Wednesday, 7 February 2018

You know your economy is in trouble when ......

you get paid in eggs!

A Wall Street Journal report on the situation in Venezuela tells us
One U.S. dollar now fetches around 236,000 bolivars on the street, around 80 times what it bought at the start of last year. Five years ago, that could buy a small apartment; now it barely covers an appetizer at lunch.

“The authorities have lost control, they can’t stop creating bolivars even if they wanted to,” said Omar Zambrano, a former economist for the Inter-American Development Bank. “This ends in two ways: Either we adopt the dollar or we go back to bartering.”

That’s what Marina Fernandez, a professor of architecture at a Caracas university, has done, finding out that some people will take, yes, the humble egg. When she didn’t have enough cash to pay for parking, she handed over two eggs. Her university department, short of cash, paid a computer programmer with a carton of eggs.

Ms. Fernandez said onions or bananas, for some reason, just won’t do. “If you’re going to receive food as payment, the people want it to at least be a protein,” she said. “The egg is perfect.”
Barter is really, really inefficient but sometimes its the best you can do. Hyperinflation means money is worthless so people go back to barter. Or they start to use a new medium of exchange. But eggs seem a bit too breakable to be a totally satisfactory replacement for money.

Such is the crazy, sad world of Venezuela today.

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