Wednesday, March 21, 2007

how to break a country. has an interesting article on present-day Zimbabwe, whose economy has been in free fall since President Mugabe evicted thousands of white land owners from their farms seven years ago. Mugabe resolved to right colonial wrongs, taking the farmers' property and turning it over to black "war veterans" of Zimbabwe's 1970s civil war. (Many of the armed gangs that took over those farms were comprised of young thugs that were just a twinkling in their fathers' eyes in the 1970s, but who's picking nits?)

When the evil white farmers tilled their own soil, Zimbabwe was the bread basket of the region, exporting grain and food and tobacco to the rest of Africa. The gangs that took over the farms had no idea how to farm, and no interest in doing the work involved. Seven years later, Zimbabwe has gone from bread basket to basket case, with chronic food shortages and a 1,700% annual inflation rate. Mugabe's government and his cronies are the textbook definition of corruption, and Zimbabwe is slated to become the next entry in the list of countries that have been run into the ground by looters.

Africa's biggest problem is Africa. The continent seems to be plagued by an endless parade of governments that seize and hold power for the sole purpose of filling their pockets as long as possible, with no regard for the devastated countries they leave behind.

Our Western governments are chock-full of "public servants" of the same caliber, but at least ours are smart enough to realize that it's better to keep milking the cow than to slaughter it outright. The milk will sustain you for a long time, and the cow's offspring can be milked or butchered for additional profit, but it's dumb to chop off Bossie's head just because you're hungry now.

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