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THE economic crisis that has gripped Zimbabwe since the early 2000s has been amplified by its government’s election in 2015 to adopt the US dollar as a unit of account. The collapse in local productive capacity escalated rapidly, and is now threatening economic disaster.This is not Harare’s first existential economic crisis. In 2008, the country experienced unprecedented hyperinflation. Then, as now, the government faced a clear choice: embrace a stable currency, or face collapse.In early 2009, the government unilaterally expanded legal tender and allowed consumers to trade in US dollars, euros, and rand. One significant catch was that the government’s unit of account remained Zimbabwean dollars, which it used to pay employees and domestic creditors.Now the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, facing a shortage of US dollars, is trying to provide financial liquidity by printing bond notes with a derivative value based on US dollars.This is a clear misstep. Such a measure is likely to be patent...

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