printing money and price controls — is running as an independent against Mugabe in the March 29 election. Simba Makoni is viewed by U.S. officials as a smart, honest technocrat. He clearly possesses bravery, though not much grass-roots support.


The March 29 vote, as usual, will be a fraud. Mugabe — despite pressure from surrounding nations — will conduct a police-state election, with tight control of the media, corrupt voter rolls and massive intimidation, including the use of food as a tool of political control. But the opposition has little choice but to participate. It may gain some support in local councils and the parliament. And if opponents abandon the electoral route, says my friend, the only alternative would be "street action, which is fraught with problems."


And so Mugabe remains on his bayonet throne as his country becomes the Weimar Republic and totalitarian, all in one.


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Comment on Michael Gerson's column by clicking here.



Previously:


02/13/08: Hillary's Unappealing Path
02/13/08: NATO's Afghan Stumbles
02/08/08: Why McCain Endures
02/06/08: One surge that led to another
02/01/08: In North Korea, Process Over Progress
01/30/08: Compassionate to the end


© 2008, WPWG

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