quinta-feira, agosto 02, 2007

Autocratas de todo o mundo: as leis que regem todas as coisas reduzirão as vossas a pó

One month after Mugabe commanded merchants nationwide to counter 10,000-percent-a-year hyperinflation by slashing prices by half and more, Zimbabwe's economy is at a halt.
Essentials like bread, sugar and cornmeal, staples of every Zimbabwean's diet, have vanished, seized by mobs of bargain-hunters who denuded stores like locusts in wheat fields. Meat is nonexistent. Gasoline is nearly unobtainable. Hospital patients are dying for lack of basic medical supplies. Power blackouts and water cutoffs are endemic.
Manufacturing has slowed to a crawl, because few businesses can produce goods for less than their government-imposed sale prices. Raw materials are drying up because suppliers are being forced to sell to factories at a loss. Businesses are laying off workers or reducing their hours.
Zimbabwe's economy has been shrinking since 2000, buffeted by political turmoil, capital flight and mismanagement. Never has it been in a more dire state than now, business executives say.
Zimbabwe's vast underclass, the majority of its 10 or 11 million people, is perhaps less affected by this latest economic shock, simply because it has long been unable to afford most food anyway. The rural poor survive on whatever they can grow.
Rather, it is the middle class, which had muddled through the last seven years of decline, that is likely to feel the brunt. Factory layoffs and slowdowns are bringing new poverty to the 15 percent or 20 percent of adult Zimbabweans who still have jobs. Pensioners, whose fixed incomes already have been gutted by hyperinflation, now find that no amount of money can purchase some staples.
Private doctors said in interviews that diseases of poverty, including tuberculosis and malnutrition, are starting to appear among their patients, including the minority whites who once comprised the wealthy class."
Mais sobre o convidado de honra da Cimeira UE-África pode ser lido aqui.

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