By Fernando Ravsberg

A Cuban cooperative. Foto: Laydrene Pérez

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban lawmakers who have inspected non-agricultural cooperatives in dozens of different regions in Cuba, have claimed, in Parliament, that these “increase their contribution to economic and social sectors of the utmost importance; they contribute to improving its members’ quality of life and they manage to satisfy clients’ demands, especially in the construction sector.”

However, these same lawmakers warn that these cooperatives “could reduce human capital at state-owned companies, as there is a growing exodus of trained personnel who move to cooperatives.” This legislature’s message will work against the cooperatives with their great sin being the fact that they are an attractive job position and they satisfy their clients’ demands.

However, it isn’t the only sin: “a significant group of cooperatives perform their functions and makes deals outside of the region where they are based, which limits the public administration’s competent bodies’ control and inspection of them.”

That is to say those cooperative members leave their home communities to resolve economic and social problems and this causes problems with the bureaucracy’s control, which now must leave their air-conditioned offices in order to inspect them. It’s a hard knock life for a Cuban bureaucrat.

With these warnings coming from lawmakers, the legalization of cooperatives will move forward at the pace of a tied-down turtle. I suspect they will put every possible monkey wrench on them to try and make state-owned companies catch up to them, even though this will just be artificial progress and at the expense of lower productivity and efficiency.

15 thoughts on “Cuba Beware: Cooperatives Are Too Efficient

  • I don’t think the fact that “private enterprise” can out compete and force out of business coops is necessarily the best of outcomes. Maybe they can trim costs by buying materials cheap from foreign countries, or offshoring their production facilities, escaping paying a fair share of taxes, making demands of their labor that cut benefits and pay while accumulating greater wealth for the top execs and shareholders. You may think all that’s a plus, but I think it’s a race to the bottom where we now see the greatest disparities in income distribution and vast numbers of the working lower class living in poverty and despair. Your view from the top leaves too many in the gutter.

  • “The Mondragon Corporation is a corporation and federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain. It was founded in the town of Mondragoe in 1956 by graduates of a local technical college. Its first product was paraffin heaters. It is the tenth-largest Spanish company in terms of asset turnover and the leading business group in the Basque Country. At the end of 2014, it employed 74,117 people in 257 companies and organizations in four areas of activity: finance, industry, retail and knowledge.[3] By 2015, 74,335 people were employed.”

  • Who raised class society and “inter-capitalist war” Jon?

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