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Archive for the ‘Zimbabwe’ Category

How is South Africa Faring in the World Economy? When Money Destroys Nations Authors Explain (Video and Podcast)

When Money Destroys NationsWhen Money Destroys Nations by Philip Haslam and Russell Lamberti takes a look at the collapse of the Zimbabwean dollar in 2009 after years of rampant money printing.

In their book, the authors makes a case for painful but necessary global reform in this area, illustrating how the collapse of one system can have a ripple effect across the globe.

In September this year, Lamberti was a guest on ZAR Podcast where he attempted to answer the question: “What is wrong with the Rand?”

Lamberti says the Rand’s weak performance is the “net effect of poor policy in South Africa”. He adds, however, that global markets are also putting a lot of pressure on the currencies of emerging markets.

Reflecting on China’s effect on the world economy, Lamberti says the country has definitely been overstating their growth numbers. Not only that, but “the quality of the GDP that they state is so poor”, he adds.

China’s economy is at the back end of a big credit boom that’s now turning into a bust, Lamberti says, adding that they are trying to stabilise their currency by selling off dollars. Listen to the conversation to find out how this development is hurting emerging markets in general and South Africa in particular.

Download the podcast:


In an interview with Business Day TV, Lamberti discussed South Africa’s competitive ranking in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016.

South Africa is the 49th most competitive country out of 140. Lamberti says that the results need to be treated with caution and explains why South Africa has jumped seven places since the last survey. He says that this rise in the competitive rankings is despite public sector distrust and government involvement.

Watch the video:

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Lamberti wrote an article earlier this year on why credit ratings are important. Read the article:

Credit ratings are a big deal because governments the world over borrow a lot of money, usually from banks, large pension and insurance funds (i.e. your retirement money), and other governments. The combined size of all government bond markets in the world is $40 trillion, more than twice the size of America’s entire GDP. The South African government bond market is well over R1 trillion in size and in 2014 alone the government will borrow roughly another R150 billion. Because the SA government bond market is so big and attracts so many foreign lenders, the risk associated with SA government debt affects confidence in the currency and the debt risk profile of large and systemically important borrowers such as metropolitan municipalities, Eskom, Transnet, banks, and other big corporations.

Is gold a viable alternative currency to money? In August this year, Haslam discussed the idea of gold being a silver bullet in his newsletter.

Read the article:

Gold and Centralised Governments
People often ask me what I think of gold as an alternative form of money and as a hedge against a global currency crisis. It’s not an easy question for the simple reason that you cannot answer questions about the economics of money printing without first discussing the politics of money printing.

When a government prints money on a vast scale, it does so because there are usually no alternatives – debt funding typically dries up and taxation funding reaches its limit.

People aren’t fooled for long – naturally few people want to give hard earned goods and services in return for money created out of nothing. Over time they begin to look for alternatives to the government instituted currency.

Read the Forward to When Money Destroys Nations, written by Leon Louw, Executive Director of the Free Market Foundation:

This is a splendid book with much to offer lay readers as economists. It is a rare example of scholarly substance combined with accessible narrative and human interest. It explains much more than hyperinflation. Readers experience a rollercoaster ride through the ghastly horrors inflicted on entire populations by central bankers and politicians who use money to become diabolical oppressors. It provides disturbing insights into ominous parallels between Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation and profligate polices that have become increasingly trendy in supposedly responsible countries, including the USA.
It is hard to believe that such manifest madness happens at the behest of seemingly intelligent people.

Also read:


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A Voice for Wounded Memory: Presenting Notes From the Lost Property Department, the New Novel by Bridget Pitt

Notes From Lost Property DepartmentPenguin Random House South Africa is proud to present Notes From the Lost Property Department, a new novel by Bridget Pitt:

Iris Langley is forced to take charge when her mother, Grace, has a stroke. This is no easy task: Iris suffers from the lingering effects of a near-fatal fall as a child. The accident turned her mind into a place where a dragon lives: one that roars in her ears and fills her head with smoke.

As her mother retreats into dementia, Iris realises that Grace is hiding something – a secret about that fateful day in the mountains that could threaten everything she believes about herself and her family. But with her own memory fragmented, and Grace’s mind in tatters, how can she find the truth?

Set against the sombre beauty of the Drakensberg mountains, Pitt’s powerful new novel takes us into the labyrinthine world of brain injury, and reveals how the strands of guilt, secrecy and devotion that bind mother to daughter may devastate or redeem them.

“The struggle to forget, or not; courage in small things – Bridget Pitt’s new novel has found a voice for wounded memory. It’s a searching voice, evoking from jumbled discards something that perhaps we’ve all lost … but which might still be found.” – Jeremy Cronin

About the author

Bridget Pitt is a Zimbabwe-born South African writer. Her first published writing was for the anti-apartheid Grassroots newspaper in Cape Town. She later wrote educational material for NGOs, school text books, poetry and fiction. She has published poetry, children’s fiction short stories, and two novels: Unbroken Wing and The Unseen Leopard, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2011, and for the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa in 2012. A story which was shortlisted for the 2012 Commonwealth Short Story Prize has been included in an anthology of Commonwealth Prize submissions, and she was a runner up in the 2015 Short Sharp Story competition.

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"I Grew Up in a Space Where Language Was Alive" – We Need New Names Author NoViolet Bulawayo

We Need New NamesThe German publication DW Akademie caught up with NoViolet Bulawayo on her first visit to Germany to speak about her critically acclaimed novel, We Need New Names.

In the story, Bulawayo shares a personal anecdote about her own name. Her birth name is Elizabeth Tshele but she decided to change it to NoViolet to honour her mother, Violet, who passed away when she was 18 months old. “No” means “with” in Ndebele, she explained, and she chose Bulawayo as her surname after her hometown.

Bulawayo talks about the title of her novel, the turbulence in Zimbabwe that sparked the story, the autobiographical elements and the biggest differences between herself and her protagonist, Darling. “My childhood was very normal and beautiful. Zimbabwe in the 80s was this land of promise,” she says. “But as Darling does not know the stability my generation enjoyed and experienced, her childhood is really under pressure.”

Read the article, in which the author speaks about the beauty of the language in the text, the language of her heart:

The language you chose for your protagonists, the children who live in Paradise, is a mixture of African and English vocabulary, neologisms, incantations, curses. How did you find this strong and colorful language?

I’d say I’m indebted to my culture. I grew up in a space where language was alive. Language was currency. I wanted to write a book that captured that, that would resonate especially with readers coming from that space. And a part of it also came from the fact that I was raised by storytellers, especially my father and my grandmother, of course the women who stayed home when I was growing up, they talked, they gossiped. So I was very conscious of language as a living beast. I wanted the book to be a celebration of that. I wanted that color and that texture and that pulse present.

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52 Hyperinflations in the Last 100 Years: It’s a Regular Event – Philip Haslam

When Money Destroys NationsDawn Bennett, host of the Financial Myth Busting show on Radio America, recently interviewed Philip Haslam about hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, the subject of his book When Money Destroys Nations. ReleaseWire shared a transcript of the interview on their website.

In the interview, Haslam paints a picture of how Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation unfolded slowly over time. Responding to Bennett’s comment that many people believe that “printing money can be done without destroying the currency”, Haslam says that because the process is so slow it is difficult to trace the effects of money printing on inflation.

Haslam shows, however, that studies have proven that hyperinflation happens more often than we think: “Professor Steve Hanke did research and it’s shown that there have been 52 hyperinflations in the last 100 years. So that’s one every two years on average, or more, and so it’s a regular event.”

Read the article:

BENNETT: So, can you paint a picture? You have had a front row seat for Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation. How did the country change as the crisis unfolded, and how is the middle class impacted by all of this?

HASLAM: Great question. The hyperinflation didn’t happen overnight; it was something that took time. And it started in 1997, when there was a run on the currency as credit markets contracted and there was a banking crisis in Zimbabwe. And the government responded to their debt problems with printing money. And that began to work its way into the system, and by 2008 the currency was in fully-fledged hyperinflation, and it collapsed a final death. That’s kind of high level information, but what happened to ordinary people and middle class people on the ground was that stores emptied. It put pressure on producers and retailers, so that it was very difficult for the former suppliers to continue supplying goods and services, and so stores emptied, water ran dry, electricity was cut, and fuel supplies ran out, which obviously put a lot of pressure on individuals living on the ground in the country.

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NoViolet Bulawayo: My English Gets its Energy from isiNdebele

We Need New NamesIn a recent interview with David Palumbo-Liu for the Los Angeles Review of Books, NoViolet Bulawayo said that her novel We Need New Names continues “the dialogue of the falling apartness of things” that was started by Chinua Achebe.

We Need New Names is set in a decolonised Zimbabwe and interrogates a nation that is no longer in confrontation with the “beast of colonisation”, as Bulawayo puts it, but with the effects of an unraveling system. “The scars are, and will always be there of course, but the beast has changed shape.”

The author talks about the decision to have a young narrator tell the story and explains how isiNdebele will always be the language of telling stories for her.

Bulawayo says her English “definitely gets its energy from my mother tongue, isiNdebele, it being the language that all the different storifying happened in, so that my imagination naturally understands it as the language of telling stories.

“I see its fingerprints in all I do,” she says.

Read the article:

Well that leads to an obvious question, so obvious that I didn’t even write it down initially; but I was just wondering, what authors influenced you?

I like the term “spoke to me” better — and my list includes my favorite Zimbabwean writer, Yvonne Vera, who was especially important to me in my early years. There’s Tsitsi Dangarembga, who wrote one of my favorite books, Nervous Conditions, she is another, and so is Junot Díaz. Toni Morrison, Colum McCann, Zakes Mda, Jhumpa Lahiri, IsiNdebele writers Barbara Makhalisa and NS Sigogo, and many others. And of course, in the list are the many storytellers I’ve known, two of which I mentioned, they are not writers, but when I think about “influences,” I’d say these are even at the top of my list.

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Bartering for a Block of Cheese: How Inflation Affected People on the Ground in Zimbabwe (Podcast)

When Money Destroys NationsPhilip Haslam recently spoke to Chris Martenson about his book, When Money Destroys Nations, which was co-written with Russell Lamberti.

Haslam and Lamberti interviewed roughly 75 people and the book is a culmination of that documentation process that seeks to understand what happens to people on the ground as their government continues to print money.

Haslam shares personal stories of the people who were affected by the recession. “The economy descended into a bartering economy,” he says and explains that people no longer had access to water, petrol, milk, wood, grain and other necessities.

Haslam spoke to a man who was the CEO of a big company. One day his wife had to go away for a week and the man was unable to feed his children because his wife was the one plugged into the bartering network. He could no longer go to the shops to buy food and managed to source a large block of cheese which they ate for the next three days. He eventually found fuel and drove to the South African border to buy groceries.

Listen to the podcast:

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In their book Haslam and Lamberti use an example of a waterfall to explain how “hyperinflationary currency collapse” occurs. Read an extract from When Money Destroys Nations as shared by Peak Prosperity:

In South Africa, there’s a river called Suicide Gorge where you can jump off from the top of a series of waterfalls. You jump off each waterfall, and you can then go down to the next. But the problem is, once you jump off each waterfall, you can’t get back up again. So we used this analogy to describe the process of hyperinflation.

Typically, as a government prints money, you get levels of inflation. But that’s inflation based on historic money printing. Every year, when you get your salary increase, you base it on historic processes. You take the latest consumer price index and then build it into your wage increases. If you’re a business, you’ll build it into rent increases and price increases of your products. But it’s all based on historic inflation.

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Rich Dad, Poor Dad Robert Kiyosaki’s “Most Important” Interview with Philip Haslam and Russell Lamberti (Podcast)

When Money Destroys NationsPhilip Haslam and Russell Lamberti, authors of When Money Destroys Nations, were featured on Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Radio Show to speak about their book and the currency collapse in Zimbabwe in 2008.

In the podcast, Kiyosaki speaks about different types of economic crashes. He says that of all the crashes a currency collapse – “when cash goes to trash” – is the most severe. For this reason, Kiyosaki says this might be the most important radio conversation he has ever had.

Kiyosaki is an American investor, businessman, motivational speaker, and author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Listen to the podcast:

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Podcast: Philip Haslam Compares Hyperinflation to Going Down Suicide Gorge

When Money Destroys NationsPhilip Haslam, co-author of When Money Destroys Nations, was recently interviewed by Chris Martenson for Peak Prosperity about his book and the reasons for currency collapse.

In the podcast, Martenson and Haslam speak about the hyperinflation that occurred in Zimbabwe, and the lessons that should be learned from the collapse of the Zimbabwean dollar.

Haslam explains that money is not inherently valuable, but rather a concept that represents real wealth. As such, money-printing needs to be managed carefully so that currency can maintain stability in the real economy.

He compares the decisions that lead to hyperinflation to Suicide Gorge, a series of waterfalls in the Western Cape. Once you start going down, he says, it is impossible to get out.

Watch the video:

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Could SA Turn Out Like Zimbabwe? The Answer Lies in Hyperinflation – Philip Haslam

When Money Destroys NationsPhilip Haslam, one of the authors of When Money Destroys Nations, has written an article for Moneyweb discussing the question: “Could South Africa ever turn out like Zimbabwe?”

“It’s a question I get a lot,” Haslam says.

In the article, Haslam describes the circumstances that brought about Zimbabwe’s decision to print money, and the impact the resulting hyperinflation had on ordinary citizens.

Haslam compares the Zimbabwe of 2008 with South Africa right now. It is not a reassuring comparison.

Read the article:

Could South Africa ever turn out like Zimbabwe? It’s a question I get a lot. While the hot-potato issue of land redistribution may appeal to those studying Zimbabwe, another key real interest story revolves around its money printing programmes, and how the country descended into hyperinflation.

In order to understand hyperinflation, I travelled to Zimbabwe to interview people from all walks of life – their stories are gripping. And so peculiar that it makes for interesting reading.

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NoViolet Bulawayo to Participate in 38th Annual Writers Week at University of California, Riverside

We Need New NamesThe 38th annual Writers Week hosted by the University of California, Riverside is set to take place from 2 – 5 February and promises to end on a high note with award-winning Zimbabwean author, NoViolet Bulawayo.

The author of We Need New Names joins international wirters like Geoff Dyer, Alan Soldofsky, MariNaomi, Ching-In Chen, Claudia Rankine, Tod Goldberg, Jane Smiley and Mona Simpson on the programme.

Bulawayo is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her novel has received significant attention since it was published and was included on the shortlist of many respected awards and won a host of literary prizes, including the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature. She will be the guest of honour at a Los Angeles Review of Books Dinner the day after her lecture at Writers Week.

Admission to all UCR discussions are free. If you’re in the area, don’t miss this!

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