economics financial

Competing currencies (Good news from Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe has been the poster child of central bank excess but this article from the Globe and Mail talks about how they have gotten out of their inflation hole and has given them a chance to get back to normal. They still have lots of trouble, but at least their currency isn’t hamstringing them any longer. How did they rebound from 89.7 sextillion percent inflation? They abandoned their currency. They allowed people to use whatever they wanted as money.

The effect has been dramatic. Folks use The Rand, the dollar, the pound, the euro, and the kwacha and things are functioning again. It has removed the Zimbabwean central bank from the equation and has forced the government to spend only what it has on hand. The government has abetted this by first announcing that the Zimbabwean currency was no longer valid and then allowing people to use whatever they want.

Backing a currency with gold or silver has a lot of logistical issues regardless of the wisdom of it. Competing currencies are a valid alternative to enforce discipline on central banks. If we can’t control them, we should at least have the ability to leave them when we want to.

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