Mugabe goes Smoot-Hawley

posted at 1:39 pm on March 9, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

With his nation facing an economic collapse of massive proportions, one might think that Robert Mugabe would seek out all of the foreign investment he could find. Instead, he has decided to go protectionist, and chase out what little foreign capital remains in Zimbabwe. Mugabe signed an indigenisation law that requires all businesses in Zimbabwe to have at least 51% ownership by black Zimbabweans:

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has approved legislation giving local owners the right to take a majority share of foreign companies.

Mr Mugabe’s formal approval of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill comes three weeks ahead of his country’s presidential elections.

Under the legislation, every company must have at least 51% of their shares owned by black Zimbabweans. If not, the government will block new investment, mergers or restructuring.

Zimbabwe already faces 150,000% inflation and unemployment that now may have reached 85%. Their economy has ceased any meaningful production, and domestic capital is non-existent. Now Mugabe wants to ensure that foreign capital also flees by forcing companies to sell their assets at a pittance for Zimbabwe’s worthless currency.

Mugabe has attempted to run the statist playbook with no success at all. He has tried wage and price freezes, rationing, and wealth-redistribution to respond to the economic collapse that he himself created — largely through wealth redistribution, rationing, and wage and price freezes. He has turned Zimbabwe from a net exporter of agricultural and manufactured goods to a pauper nation where most farm land now stands unused, thanks to its control by Mugabe cronies and Mugabe himself.

This latest indigenisation law mirrors what got Zimbabwe into trouble in the first place. After freeing the former Rhodesia from control by supposed neo-colonists, Mugabe forced white farmers off the land in order to ensure that black Zimbabweans could rise to power. Unfortunately, the move destroyed the agricultural industry, and successive similar moves through the rest of Zimbabwe did the same kind of damage.

This law is nothing more than a threadbare attempt to convince Zimbabweans that a little more isolation can cure all of the ills that Mugabe’s policies of massive isolation produced. He still wants to be seen as the champion of the poor. He may even succeed, even though Mugabe has turned into the greatest single source of Zimbabwean poverty in history. His opponent, Simba Makoni, needs to make that point clear in the upcoming elections later this month.


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Oh boy. Is it election time yet?

SoulGlo on March 9, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Truth is Mugabe is a racist and he always thinks in racial terms. It would be the same if we elected someone like Al Sharpton to the Presidency.

William Amos on March 9, 2008 at 1:43 PM

For all those that say America is rife with racism, remember this story.

Virus-X on March 9, 2008 at 1:45 PM

Please, you think Mugabe cares about “elections”?

Techie on March 9, 2008 at 2:06 PM

His opponent, Simba Makoni, needs to make that point clear in the upcoming elections later this month.

Makoni will be lucky if Mugabe’s thugs don’t have him killed, first.

irishspy on March 9, 2008 at 2:09 PM

What a psycho! I hope he’s gone soon, and not just from office.

CP on March 9, 2008 at 2:16 PM

Well, liberals, here’s your racist fat-cat control-freak murdering thug, go to it.

Oh, sorry, don’t know why I thought that liberals weren’t grotesque hypocrites for a second there.

Damned daylight savings time.

(Seriously, look at the history – Mugabe was a leftist hero, though these days they just don’t talk about him much anymore, what with all the death squads.)

Merovign on March 9, 2008 at 2:28 PM

This is like a lost chapter from Atlas Shrugged. He needs some Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley in his life.

FLcapitalistthug on March 9, 2008 at 2:33 PM

Africans destroying Africans are our fault… somehow.

No one who is black can be a racist because… it’s just is not the same.

michaelo on March 9, 2008 at 2:34 PM

Mugabe’s just in a contest with Kim Jong Il to see who can run their country into the ground first.

Frozen Tex on March 9, 2008 at 2:35 PM

What a psycho! I hope he’s gone soon, and not just from office.

CP on March 9, 2008 at 2:16 PM

I wouldn’t bank on it. Powerhouses like China and Russia have a vested interest in keeping tyrants like Mugabe and Omar al-Bashir in power so they can grab their resources.

Mugabe may be a tyrant but he is no madman: his racist policies which have destroyed and bankrupted the country get their lifeblood from the liberal guilt of the west. He is feeding off a narrative thrown to him by the liberal-left.

Pax americana on March 9, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Ed;

SMOOT HAWLEY
had to do with tariffs on imported goods.

What Mugabe is doing is nationalization and is pure socialism, not protectionism.

NET EFFECT: going further down the road to serfdom.

never fails.

reliapundit on March 9, 2008 at 2:46 PM

Who would think Africans are bigger racists than whites? They are willing to destroy themselves economically to establish racial purity. Soon they will be back to wearing skins and hunting with stone weapons. It’s their choice, let them reach their natural level.

BL@KBIRD on March 9, 2008 at 3:01 PM

Knowing Africa, I expect that Mugabe will win the upcoming elections in a landslide.

SIJ6141 on March 9, 2008 at 3:28 PM

I see Chavez headed down this same road. Either his own will take him out of service, or he will destroy Venezuela if left running loose.

Army Brat on March 9, 2008 at 3:38 PM


“He has tried wage and price freezes, rationing, and wealth-redistribution to respond to the economic collapse that he himself created — largely through wealth redistribution, rationing, and wage and price freezes.”

Doesn’t this sound exactly like what Hillary and Obama want to do to this country????

Seven Percent Solution on March 9, 2008 at 3:40 PM

Well, if anybody in his country besides Mugabe and his cronies can still get a meal, this should fix that problem!

morganfrost on March 9, 2008 at 3:58 PM

Clearly, it’s George Bush’s fault.

Story above the fold in the NY Slimes tomorrow.

drjohn on March 9, 2008 at 4:16 PM

“He has tried wage and price freezes, rationing, and wealth-redistribution to respond to the economic collapse that he himself created — largely through wealth redistribution, rationing, and wage and price freezes.”

Doesn’t this sound exactly like what Hillary and Obama want to do to this country????

Seven Percent Solution on March 9, 2008 at 3:40 PM

You are exactly right.

TheSitRep on March 9, 2008 at 4:21 PM

I was at the mall the other day and stopped by the foreign currency exchange booth. I was curious how much Canadian it would cost to buy a wheelbarrow of Zimbabwe’s currency. Not surprisingly, it’s on their prohibited list of currencies.

Canadian Infidel on March 9, 2008 at 4:23 PM

Zimbabwe/Mugabe just proves everything that I have been saying for years, about almost everything.. It is the perfect progressive microcosm.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Robert Reich, Paul Krugman and Jumma Carter have been giving the dumb bastard consultations all along.

TheSitRep on March 9, 2008 at 4:33 PM

Who would think Africans are bigger racists than whites?

The short answer is that virtually everyone alive today would and does think that.

aengus on March 9, 2008 at 4:35 PM

Mugabe’s “Indigenisation Act” calls for 51% ownership of any company in Zimbabwe (or, as the late Col. Jeff Cooper called it, “Mugabestan”) by black Zimbabweans.

Anyone want to bet that his definition of “black Zimbabweans” is restricted to himself and his gang of cronies/thugs, who have spent the last three decades doing a thorough job of turning their nation into a Hell on Earth for everyone else unfortunate enough to live there?

Not that this would make him look like any less of a saint to the likes of Jimmy Carter- who, it must be remembered, helped him take over the country in the first place, in 1980.

After all, being “progressive” means never having to say, “I screwed up big time”.

cheers

eon

eon on March 9, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Who would think Africans are bigger racists than whites?

Why would that come as a shock? Racism is an outgrowth of slavery. With the exception of Liberians, the overwhelming majority of blacks in Africa did not have slaves for ancestors. As a matter of fact, their ancestors were the ones selling their racial kindred into slavery.

Kafir on March 9, 2008 at 5:35 PM

The land, the current occupying rapists now call Zimbabwe, was among the richest, productive and promising in all of Africa, on a par with or better than South Africa. Under Rhodesian government more blacks prospered, had employment, and health care there more than in 95% of the rest of the continent. Because of the groundswell of anti-apartheid, anti-white liberalism in the west, the MSM, UN and yes, the US State Department, an unprecedented number of black &(white)people were sentenced to death by black guerrilla thugs. It also created a wave of brain drain defections from the country, total loss of agricultural productivity, abject poverty, famine, disease and chaos. This is the world the NYT, most MSM, the Clintons, Gores, Obamas want your children to grow up in. What will they do when there are no more productive people to blame for the world’s ills?

wepeople on March 9, 2008 at 5:58 PM

I suggest tourism as a means of securing foreign currency to Mugabe. A living museum, with two entrances. The one on the right says “Living Hell – The Ultimate Socialist Experiment”, the one on the left says “What White Man Has Wrought”.

The US will have to step in and feed the starving when Mugabe’s misery finally plays out. Like it always has. Bless those poor souls that suffer under this thug.

shaken on March 9, 2008 at 6:09 PM

wepeople on March 9, 2008 at 5:58 PM

Its a pity a compromise couldn’t be reached. Ian Smith was willing to settle for quotas, meaning a mixed black/white government which has worked reasonably well in Cyprus (mixed Cypriot/Turk govt.) and suffrage limited to college-educated citizens. But of course the West could not settle for anything less than hyper-Wilsonian democracy. We worship the god of Democracy, Mugabe and famine being the result.

aengus on March 9, 2008 at 6:19 PM

Went to Zim two years ago to photograph wild game.

Beautiful people, beautiful place. Stayed at five-star lodges dirt cheap.
One of the few benefits of visiting a country ruined by maniac. A gentleman
told us the story of how one of the nation’s largest and prosperous dairy farms had all its cows slaughtered for their meat by Mugabe thugs.

The Zoo Keeper on March 9, 2008 at 6:49 PM

What better way to buy support than with someone else’s money?

easy on March 9, 2008 at 7:27 PM

The US will have to step in and feed the starving when Mugabe’s misery finally plays out. Like it always has. Bless those poor souls that suffer under this thug.

shaken on March 9, 2008 at 6:09 PM

Show your children when you do it. They will have to feed S. Africa in twenty years, Kenya probably in ten.

JiangxiDad on March 9, 2008 at 7:48 PM

SMOOT HAWLEY had to do with tariffs on imported goods.

What Mugabe is doing is nationalization and is pure socialism, not protectionism.

NET EFFECT: going further down the road to serfdom.

never fails.

reliapundit on March 9, 2008 at 2:46 PM

Class? Anyone? Anyone?

Trainwreck on March 9, 2008 at 8:22 PM

Some countries (I won’t say largely muslim) insist on living in the 7th century. Conversely, Mugabe inherited a country that was using 20th century technology and was a net exporter of food, then systematically destroyed it resulting in the starvation of his own people. This has to rank historically as one of the world’s worst self-inflicted disasters.

perroviejo on March 9, 2008 at 10:13 PM

TIA…

liquidflorian on March 9, 2008 at 10:18 PM

…Mugabe forced white farmers off the land…

The ones his cronies and thugs didn’t hack to tiny pieces and/or set on fire, that is.

Just trying to keep the record straight here.

Let Africa sink.

Misha I on March 9, 2008 at 11:01 PM

I firmly believe that Mugybabes has late-stage Syphillis compounded by senile dementia – i.e. he’s stone cold nuts.

He does have these ‘moments of clarity’ though – I particularly liked it when he said that Britain should butt-out as they are run by ‘gay gangsters’.

That one hurt. Blair shut right up after that.

Ares on March 10, 2008 at 4:55 AM

… Mugabe has turned into the greatest single source of Zimbabwean poverty in history. His opponent, Simba Makoni, needs to make that point clear in the upcoming elections later this month.

Mr. Morrissey, do you have something aganst Makoni? After every election, Mugabe has his opponents executed for high treason. I suspect if they actually made a point against him, it would be a far more unpleasant execution than normal.

Tommygun on March 10, 2008 at 5:36 AM

Mugabe’s objectives are not to make Zimbabe successful our way, his objectives are to remake Zimbabe in some other image. First by removing all “outsiders” and “outside” influences.

I’m not saying this as an excuse for the destruction this is causing his nation. Just point out that I don’t believe he really cares all that much what I think about it.

It is kind of like the illegal imigration movements across our own southern border with “hispanics” trying to remove all “gringos” from what hispanics view as “outside influences”. (ie: They still believe California and Texas, etc, should belong to them.)

Lawrence on March 10, 2008 at 8:37 AM

What exactly is the difference between Mugabe’s economic management of Zimbabwe and Hillary’s plan for health care?

Tantor on March 10, 2008 at 4:01 PM

perroviejo: “Some countries (I won’t say largely muslim) insist on living in the 7th century. Conversely, Mugabe inherited a country that was using 20th century technology and was a net exporter of food, then systematically destroyed it resulting in the starvation of his own people. This has to rank historically as one of the world’s worst self-inflicted disasters.”

Yeah, maybe, but thank goodness they’re not being exploited by European colonialist masters, eh?

Tantor on March 10, 2008 at 4:03 PM