I’m forced by my usual brutal honesty when it comes to my writings to admit straightaway that I know nothing about economics. The whole shebang seems to me nothing more than a giant crap shoot where the crappier things get the better off some are and goal posts are shifted according to whims of whoever it is that is truly in charge of the world we live in.
Nothing about the present global crisis relates in any way to the lessons I learned early in life about pennies saved or rewards for developing a good work ethic, so I tend to ignore the ups and downs that have so many ready to leap off buildings or raise their credit limits.
Half a century of paying so little attention to, even being annoyed by, the amount of time business news takes out of every newscast has paid off nicely … in a non-financial way, of course … in stress-saving oblivion, but I’m now is a situation that demands I wake up and smell the burning toast: the shit has hit the ceiling fans of Seychelles.
Last Friday night, President James Michel addressed the nation on the macro-economic reform program that would go into effect today. I didn’t watch the speech, being otherwise occupied being all in love and stuff, but did begin listening to the all the yack-yack that followed on Radio Bamboo … the Seychelles version of the grapevine.
Basically, with IMF insistence, all currency controls have been lifted and our artificially propped, but oh-so-pretty, rupee, is now to float and find its own level of worth.
So far, the rupee has slid from an official exchange rate of around 8 to the US$ to 13, and a stop at the bank this afternoon revealed that the amount has already changed more than 5 times today. Confusion is the order of the day and everyone has a panic-stricken look, albeit some only due to a rumored rise in the price of beer.
Actually, all prices will be rising, and rising fast. Where the leveling happens is anyone’s guess, but there’s no doubt that life in this already pricey country just took a giant leap toward how-much-did-you-say-that-potato-costs?
We all knew this was coming … it had to, given the reality of how the world works and the fact that this is a country, not a country club … but it does seem sooner would have been better than later for this major shake up, as recovery might have been much easier before the rest of the world went to hell in that hand basket now swirling (counter clockwise on this side of the Equator) down the flusher.
Even econ-morons like me were smart enough to do stock-up shopping on Friday and fill the car with fuel before the prices jumped, but hysteria is beginning to glow through the tan lines as “What happens next …?” becomes the mantra of the anxious.
Given that my new life is now getting underway, that ancient curse “May you live in interesting times” comes to mind.