Garden workers try to survive on 45c an hour.

Self employed entrepreneurs and particularly internet marketers and copywriters working from home are two groups that are well positioned to ride out the financial storm that has swept both the Greek and Italian Prime Ministers out of office this week. It is an especially worrying time for Baby Boomers, many having seen their vision of a comfortable retirement vaporised by the recent economic difficulties.

The “Occupiers” think things are bad here in the West, they could be a lot worse.

A contact in Zimbabwe sent me this announcement on the new wages to be paid to domestic workers in Zimbabwe from 1 October 2011.

It is important to remember that these rates are in US$. Hyper inflation reached the astronomical level of 231 million % in July 2008 and continued to climb until the Zimbabwe Dollar was abandoned in April 2009  (source Wikipedia) and the US$ became the “official” currency. The British pound and South African Rand are also used. Yes the rates are correct, a yard or garden worker gets paid 45 cents an hour.

Considering that many imported goods and particularly fuel, cost the same or more than here in North America, it is easy to understand why the majority of the population live in poverty.

This is what happens when inflation gets totally out of control and a government deliberately destroys the most productive sector of an economy, the largest foreign currency earner and the biggest employer for political purposes.

“FIRST SCHEDULE (Sections 2, 3 and 4)



With effect from









Grade 1Yard/garden worker






Grade 2Cook/housekeeper (with or without grade 1 duties)






Grade 3Child-minder or disabled/aged minder (with or without grade 1 or grade 2 duties)






Grade 4Disabled/aged minder with Red Cross Certificate or similar qualification (with or without grade 1, 2 or grade 3 duties)






Considering that I got paid $95 a month when starting my first job in 1968 (then worth over US$100) and the Rhodesian dollar was still worth US$1.47 in 1979 despite a terrorist war, sanctions and no foreign aid, it shows just how far the country has deteriorated in the last 30 years.

Adding to the misery of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans is the scarcity of jobs. The commercial farming sector employed around 500 000 before Mugabe started his campaign to force all of the farmers off our lands. We employed 180 on our farm, probably supporting close to 400 family and extended family members. There is no work for those people, many have died and many of those that can are living a precarious life as illegal immigrants in neighbouring countries – mainly South Africa.

Could this happen in the West?

I hope not, but  the turmoil in Greece and Italy this week are signals that we are in for a dangerous period.

Let’s assume that our governments are not deliberately trying to destroy the most productive sectors of our economies, (many would argue this point) so that hyper inflation as seen in Zimbabwe is unlikely. That still allows the possibility of inflation levels high enough to have a dramatic effect on people still lucky to have steady jobs. It would cause serious misery and pain to people already unemployed or underemployed and struggling to survive.

I experienced hyper inflation in Zimbabwe, I know what it is like to carry a shoe box full of useless $500 bank notes to buy a few groceries. To find that computer programs and calculators cannot handle the strings of 000’s in the results of even simple accounting calculations. Then later when multi-billion dollar notes were produced like this.


Hyper Inflation

It is not pleasant.

It is more important than ever that we have a plan B, a way to generate additional income if the economic wheels do fall off.

How can we do this? Internet Marketing, Writing and Small Business Marketing are 3 that can be started  part-time.

Bob Bly an award-winning copywriter has some suggestions on his website Check them out here  CTC Publishing 

Don’t wait until inflation has reduced the minimum wage to the equivalent of 45c an hour, take action today.

Wishing you success in all your endeavours.

Peter Wright




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