Something Feral

Digging up the flower-beds.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Wages of Statism

Via Survival Blog:

From the article:
The opposition activist has produced extraordinary footage of what Zimbabweans have to do in order to survive in a wrecked economy. As money is worthless – Zimbabwe is plagued by the world's highest inflation rate – the villagers are reduced to panning for gold in rivers. Instead of attending school, youngsters from the village scrabble knee-deep in muddy water or dig ever deeper holes in a desperate search for a few grains of gold.

These small supplies of the precious metal have thus become a crucial commodity Zimbabweans can trade for food; a loaf of bread is worth 0.1 grams. But only the young have the strength to dig and pan for gold; the village elders must go hungry, unless they have friends or relatives they can rely on. Some parents have been forced to feed rats to their children, and hunger has turned family members against each other.
It's painful to watch, but it's another thing entirely to realize it can happen anywhere where the people will not or cannot control their government.

At the risk of sounding crass, it is fortunate for the people of that particular village that they have the ability to pan for gold. In an urban area without means of production, I would expect the desperation (and the resultant violence) to be much, much worse.

1 comment:

SellCivilizationShort said...

Of course I don't advocate eating rats without precautions.

In a rational world, we would have quality standards for rat meat and cockroach meat so that it could be eaten without any significant health risk. The only rational objection to such livestock is that quality control remains undeveloped. Many people eat shrimp, which is essentially a ocean-cockroach. Cockroaches could be bred and developed to provide low-cost protein.

I eat pig meat, and even liver (which presumably is swimming with toxins and god-knows-what), on occasion. Rats are much like pigs, but with more fleas. A rat without fleas, raised in captivity, is a reasonable pet, no dirtier than a dog. And yes, I would eat dog meat if it were quality controlled to meet modern health standards.

Back to the main topic -- yes, inflation is bad, sound currency based on gold or silver is good. Governments lead to all kinds of social degeneration, including debasement of currency.