Zimbabwe Switches to Linden Dollars


According to Wikipedia, “the economy of Zimbabwe collapsed from economic mismanagement, resulting in 94% unemployment and hyperinflation. Inflation has surpassed that of all other nations at over 80 sextillion(1021)% (although it is impossible to calculate an accurate value), with the next highest in Ethiopia at 41%. It currently has the lowest GDP real growth rate in an independent country and 3rd in total (behind Palestinian territories.)”

Today, with an awe inspiring announcement, virtual world startup Second Life has announced an unheard of deal to bail out the Zimbabwean economy with it’s virtual currency, Linden Dollars. This is the first time in history a virtual economy has come to the aid of a real one.

second life

Second Life creator Philip Rosedale made the stunning announcement via a virtual press conference after inviting the world media to join him for a surprise April unveiling. “Today, Second Life has truly accomplished something. When my company created this virtual world, we always envisioned it could be a force for good. Last month I met with Zimbabwean officials and we both agreed that to help stabilize their economy, we’d offer them a 0% interest loan of 1.3 trillion Linden Dollars (about 5 billion U.S.). We will also assist them in their transition to rebuild their economy on our currency, The Linden.” Behind him stood Second Life’s chief economic officer, Paul Gitner, who’s avatar was a giant eggplant wearing a ‘Go Zim!’ TShirt. “This is a time for real celebration. It’s a big day for the Linden dollar and a new direction for this beautiful country.”

In the past, there have been cases of real world/virtual world interaction. Caleb Herbert, a citizen of the United States living in Detroit, famously rented out his virtual condominium in Second Life, allowing him to pay his mortgage in real life for nearly twelve months. “Real estate is the same everywhere,” Caleb stated. “One day I looked around all the virtual goods I had wasted my paychecks on before getting laid off and I asked myself a hard question. Is this all there is to my Second Life? I thought there’d be more than my First one, but there just wasn’t. Turns out there was. Your Second Life and First life can coexist.”

But never has a virtual economy been used for actual transactions in real-life. Moses Bagoya, a Zimbabwean economist, offered this statement, “Over the past year, have seen the Zim go from 1,000 to 1,000,000 to 1,000,000,000,000 in a span months. This unfortunate inflation has set back our economic growth 40 years! It is with great pleasure we announce this deal with the people of Second Life.”

As part of the deal, Zimbabwe has agreed to offer a workforce of half a million persons to Second Life, to help manufacture virtual goods for the in-game merchants.

“It’s a win-win.” Philip Rosedale said eyes beaming with pride, “We’ve always said that Second Life is a game where there are no rules and there are no winners….but clearly today, we’re all winners.”

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About the author: Jonathan Gosier is a UI designer, software developer and writer. He currently lives in Kampala, Uganda where he incubates and invests in East African entrepreneurs as the CEO of Appfrica Labs. He's also a TED Fellow.
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