When an economy disintegrates, as Zimbabwe's has, the chaos reaches deep into ordinary transactions.
In the face of an already badly deteriorated situation, Zimbabwe's consumers faced higher oil prices with creative determination. With inflation in triple digits, high oil prices disbarred most who owned cars from using them. So people who had to travel turned to bicycles.
The demand for bicycles became so great, according to a November 22, 2005 Reuters report, that the prices rose to a level nearly 20 times what prices were in 2004. Bicycle price inflation was officially chronicled by the country's Central Statistical Office. It was listed at 1,838 percent.
Bicycle prices were so chaotic that they pushed up the annualized national inflation rate to 411 percent in October 2005. In September 2005, the annualized rate of inflation was 359.8 percent. The government has obviously been...