Zimbabwe is located in Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia. Zimbabwe is a very poor developed country. “Five million Zimbabweans are facing starvation. Unemployment stands at 80 percent, and inflation is running over 2 percent” (Index of…).
Zimbabwe’s economic system is run by a command economy. Under a command economy the government makes the decisions and owns the resources. “The World Bank reports that the government consumed 19.3 percent of GDP in 200 down from the 24 percent reported in 2003. Businesses face considerable impediments in Zimbabwe. Corruption within this regulatory system is increasingly worrisome” (Index of…). The political system in Zimbabwe is totalitarian. Under this system, one person/one political party controls all decisions and opposing points of view are not allowed. Zimbabwe’s legal system practices a mixture of Roman-Dutch and English common law. This system is based on custom and precedent: interpretation of the law today is based on how the law was interpreted in the past. “The government ended its land reform program- a program that consisted of expropriating commercial farmland from white owners to give it to black peasants- at the end of 2002. Apart from being a massive violation of property rights, this program led to massive starvation since the peasants did not have the means to work for the land” (Index of…). The predominant religion in Zimbabwe is 25 percent Christian and 24 percent indigenous beliefs. Literacy rates are based on how many people 15 years and older can read and write in English. Out of a total population of 90.7 percent, 94.2 percent of males and 87.2 percent of females can read and write in English.
Totalitarian systems are not good for economic development in most cases. Society as a whole is of primary importance, which gives little incentive to innovate. Most poorly developed countries have command economies, which are not good for economic development. The government rather than the people make all the decisions, leading to very little incentive to innovate. Property rights in Zimbabwe are very poorly protected. The lack of enforcing these rights gives no incentive to innovate. Zimbabwe’s predominant religion is Christianity. Christianity displays the Protestant work ethic, being rich or wealthy is a sign that God likes you. This gives incentive to work hard and gain wealth in order to go to heaven. Christianity leads to economic development.
Zimbabwe should reform from a totalitarian system to either individualism or democracy. Individualism would give the individual the right to pursue their own-self interest. A democracy lets the people make the decisions either directly or indirectly. Both individualism and democracy systems lead to high incentives to innovate. Zimbabwe should also reform its economic system to a market economy. Market economies give more incentive to innovate because individuals reap the rewards from their ideas. Market economies have more economic development than any other economic system. Of 102 countries in 1975- 1995, market economies had the biggest increase in GDP per capita. In order to have economic development, Zimbabwe needs a strict legal system. It needs a legal system that enforces contracts, protects intellectual property, and has no limits on productivity. Since the common law does not enforce these issues in Zimbabwe, the civil law might be better for this country. Having a very detailed written code would force these rights.
Very little economic development will occur in Zimbabwe. This country is run by President Robert Mugabe, who has earned a reputation as Africa’s most brutal dictator. Mugabe is expected to keep power, driving the nation into further ruin, rather than step down. If free and fair elections were held, the Movement for Democratic change could win the majority of the votes. “Zimbabwe’s wages and price score is worse this year; however, its fiscal burden of government is better, and its government intervention is also better” (Index of…). With a new legal system and a strong leader, Zimbabwe could become economically developed over time.