Sunday, March 09, 2008

Dictator du Jour

Robert Mugabe. This is a man who has left no stone unturned in is efforts to impoverish Zimbabwe. Now, Rhodesia / Zimbabwe wasn’t exactly paradise when Mugabe took power, and rebuilding a civil society out of the ruins of apartheid wasn’t going to be a stroll in the park by any stretch of the imagination. However, Zimbabwe did have a functioning economy, and there was no driving force to push it onto the list of the continent’s basket cases.

As far as foreign investment goes, it’s not like doing business in Zimbabwe under Mugabe has been a license to print money.

Local ownership mandates essentially boil down to a wealth transfer to Mugabe and his supporters (with access to the state treasury, or what’s left of it, they are the only ones in a position to ‘invest’). This will also speed the flight of what little mobile capital is left from Zimbabwe.

There’s no economy so bad hat a good dose of socialism can’t make it worse.

I suspect that Mugabe is going to turn out like Arafat – when he dies, the dedicated freedom fighter will be found to be worth a billion dollars or so.