Cadavers for rent

In most of the world socialist ideas are practically passe, but in Africa they are still killing. In a few short years, Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe has gone from being the breadbasket of Africa to being on the verge of mass starvation. Only a handful of stalwarts warned of the dangers when in the 20th century large parts of the world descended into economic insanity and political barbarism. At the beginning of the 21st century, virtually the entire world knows of the dangers and Zimbabwe yet descends.

Read Samantha Power’s Atlantic article How to Kill a Country for the full tragedy. I will quote only one semi-amusing aspect that illustrates, once again, some of the absurd consequences of price controls.

[Mugabe] fixed the price of a loaf of bread at half the bakers’ break-even price, and levied astronomical fines on any baker who charged more. Bakers stopped making bread until somebody noticed that sesame bread, a “luxury item,” wasn’t price-controlled; by sprinkling a few sesame seeds on their standard loaves, bakers were able to get back in business. A pair of mortuary workers were arrested recently for running a profitable “rent-a-cadaver” business: because Mugabe had decreed that drivers in funeral processions would get privileged access to the trickle of fuel coming into the country, these entrepreneurs had begun leasing bodies to Zimbabwean drivers.


Comments for this post are closed