Africa has been plagued with rampant inflation and monetary instability over the past fifty years.
There have been numerous cases of currency crises and currency resets. Even hyperinflation, the most destructive economic phenomenon, has left its ruinous mark on several African societies.
Some may say this is because African central banks are incompetent in managing their currencies. Others may claim, like the famous and infamous former governor of the central bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, that inflation is “correlated” with droughts or some other planetary phenomenon. Finally, more incognizant commentators may assert monetary instability is a “normal” feature of developing economies.
Those and similar views are outright incorrect. Africa has been afflicted by monetary instability, rampant inflation, and even hyperinflation because of fiat money regimes imposed by African governments under 48 Comments. An arrangement that amounts to monetary colonialism.
The Cause of Inflation and Economic Instability
The Bretton Woods agreement of 1944 established that the US dollar was to remain backed by gold, the anchor of monetary trust and stability, at $35 per ounce, and all other currencies would, in turn, be linked to the dollar. The suspension of convertibility of dollars to gold was “supposed” to be temporary, as declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971.
However, due to the rise of Keynesian economics coupled with governments’ insatiable appetite to spend more than they take through taxes, the US government found itself issuing, printing if you prefer, more dollars than it had gold to back up. This imbalance led key countries to demand the redemption of some of their dollar holdings in gold. As pressure to redeem mounted, on August 15, 1971, President Nixon unilaterally ended the dollar’s (and thus the world’s currencies) last link to gold, the most stable form of money. He announced:
I have directed Secretary Connally to suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold or other reserve assets, except in amounts and conditions determined to be in the interest of monetary stability and the best interests of the United States.
That was the final step in a long and government-orchestrated transition to fully fiat money that started with World War I. In essence, the fateful Nixon shock is how we, humanity, ended up shackled by fiat money regimes. And the instability, inflation, and more frequent crises result from it.
For context, notice that in 1971, global affairs were shaped by the two superpowers of the time, the United States leading the “capitalist” bloc and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics leading the communist bloc. Thus, the decolonization of Africa was taking place against the backdrop of the Cold War. Since the “capitalist” countries were the colonialists, many African liberation movements turned to communist countries for support. Which also meant ideological alliance.
Like almost all statist regimes, the Soviet Union, being a socialist dictatorship, rejected sound money in favor of fiat. So, after the Nixon shock, fiat money became the new normal in the West. For African countries, this meant that whether one was in the “capitalist” camp or the Communist bloc, the only monetary option was fiat currency—an inconvertible and unbacked currency of unlimited supply.
That said, African countries, though politically independent, remained economically and monetarily dependent on the West and the East. This also means African countries remained philosophically (economic thought) dependent on the West or the East. So, African countries live trapped in imported statist and inflationist economic concepts fueled by fiat money.
When the USSR collapsed in 1991, the United States became the sole (fiat) superpower. However, by this time, academic, government, and media circles in the “capitalist” West already were heavily bent on Keynesian/statist economics. Keep in mind President Richard Nixon had declared in the early 1970s, “We are all Keynesians now.” From 1991 to the present, mainstream economics has become much more, not less, statist. Moreover, notice that statist economics and monetary inflation are eternally married. This is a crucial reason why statists of all persuasions prefer fiat money systems.
So, this means that 99 percent of Africans trained as economists in the West, in Africa, or elsewhere before and after 1991 are statist economists. Thus, proponents of fiat money and antagonist of sound money and monetary freedom. This further means that African leaders, politicians, and bureaucrats hold statist economic views. Hence, the insistence on state-led economic development despite this model’s evident failure to create developed and prosperous African societies over the past fifty years.
Such is the statist economic thought and inflationist monetary system context in which African countries gained “independence” and have lived. In other words, postcolonial African societies were conceived in monetary colonialism, (monetary/price) inflation, and consequently, economic instability.
Yet, despite the monetary chaos seen in Africa, rather than concede to the fact that fiat money systems are inherently inflationary and unreliable, like Mr. Gono, many central bankers, statist economists, and other proponents of fiat money will not hesitate to blame the hot weather, the cold weather, this or that for the ruinous consequences of today’s chaotic monetary system.
Africa under the Fiat Dollar Standard
How have African societies fared over the past fifty years under fiat money and monetary colonialism? It depends upon whom one asks. It has been fantastic and quite beneficial for African ruling elites and associates. However, it has been a nightmare of inflation, instability, and tyranny for the people.
Postcolonial Africa has been mired in monetary instability: currency crises, erratic devaluations, destabilizing fluctuations, high inflation, countless currency resets, and ruinous hyperinflations (e.g., Angola in the 1990s, Zimbabwe in the 2000s, among others). Even before high inflation became a global problem in 2021, Many African countries were already hyperinflationary. Yes, before the Russia-Ukraine war and the covid crisis. For example, five African countries are mentioned in Ernst and Young’s Hyperinflationary Economies (updated April 2022), including Sudan, Zimbabwe (yes, again), South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Angola. Zambia could be considered hyperinflationary too.
Under the current fiat system, African economies remained monetarily disconnected. There exists a lamentable state of affairs that severely restricts and disincentivizes trade among Africans. This is odd and contrary to precolonial Africa’s free and essentially borderless trade history.
One example, if a Nigerian merchant wishes to buy Ghanaian supplies, she would have to first convert her cedis into US dollars and then to nairas, a process that is burdensome and costly. There is no direct currency exchange even between next-door neighbors like Nigeria and Cameroon. Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Egypt and Sudan, etc.
The government-managed fiat money system has been a nightmare for African societies with ruinous economic, social, cultural, and moral consequences. However, the tragedy of fiat in Africa does not end there. Under the France-controlled CFA franc currency arrangement, 14 African countries remain trapped in monetary colonialism which differs from the rest of the continent, which is under not-so-direct monetary colonialism.
In “Fighting Monetary Colonialism With Open-Source Code,” human rights activist Alex Gladstein pointed out:
As 1960 approached, decolonization seemed inevitable. Europe was united in disengaging from Africa after decades of depredations and state-sponsored looting. But the French authorities realized they could have their cake, and eat it too, by ceding political control while retaining monetary control. This legacy still stands today in 14 countries that speak French and use a currency controlled by Paris: Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Republic of Congo and the Comoros. In 2021 the French still exert monetary control over more than 2.5 million square kilometers of African territory.
The Way Out and Forward for Africa
African leaders can choose to:
- Continue to allow the injustice, tyranny, and ruination caused by fiat money under monetary colonialism to exist;
- Launch a single gold-backed African currency;
- Scrap legal tender laws and other repressive monetary laws entirely, thereby reestablishing monetary freedom (as it was in precolonial African societies);
- Create a legal and regulatory framework for cryptocurrency and crypto solutions to coexist alongside government fiat.
Like many millions of self-loving Africans, I would argue that option 1 is unacceptable and intolerable. Monetary colonialism must come to an end.
Option 2 entails realizing a long-held pan-African vision. So, it is ideal. However, this would likely be an excruciatingly bureaucratic and thus long process given the political establishment’s fierce antagonism toward sound money. Besides the fact that this is a dream most Africans still dream of, further supporting this option is the fact that both artisanal and industrial gold production is increasing in Africa. However, this option could trigger NATO to unleash its terrifying planes to drop a whole lot of democracy across Africa.
Option 3 is to scrap legal tender laws and other repressive monetary laws entirely. Thereby, letting postcolonial Africans enjoy monetary freedom as precolonial Africans lived in monetary freedom (i.e., they freely traded with gold, silver, copper, salt, and cowry shells, among other commodities, as money).
This is the best, fastest, and most effective way out and past monetary colonialism. Given the predominance of statist economic thinking, this approach may seem radical, perhaps even outlandish, at least from the perspective of politicians and bureaucrats. Still, this is the fastest and most effective way out of monetary colonialism.
Option 4 is bureaucratic, costly, still repressive, and does not establish monetary freedom but may well be the compromising middle ground. African governments would pass legislation establishing a legal and regulatory framework with this approach. Therefore, allowing the use of cryptocurrency alongside fiat currencies.
This already is happening. The Central African Republic has enacted legislation that does just that and establishes Bitcoin as legal tender, to circulate along with the Central African CFA franc. Similarly, Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan has directed the central bank to prepare the country for cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency adoption in Africa has been quiet but fast and furious. This trend highlights that Africans, who are young, tech savvy, and yearning for change, and are looking for ways to escape the problems of fiat money. Africa is a frontrunner in crypto adoption, boasting some of the highest crypto adoption rates worldwide, despite government antagonism.
Should African leaders stick with option 1, meaning fiat money and therefore the continuation of monetary colonialism, nature will do justice. Historical evidence unequivocally shows that fiat money regimes always and inevitably fail. The fiat dollar standard will not stand the test of time. Natural law prevails over government law.
Economist Peter C. Earle clarified:
When Nixon closed the gold window, he promised that the suspension of dollar convertibility was temporary. I view the last fifty years as a monetary interregnum: a period during which a global experiment extending throughout not only world economies but the whole of commerce, academia, society, and culture is taking place. Gold will return to monetary preeminence not because it can or should but because it must. Nixon’s temporary suspension will be exactly that; not because he said so, but rather because at some point there will be no other road forward.
Over the past fifty years, Africa has been trapped in an impoverishing nightmare of rampant inflation, monetary chaos, and economic instability. These are pervasive problems because African societies live under monetary repression underpinned by local fiat money regimes, which are, in turn, derivatives of the fiat dollar standard.
President Nixon’s “temporary” suspension of the link between the dollar and gold will turn fifty-one years old coming August, and much economic, social, cultural, and moral damage has been done to societies worldwide during that time. Though for the West, the US in particular, this arrangement has been tremendously “beneficial’”(i.e., the exorbitant privilege).
As discussed in “Money: What Is It? More Importantly, Why Is It?,” money is the single most important good in the economy, without which modern society cannot exist. The implications of money reach every and all aspect of human life. Hence, the type of money a society uses must be as stable, as trustworthy, and as incorruptible as possible.
Enduring economic development and lasting broad-based prosperity necessarily require sound money. Thus, African leaders must embrace sound money and end monetary (and economic) repression if African societies are to become free, stable, peaceful, and prosperous. Such is Africa’s way out of monetary colonialism.
European Union Ends Mask Mandates for Flights and Airports
The European Union has dropped their mask mandates for passengers on flights and in airports, in a further global relaxing of pandemic restrictions.
In a statement, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) announced that from Monday, they would no longer be recommending mask mandates on airplanes or in airports in the 27 member countries.
The mask mandates were removed by the European Union agencies due to not only the “levels of vaccination” on the continent, but also the levels of “naturally acquired immunity” to COVID-19.
“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel,” said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky. “Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them,” he added, “and a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”
ECDC Director Andrea Ammon also cautioned that while the mask mandates were lifting, it was still “important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene,” wearing a facemask is “one of the best methods of reducing transmission.”
Airlines have also been recommended to be “pragmatic” when it comes to physical distancing limits set in airports, saying they should “avoid imposing distancing requirements if these will very likely lead to a bottleneck in another location in the passenger journey.”
The recommendations follows moves from many countries across the West and the European Union to reduce or completely remove their mask mandates or other requirements, such as passenger locator forms. However, the organisations noted that airlines should “keep their data collection systems on standby” in case a new “variant of concern” emerges.
Individual airlines can still choose to implement mask mandates if they wish, although most major airlines are not doing so, apart from in cases where their destination country still requires it.
The United Kingdom was one of the first countries to remove mask mandates on public transport, with major airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic announcing in early to mid March they would be dropping theirs.
The Biden administration seemed likely to continue to push for mask mandates up until this month, but the federal mandate was struck down at the end of April, after a judge ruled that the CDC had failed to justify the extension.
Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, continue to enforce mask mandates on flights and airports; the three countries had instituted some of the most stringent restrictions in the West during the pandemic.
Lawsuit against Orlando Gudes alleges sexual favors for political access, pedophilia and feeling immune from punishment
A new lawsuit against Orlando Gudes accuses him of willingness to accept sexual bribes, considering himself above the law and not living in the District he was elected to represent.
A lawsuit filed Monday in Hillsborough County Court levied startling accusations against a Tampa City Council Member already embroiled in a sexual harrasment investigation that corroborated allegations he abused a former legislative aide.
That aide and her teenage daughter are suing Orlando Gudes over defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit adds to the 18 instances Trenam Law found more than likely to have occurred in an independent investigation by accusing Gudes of wanting to exchange sexual favors for political access; engaging in “pedophiliac” behavior and feeling immune from punishment, while creating a hostile and abusive work environment.
The suit comes just under two months after Trenam reported the results of its independent investigation into accusations of harassment by Gudes to the City of Tampa. Gudes refused the call from multiple council members to step down. Instead, he relinquished his role as Council Chair with only a few weeks left in his term and remaining on the City Council.
According to the lawsuit, Gudes at least once refused to “discuss community issues with local activists and leaders residing in District 5 who were not providing sexual favors to him.” In one instance, Gudes’ former aide said he refused to meet with a local pastor, telling the aide “What do I need to meet with her for? I’m not f–king her. She’s not bl–ing me. So, I don’t have to listen to her.”
The suit outlines a “nightmare” scenario under which the aide was forced to work 24/7, even though Gudes did not. According to the suit, Gudes once told his aide he was hungover and forced her to explain an absence by saying his mother was sick.
The former aide is a Black woman and single mother of two. She worked with Gudes from May 2019 until August 2021. The suit said she took the job with Gudes despite a checkered history of misconduct and reprimands during his career as an officer with the Tampa Police Department. He promised her he had changed and wanted to be good for the residents of District 5 whom he was elected to represent. According to the suit, lies and gaslighting started there. Gudes, it said, resides in District 7, where he previously ran unsuccessfully for City Council but ran in District 5, against the city’s charter.
Gudes’ response to findings in the investigation claimed the harassment was a misunderstanding between old friends who had a new dynamic to their relationship. But the lawsuit challenges Gudes assessment. According to the suit, Gudes and his former aide had no relationship prior to her employment and knew each other through a mutual friend who recommended she seek the job. Once in the role, the aide was allegedly forced to engage in unethical work like communicating on behalf of others and using private email accounts to circumvent open records laws.
Some of the harassment and abuse came in the form of comments about the aide’s body, telling her she needed liposuction in one instance and in another pulling up next to her and leaning out of his car to sniff her groin area and say “smells like a man’s been in there today.”
“On separate occasions, Mr. Gudes told S.H. (the aide) that she needed liposuction around her midsection, wore attire that was too professional (and not sexually suggestive), did not wear her hair in a certain way that was sexually suggestive, and behaved like someone going through menopause,” attorney Ethan Loeb wrote in the suit. “Mr. Gudes’ inappropriate and outrageous behaviors made S.H. uncomfortable. Indeed, S.H. began to fear being alone with Mr. Gudes because she thought he was a pervert.”
Some of the alleged abuse came in the form of misogynistic and sexually explicit comments about others. Gudes is accused of homophobic comments regarding the mayor and other members of the police department; commenting on the size of a city finance worker’s rear end and sexual activity; and calling women who complained about him “overly sensitive.”
But the abuse wasn’t limited to the aide, according to the suit. The aide’s daughter, who was 13 at the time, was allegedly sexualized and body shamed by Gudes. According to the suit, he told her to stand up straighter because she had large breasts and they would sag otherwise. According to the suit, the girl became embarrassed and ashamed of her body, especially around Gude, whom she was required to be around due to her mother’s demanding work schedule. He also made comments about former President Barack Obama‘s then-minor daughter to a woman intern from Duke University, saying Sasha Obama had a “hot body” and he “bet she’s wild.”
According to the suit, the aide tried to resolve the issues a number of ways, including addressing Gudes directly and City Council Attorney Martin Shelby when Gudes refused to change his behavior. Shelby allegedly told the aide he didn’t want to “get involved with that” and accused another legislative aide of “trying to throw me under the bus.”
Shelby could not be reached for comment.
The aide also attempted to elevate the concerns and sought help from a mental health professional. She left her position as Gudes’ aide on the advice of a mental health professional, the suit said. In August of 2021 Gudes allegedly yelled at his former aide so fiercely “Councilman Luis Viera, former Councilman John Dingfelder, and various legislative aides sent text messages to S.H. asking if she was OK and stating they were praying for her to recover and someday come back to work.”
But she didn’t come back to work. Loeb said Gudes then went on a smear campaign, calling his former aide a liar and trying to frame her as a problem employee, despite giving her near-perfect scores on her employee evaluations.
“Mr. Gudes falsely published statements to the City, the press, and members of the community asserting that S.H.’s allegations of sexual harassment were false and unsupportable,” Loeb wrote. “In addition, Mr. Gudes falsely asserted in his statements published to the City, the press, and members of the community, that S.H. was incapable of performing her job duties and poorly performed as his legislative aide. Mr. Gudes’s statements were made with knowledge that they were false, and with the intent that such statements damage S.H.’s reputation, livelihood, and well-being.”
The lawsuit also accuses Gudes of roping in Tampa Bay Times Reporter Charlie Frago by giving him information prior to the investigation so the aide would be intimidated. It also accuses Gudes of looping Frago in again during the investigation. The suit claims Frago contacted the woman at least twice.
“Mr. Frago said that he was writing about the ‘Orlando Gudes matter,’ which was supposed to have been confidential, and stated that ‘a lot of people are asking why the investigation is taking so long and the delay seemed to be a political tactic by the Castor Administration.’ Mr. Frago also told S.H. that Mr. Gudes had already made a statement indicating that S.H. ‘s allegations were false, and noted that her full name was in the statement,” Loeb said in the suit. “This conversation occurred two hours before Mr. Gudes provided his response and statement to the City.”
Representatives from the Tampa Bay Times have not responded to a request for comment.
According to court documents, Loeb and Gudes’ aide are seeking more than $100,000 in damages.
Gudes declined to comment on the allegations.
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America First CD 9 candidate Scotty Moore gets boost from Mark Meadows
Moore’s in a crowded Republican field seeking a shot at Democratic Rep. Darren Soto.
Republican congressional candidate Scotty Moore picked up support from former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at an Orlando fundraiser for his bid to win in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.
Meadows, a former North Carolina congressman who served as Chief of Staff for the last 10 months of former President Donald Trump‘s administration, delivered an endorsement Monday for Moore and a push for the America First wing of the Republican Party in the Orlando-Kissimmee district in the Aug. 23 Primary Election.
Moore, of Orlando, is one of 11 Republicans seeking a shot at three-term Democratic Rep. Darren Soto of Kissimmee, in the redrawn CD 9. In the map approved in Special Session last month, but now tied up in courts, CD 9 covers Osceola County and a much larger portion of southern Orange County than before. It appears to have a moderate Democratic lean, based on results of the past couple of General Elections.
Moore is a Minnesota native who got his bachelor’s degree at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He is a consultant and former missionary who spent 21 years with with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ.) He spent six years in Brazil, and traveling throughout Latin America from there. He and his wife Ester Moore, a Brazilian native and naturalized American citizen, have two daughters. They settled in Orlando in 2007.
Moore is an avowed follower of Trump’s America First platform and says he believes the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
He connected with Meadows after getting involved with Meadows’ Conservative Partnership Institute.
“Ramping up from the 2016 election and beyond, and going into the 2020 election, I had a significant concern for where our country is heading, specifically regarding our kids, my kids, the future of our country,” Moore said. “I was convinced that we need strong people.”
He says the overriding issues going into the 2022 election are election integrity and parental rights.
“Election integrity, what happened in the 2020 election, bringing to surface something that many of us already knew. We need to investigate, talk about what happened in that election. I believe the election was stolen,” he said.
“The other thing is parental rights, what’s happening right now with our kids. I believe government overreach has been significant in so many different ways, very dangerous,” Moore said. “Part of the job of Congress is oversight. What good is it to have checks and balances if they’re not used?”
In campaign fundraising, Moore is leading the Republican field. In the first quarter of 2022, his campaign raised about $158,000, giving him about $192,000 cash on hand on April 1. Bill Olson, who was the Republican CD 9 nominee in 2020, raised about $147,000 in the first quarter, but entered April with only about $27,000 in the bank. Marlin Daniel Anthony entered April with about $29,000 in the bank; Jose Castillo, $17,000; and Sergio Ortiz, $7,000.
Soto raised about $219,000 in the first quarter and entered April with about $649,000 in the bank.
Moore said almost 80 people attended his fundraiser with Meadows in downtown Orlando Monday.
“There was a lot of energy, a lot of momentum in the room. Hearing from former White House Chief Mark Meadows was inspiring, to hear some of his personal stories, but also to hear his personal backing as citizen Mark Meadows, a personal endorsement, it’s very inspiring and encouraging, and it’s just a great momentum builder,” Moore said,
Meadows is one of the witnesses most sought by the Jan. 6 Commission investigating the 2021 insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol. The committee voted in December to hold him in contempt of Congress for not testifying after lawmakers revealed a series of frantic texts he received as the attack was underway.
Meadows has remained close with Trump, though they have not always endorsed the same candidates.
Moore is hoping a Meadows endorsement will lead to a Trump endorsement.
“They’re good friends and they listen and I sure would like to earn President Trump’s endorsement. And when that time is appropriate and right, and President Trump feels ready to do that, I’ll be willing to talk with them and connect with them. I sure hope so. But I’m not pressing him for that,” Moore said.
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