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One Hundred Trillion Dollars

June 4, 2011
By Daniel McLaughlin , The Post-Journal

I have a keepsake from Zimbabwe, the basket case nation and poster child for what happens when government destroys an economy. A Zimbabwean one hundred trillion dollar bill, the highest denomination ever printed, serves as a reminder of the perversity of devaluation of a nation's currency. The bill is now worth nothing, other than as a conversation starter and a relic of a once proud country that, not long ago, was called the Breadbasket of Africa, an exporter of food to other countries. Zimbabwe's inflation rate was so high that people would get paid and hurry to the store before their money lost its value. The government approached the problem of needing armloads of money to buy groceries simply by adding more zeroes to the end of the denomination on the bill. Now they use other currencies for exchange. They created so much money out of thin air that their own currency became worthless.



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