If you want to visit Zimbabwe from the UK, it’s now Air Zimbabwe or nothing. As this report in today’s Times notes, less than ten years ago it was possible to fly to Harare with any of 18 foreign airlines. Yesterday, the last carrier maintaining long-haul flights into and out of the country—British Airways—brought these to a close, citing economic reasons.
It’s an astonishing example of globalization in reverse: the dismantling of the kind of access we tend to assume is hard-wired into the fabric of our world. Zimbabwe, of course, is an extreme and infamous example of economic collapse. But events there are an important reminder that the global freedoms of movement, trade and information many of us enjoy are underpinned by nothing more reliable than profits—and that, if these vanish, so do all the privileges of purchase that go with them.