16 May 2008
A bottle of beer may cost half a billion dollars; by next week it could be a billion. Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe reached a terrifying 355,000% in March, with prices doubling roughly once a week. It is probably much higher now. In a vain attempt to keep up, the country has just issued a Z$500m banknote, which is worth some $2 (or less by the time you reach the end of this sentence). The billion-dollar note is surely on its way. After a decade of recession Zimbabwe is reaching all sorts of extremes: it has the fastest-contracting peacetime economy; its people are fleeing both repression and chronic hunger; life-expectancy is plummeting to the mid-20s. Despite all this, Robert Mugabe, the incumbent, expects to win a run-off presidential election on June 27th.
- Source: The Economist
Just the other day, I read how North Koreans (the poor ones, though), on the brink of a severe famine due to food crisis, have started trying tree-bark and grass for food. Although the inaction on the part of the government is understandable - due to its rigid foreign policies and cold international relations - yet it confounded me that situations test humans to the limit. All that superfluous gibberish about "collapse of barriers" notwithstanding, the world is still a definitely divided, apathetically disconnected place.
There certainly are quite a few "believe it or not" things happening in the big, insane, and horrible world out there! Only, they are rather chilling than exciting!