By David L. Brown
Under Robert Mugabe’s thuggish rule, Zimbabwe — the Central African nation once known for its strong economy, vibrant agriculture, and relatively high standard of living — has become a poster child for Third World collapse. Now, the once thriving nation is nearing total breakdown says a report in The Sunday Telegraph today. According to the newspaper’s web site:
The economy of Zimbabwe is facing total collapse within four months, leaving the country facing a slide into Congo-style anarchy, The Sunday Telegraph has been told.
Western officials fear the business, farming and financial sectors may be crippled by Christmas, triggering a collapse of government control that could leave the country prey to warlords and ignite long-suppressed tribal tensions.
The stark warning of the scale of the crisis comes despite the welcome given to Mr Mugabe by fellow African leaders at a summit in neighboring Zambia last week, where critics had hoped he might be pressurized into changing his policies.
It also follows reports that Britain’s military is reviewing contingency plans to evacuate more than 20,000 Britons, were any widespread state of emergency to occur.
Speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the subject, one Western official said: “It is hard to be definitive, but probably within months, by the end of the year, we will see the formal economy cease to work.”
Thus another Third World nation is teetering on the brink of anarchy, civil war, and famine. This provides a grim reminder of the direction in which much of the world is headed as population growth, particularly in poor or “developing” places, outstrips food and other resources. As in Zimbabwe, there are various factors involved including mismanagement by leaders who typically are self-appointed dictators who make it SOP to divert large portions of their national GDP into their own private Swiss bank accounts while living the high life on the backs of their starving people.
At the root of the problem, however, is the pressure of growing populations as they crash into the brick wall of fixed resources. Places such as Zimbabwe have long been unable to feed their people without the help of imported food and foreign aid from the West. In this case a major factor has been the confiscation of modern and efficient White-owned farms that once made Zimbabwe (and its former incarnation as Rhodesia) a model of success. As that agricultural base was destroyed, the nation sank steadily toward its present situation on the brink of complete disaster.
Unfortunately, the world’s population has soared well beyond the ability of the Earth to support those teeming numbers in any sustainable way. As a result, land is being abused and mismanaged, leading to desertification and erosion. Now as we enter the long heralded era of declining oil supplies, America, Europe and other leading agricultural producers have decided to turn farm crops into ethanol to replace gasoline.
Where that leaves places such as Zimbabwe and other failing nations is between the proverbial rock and hard place. In the past, we have often heard Third World places referred to as “developing” nations. Today that terminology has become Orwellian language to cover the fact that many of these unfortunate places are sinking backwards rather than moving forward. It would be more accurate to create a new category, let’s call it the Fourth World, to include places such as the formerly wealthy Zimbabwe which are failing or failed. This category is growing and will continue to grow as famine and overpopulation drag more “nations” into the pit of anarchy.
The grim scenario shaping up in Zimbabwe was further described in the Telegraph report by reported Stephen Began:
Poverty [is] now endemic, [the anonymous Western official] said, with 80 per cent of people living “below any definition of the poverty line.”
The fear among Western officials is that as Zimbabwe sinks deeper into crisis, the task of rebuilding, if or when Mugabe does go, is being made ever more difficult.
The infrastructure is breaking down after years of no investment, with both Bulawayo and parts of the capital, Harare, virtually without water supplies.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority generates barely a fifth of the country’s needs and neighboring countries’ generating companies are now refusing to sell to Zimbabwe except for cash.
John Robertson, a Harare-based independent economist, said the prediction that the formal economy would cease to function within four months might even be optimistic.
“We could be a matter of a month or two away from that kind of collapse, and some would tell you that it’s happened already,” he said. “They can’t pay the wages that would be necessary for people to carry on working, because the price at which they’re allowed to sell goods is way below the production costs.”
As the collapsing nation descends into a new era of poverty and anarchy, an unhappy effect is the flight of individuals. Already two million Zimbabweans have departed, most of them to South Africa, and at least as many more are preparing to leave according to The Telegraph. This reflects a worldwide phenomenon that can be seen even in a Europe that is being overrun by political, economic, and climate refugees. It is equally a problem here in America where our Southern neighbor is the source of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants as their homeland sinks toward failed nation status and anarchy. Lord help us when Mexico reaches a state of total collapse such as is now engulfing Zimbabwe. It is probably inevitable that this will occur, perhaps soon.
According to U.N. population estimates the number of people in the world will continue to rise for at least several decades, perhaps to the range of 9 to 10 billion, and that most of the increase will take place in poor regions. I think that is unlikely because too many “nations” are failing, too many hungry mouths already exist, and too many refugees are already flooding into the West. At some point this building pressure is going to break like a tsunami, and I suspect sooner rather than later.
For how long can the rich nations tolerate floods of uneducated Fourth World masses fleeing poverty and famine as we fortunate Westerners continue to turn food into fake gasoline? According to common sense and simple back-of-the-envelope mathematics, those conflicting trends will soon result in a backlash that will shake civilization to its core.
Keep an eye on Zimbabwe and you may catch a glimpse of the future of the world. It is not a pretty sight.