Friday, November 30, 2007

A Millionaire’s Tipple

This photo is doing the rounds at the moment.

It is the story of a beer. That beautiful brown stuff we all love. Real Rhodies drank only Castle. Now, this beer in the photo, cost at a bar in Harare the other day, Z$ 1.000 000 (One million!)

The poor person wanting to drink this beer had to first cue for hours at the bank to get money. It is hard to believe, but there is a shortage of the stuff at the moment. Eventually he got some, but only in Z$500 notes. (Dunno why one pile has a 1000 label, but the rest are obviously 500 notes.)

As you can see, it came to four huge ‘bricks’ of the stuff, each a quarter million, to pay for the beer. Now remember, in August last year, the government lobbed three zeros of the currency, to ‘curb inflation’! That would have made it 1 billion.

Now, look at the next photo. This is what I used in 1978 to pay for a beer in the Midlands hotel in Gwelo.

Some of you might recall a spoof I did a while back about Zimbabwe and the Guinness Book of records. Now it is no joke – this is taken from the Zim Independent

ZIMBABWE yesterday broke a new record by being the only country in the
world with a national budget running into quadrillions (15 zeroes),
reflecting its highest inflation on the globe, and possibly making another
dramatic entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Finance minister Samuel Mumbengegwi presented a $7,8 quadrillion
budget to parliament amid disbelief among MPs and the public about the
government’s chaotic fiscal policy.

Mumbengegwi, whose budget concept and delivery were widely described
as "pathetic", dramatised his failure to measure up to the task by even
failing to read budget figures before him. The minister pronounced the
figures wrongly before giving up when it became clear he was mixing up

MPs laughed while the public watched in disbelief.

Mumbengegwi’s budget was $7 840 000 000 000 000. According to the US
weights and measures system — which Zimbabwe uses in monetary issues — this
figure is $7,8 quadrillions.

However, if converted to the US dollars, it comes down to a mere
US$5,3 billion at the Old Mutual Implied Rate of US$1: Z$1,5 million. If the
official rate of $30 000 is used the figure jumps to a massive $261 billion
but this does not reflect the real value of the budget.

In US measurements, figures with six zeroes are a million, nine zeroes
is a billion, 12 zeroes is a trillion, 15 zeroes is a quadrillion.

The next figure after this is a quintillion (18 zeroes) followed by a
sextillion (21 zeroes) and it goes up to googol for 100 zeroes and then
infinite after 600 zeroes. No country has a quadrillion in the world today.

Due to hyperinflation, Zimbabwe’s budgets could soon deteriorate to
quintillions. Officially, Zimbabwe has the highest inflation of more than 14

1 comment:

Gerri said...

It is crazy how you now have to move around with a LOT of money just to pay for basic items. The last time I was in Zimbabwe I found it hard to get my head around all the zeros. Can it get any worse?