The wikipedia article on the Zimbabwean dollar reads like a Keystone Cops comedy.
A Reuters article reads “The country’s largest bank note, a 100 billion Zimbabwe dollar bill introduced on Monday, cannot buy a loaf of bread…”
On July 24th 2008, a “Second” 100 billion ZWD note could buy 3 eggs.
Of course since then the currency was devalued by 8 decimal places. And continuing inflation has moved things along another 6 decimal places. Their currency has been devalued a couple times.
A little quick math (that’s probably wrong, I’m no wiz at such things) tells me that 1 US Dollar could buy 32,145,960,000,000,000,000,000 (yes, 3.2 x 10^24) “First” Zimbabwean dollars from back in 1983.
(that number calculated from here. Here’s the ratios: First ZWD:Second ZWD = 500,000:650. Second ZWD:Third ZWD = 758,000,000,000:1,780. Third ZWD:current US dollar = 98,300,000,000:1)
Thanks for the pointer Trav and thanks for providing my RDA of absurdism Mr. Mugabe.
update 11-2-08: Hey would you look at that. Someone on Wikipedia made a chart for the most part agreeing with my 3.2×10^24 estimate. :-)
Take a look at this screenshot I took of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe I took today.