Saturday, May 17, 2008

Zimbabwe: It's time to intervene!

Castle Lager
At the current, low price of 160 million!
Uh, wait a moment...
(Image from Daily Speculations)

One of my regular readers who goes by the pseudonym "Conservative in Virginia" forwards this news of another atrocity in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

Ian Brakspear, writing for the Daily Speculations, tells of "A Lunch in Zimbabwe" (May 15, 2008):
I had lunch in Mutare yesterday, a town in Zimbabwe on the Mozambique border.

To give you a benchmark -- bread is currently over 110 million a loaf; on 22nd April it was 40 million per loaf.

The lunch bill: soup -- 50 million, oxtail -- 600 million, coffee -- 50 million, with no charge for the pink ice cream.

During the meal, one of my mates was drinking beer -- 750ml bottles of Castle Lager (fondly called bombers). He ordered a fifth one, was advised that the price, which when he ordered his first, second, third and fourth ones was 160 million per bottle, had gone up to 340 million per bottle.

That's right -- during lunch there was a price increase . . .

He ordered no more beer! Aren't you glad you are not a beer drinker here in Zimbabwe!
Definitely glad! And I wouldn't much like eating out for lunch there either.

Obviously, the time for intervention has come. We don't need to go in with weapons. Just mass on the borders with truckloads of good beer and call out "Free beer for all who overthrow Mugabe!" I have no doubt that even Mugabe's 'friends' will turn against him in exchange for a cold brew.

Historians say that the American Revolution was made in alehouses, and I believe that we ought to be trying to spread that revolutionary spirit again.

Speaking of revolutionary experiences, I drank an excellent Korean beer at dinner yesterday. It was a dark amber color, had some small amount of sediment, foamed nicely, and offered a full-bodied taste with slight bitterness.

The father of one of Sa-Rah's friends had brewed it in his home and kindly offered it to us. Even Sun-Ae, who usually can drink only one-quarter of a glass before turning red, enjoyed this one, drank an entire glass, and didn't even blush. I suppose that implies a somewhat low percentage of alcohol, but even if so, the flavor didn't suffer.

Which has gotten me to thinking. If neither the West nor the UN nor even the ambient African nations intend to do anything about getting rid of Mugabe to help the Zimbabwean people -- within whose breasts there surely lurks a thirst for freedom -- then it's time for ordinary people to start brewing beer independently and setting up our own underground networks to get beer to the borders of Zimbabwe, where we can sing out loud and long the battle hymn of a new republic:

Free beer for all the lurkers,
Free beer for all the lurkers,
Free beer for all the lurkers,
When the revolution comes!

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At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lessons of hyper-inflation are many and obvious, which doesn't mean that dictators have learned even one of them.

At 12:42 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Dictators believe in a divine-command economy, and they play the role of God but lack his attributes, obviously.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:13 AM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

After drinking 4 beers, I'm not sure I would realize that the cost had more than doubled when told the 5th one would cost more.

Um, not that I've ever had four beers at one sitting. At least not that I remember.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Central to your mental state would be the percent of alcohol in the beer. A 9% alcohol beer would give four beers the same effect as eight ordinary beers.

Thanks, by the way, for sending that link.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Due to good weather ol' JK very nearly missed this very good read and would therefore have missed out on furthering his understanding of just what it is that a PhD in the "History of Science" blesses one with. One sentence stands out clearly:

"Historians say that the American Revolution was made in alehouses..."

In celebration of this revelatory (stress "revel") illumination, I think I'll enjoy a brew. Thank God I am not in Zimbabwe.


At 6:09 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

But if you were there, then the sooner you order that brew, the better!

Speaking of inflation, will the biofuels industry drive the price of alcohol higher? Stay tuned...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your wondering brings forth a memory of JK's Dad. Dad was known on several occasions immediately following the first embargo to indignantly exclaim (usually while in close proximity to a hand warmed bottle of Jack Daniels) that "this problem could be solved in a year if only the Feds would switch to ethanol, their only beef with it would be the problems of taxing it like they tax this (meaning the bottle in proximity) or somebody drinking out of their fuel tank."

But back to your musing, the "biggie" beer producers own the farms that produce the grains that are then turned into my personal favorite. As yet only the cost of fuel seems to be driving the need to raise prices. Beer prices (at least for the biggies will likely remain stable).

On the other hand,the producers of spirits that are "dark" rum, whiskey, bourbon and such seem not to have had the incentives that "big brew" did for copious amounts of grain, and so no need to buy the farm. Those products will very likely see a run up.

Interestingly, domestic (US) producers of clear spirits, gin, vodka, some tequilas are rumored to be having discussions with biofuel producers for some methodology whereby raw ethanol could be obtained by those producers.

If you might be led to believe that JK seems inordinately interested in precisely your musing, you would be correct. JK is keeping close "tabs" (whether that is a pun, irony, or an inside joke is left to your interpretation). Info comes from diverse places such as Kiplingers as well as a certain Kansas farmer.

Of course there will have to be some legislative decision making but it has been rumored too that DC legislators have long had some "interest" in alcoholic beverages as well as taxes. Hillary Clinton on a recent campaign stop was pictured standing in immediate proximity to a slew of barrels prominently displaying the logo, "Makers Mark." Whether any barrel(s) found its' way onto the bus, after the speech is still an open question.

JK will keep you in the loop as requested.


At 6:35 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, JK. Staying in the loop will greatly assist my insider trading.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:05 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I accidentally found this particular post yesterday and today I revived this in my e-mail. I am from South Africa, so I get these kind of things things quite often.

I uploaded the image to my PhotoBucket. Just click here


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