From a foreign shore…

Well, what do you know, I have power and internet communication. We’ve been here in Zimbabwe for five days now and it’s been quite fascinating. For those of you who don’t know this country was breadbasket of Africa, did OK for a while, and then hit political and hyperinflation turmoil, where a loaf of bread could cost ten million dollars today, and twenty million tomorrow.

While there has been some recovery (the US$ is now used, totally illegally as far as the US is concerned, but legalising the de facto situation) the damage to life’s savings, pensions, trust, and the infrastructure are substantial. But despite this, business goes on. People adapt around it. Maize grows everywhere – road margins, vacant lots. This is subsistance, as most of the food sold for dollars in the shops comes from abroad or South Africa. But it still functions. Some things actually are apparently improving. And oddly, entertainment is still popular, possibly even more so than historically. You can go and see the Hobbit. And the churches are full, and have a fairly major social role – the state not much.

I have to wonder about publishing and the book industry (let alone what this tells us about apocalypse) and whether the same will not happen there. It has suffered its own disaster, and the powers that be have used much the same tactics to stay in control. And the industry simply has adapted and goes on around this. And yes, as an author, some things are actually improving. Entertainment is still popular.
I wonder what our equivalent of the churches are?

7 thoughts on “From a foreign shore…

  1. the US$ is now used, totally illegally as far as the US is concerned, but legalising the de facto situation

    I don’t think the US has a problem with that. We like it when the rest of the world gives us useful stuff in return for dollars that don’t cost us anything to make, and then uses them outside the US rather than requiring us to provide something useful when they are repatriated.

    I’m really glad to hear things in Zimbabwe are improving, hope that keeps up.

    1. I could have it wrong, Ori. I had gathered that the required steps to use it had not happened. I really don’t know and it doesn’t matter. And yes I hope it improves more too, but it may take years to get to the same point again, and some things – forest cover for example, are hard to return.

  2. At least in parts of the US, the churches and voluntary organizations still pick up where government leaves off (or can’t be bothered). I know that in my region, when something bad happens (tornado, wildfire, flood, 50 car pile-up in a blizzard), the Red Cross and county disaster services (often staffed by volunteers) coordinate, and the churches, Scouts, and fraternal groups provide labor, organize goods deliveries (food, lumber and building materials), and work to sort out longer-term assistance if it is needed. At least in the places where I’ve lived, the sense is that you have to help your neighbor, because you will need a hand at some point. I strongly suspect that in a longer term collapse, the same networks would come into play.

    1. Yes, it seems you’re right, here anyway. You have to wonder how the blokes who said churches and scout groups etc were a lot of rubbish feel when their alternatives vanish and they need help. One hopes they join them afterward, but I think I’m being optimistic šŸ˜‰

  3. From inside the publishing armageddon, I suspect the internet plays the role of the churches, with moral support, education into alternatives such as ebooks for writers and readers, networks of quickly-becoming-friends, and organization for real world assistence in the form of kickstarters.

    1. Let’s see. True believers, check, the Internet definitely has those. Crusades and other religious wars? No shortage. Preaching to the choir? Do I need to ask? The question is whether this is just a simile, a metaphor, or a true identity? Maybe it’s the secret identity? Tune in tomorrow to see whether Clark Kent is going to take off his glasses?

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