Saturday, 1 March 2014

Starting Your Own Country

It used to be the that first things that an emergent nation did were:

  • Get rid of its Democratically Elected Government in a military coup - usually by a sergeant or corporal (or occasionally a lieutenant).
  • Get an airline - mostly run-down Aeroflot planes from the Soviet Union.
  • Get its own currency.

These acts were a sign that you were there - free from 'colonial oppression' (which had in the main provided a fair legal system, non corrupt governance and no 'cronyism') - and now able to run your country in an 'African' or 'Asian' style, with no one to stop the "Big Man" and his crony's from ransacking the country, before retiring to a comfortable exile in the South of France or occasionally Saudi Arabia,  with millions (or occasionally billions) in the bank.

However over recent decades there have been signs that the third world has become too mismanaged and incompetent, to keep supporting all these trappings of independence. In reverse order on the list of to-do's here's some of he failures:

Its perhaps most surprising to find that many countries no longer have a national currency - and perhaps the most surprising of all is that the leading example of this is Robert Mugabes 'Zimbabwe' - that flagship carrier of 'Revolutionary Independence' politics in Southern Africa, has been turned from the strongest economy after South Africa, into such a basket case, that it ceased to print money at all ... the 50 billion Zimbabwe dollar may have been its finest moment in 2009. Currently it accepts the US Dollar, UK Pound, South African Rand, the Pula from Botswana and now its added more currencies, accepting even the Chinese Yuan, Australian dollars, Indian rupees and Japanese yen as legal currencies.

50 Billion Zimbabwe Dollars - bought nothing as it was withdrawn.

There are actually quite a few 'countries' in a similar position, but nearly all are actually small former dependencies or countries that have never had a currency, rather than legitimate countries that had a currency .

Then there are the 'national airlines' - again many independence airlines have simply disappeared - something that happens to first world nations as well, the difference is that they have many private carriers to replace the Presidential vanity airlines that were run at a loss, and with many safety issues, almost from the start. Take Air Zimbabwe for example .... opening and closing at presidential whim, whenever it can get some foreign currency.

Here's a few more of the many:
  • Air Guinee Express | Country: Guinea | Only airline in Guinea was liquidated in 2008
  • Air Ivoire | Country: Cote d'Ivoire | Former national airline of Ivory Coast liquidated in 2011
  • Air Mauritanie | Country: Mauritania | Former national airline of Mauritania was liquidated in October 2007
  • Air Nepal International | Country: Nepal | Airline ceased operations in March 2006
  • Air Senegal International | Country: Senegal | Former flag carrier of Senegal suspended operations in April 2009

and the list is long ....

Then there are the 'Democratically Elected Government's' - for a brief period in the 1990's it looked as though many former dictatorships in Africa (and around the globe) were succumbing to 'people power' or economic necessity, and reverting to fully elected governments ... but the arrival of the Chinese and their 'no questions asked' aid money in Africa, and the collapse of the Arab Springs into Islamist terror, have seen the trend reversed (Egypt and Syria for example).

Still, if ever there was a sadder indication of the results of the post colonial experience in many countries, and proof of it being a disaster for the local populations of many countries (while 'happy days' for the venal military and politicos who have run the regimes), then its these three things.         


  1. Did you know, and not a lot of perople know this, that the largest denomination banknote ever officially issued for circulation was in 1946, by the Hungarian National Bank for the amount of 100 quintillion pengo. Just thought I would share that with you as the 50 Billion Zimbabwe Dollar notes look like finacial probity in comparison to that.

    1. Well that's certainly an 'interesting' fact Mr Caine, err sorry 'Dave'. Thanks for the comment ...

    2. 100 quintillion pengo!! Great stuff.

      I wonder how much one is worth today?

    3. Well eBay lists the 100 000 000 pengo 1946, as US $1.99, and the 100 000 000 000 000 000 PENGO NOTE 1946! WW2 HUNGARY FOR COLLECTION ! at an astounding US $2.35


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