Buying a beer in Zimbabwe

Michael Clemens has a nice post in the CGD blog that brings home the enormity (and the senselessness) of the financial crisis underway in Zimbabwe:

What’s it like to live in a country whose economy has been shattered by its own leaders? Here’s how a beer purchase in Zimbabwe looks these days:

That’s $1 million Zimbabwe dollars, in four chunky packs of Z$500 notes–collectively, the price of a single beer purchased at a bar in Harare on November 24th. When the beer was quaffed, at the “official” (read: “fantasy”) exchange rate, that was about US$33. At the “black” market exchange rate, that was just under US$1. Today, just twelve days later, it’s only worth around twenty five US cents. Such an economic Twilight Zone forces anyone running a business with the smallest international component to choose between illegality and immediate closure.