Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Stupid Stupid Stupid

White land grab policy has failed, Mugabe confesses
President Robert Mugabe confessed yesterday that millions of acres of prime land seized from Zimbabwe's white farmers are now lying empty and idle.
Apparently, old Land-grab Mugabe has just about run his country into the ground. His oh-so-enlightened policy of taking established and productive white farmers' lands at gunpoint, and giving it to inexperienced black non-farmers with no investment capital, has turned out -- lo and behold -- to be a really, really bad idea.
Mr Mugabe said this was the price that Zimbabwe would have to pay to redress the wrongs of the British colonial era, which left much of the best land in white hands. He claimed that the seizures would boost production and benefit millions of blacks.
And so how's that working out so far?
The Commercial Farmers' Union said that Zimbabwe grew only 850,000 tonnes of maize last year, not enough to meet domestic demand. In 1999, the last year before the land grab began, Zimbabwe grew 1.5 million tonnes. Then, Zimbabwe also earned about £263 million from tobacco exports. Last year, production had fallen by more than 70 per cent and earnings were down to £77 million.
Ah, the blistering clarity of hindsight.
The new farmers are unable to raise bank loans because their properties are formally owned by the government and they have no individual title deeds. Without loans, they cannot buy seed, fertiliser or farming equipment and the regime has broken a pledge to supply them with tools.
Well no shit, sherlock. I think it would be uniquely valuable for a broad slice of American socialist liberals to take a good long gander at the way Marxism has panned out in Zimbabwe. Collective farming under centralized government lien-holding and the "equitable distribution of wealth" without regard for ability or desire to actually USE THE LAND FOR FARMING. Everyone is equal now...equally between a rock and a hard place.

Another clarion example of how idealism has trumped common sense, to the detriment of the entire nation. Out of some nobly misguided and suitably vague desire to "redress the wrongs of the British colonial era, which left much of the best land in white hands" (what we here in the States would call reparations), Mugrabe sent out his thugs to basically dismantle a healthy economy. Action without thought, but hey, it "felt" like the right thing to do.

And as the liberals will tell you, it's all about how you feel -- facts and consequences be damned.