Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — The neoliberal model of capitalist development has failed along all lines. That’s not just my opinion, it’s the assessment of every economist who has their head on straight.
Leaving the solution to all economic problems to the market, without state intervention, was the worst error committed under capitalism, which has now come to a dead end and has plunged into a deep crisis that could mark its end.
Social movements in all capitalist countries are gaining strength in their struggle against that irrational economic system that insists on perpetuating its own mistake. In my view, it’s a model that is tied hand and feet, because only measures that might be considered left would be able to save what’s left of capitalism.
But the transnationals, which are ultimately the entities that govern in the capitalist countries, never allow such measures because they are unable to see beyond their short-term profits.
If we make some comparisons, we can see quite clearly the difference between the neoliberal model and other models such as the socialist one, where people come first – not the market.
I can begin by pointing to the example of China, where in 1949 industrial development was still very limited. It was a country with a still very backward rural economy.
Between 1959 and 1961, due to adverse weather conditions, severe famine occurred in that country.
However, during the last 30 years, China’s GDP has maintained an average annual growth of around 10 percent. Last year it saw an increase of 9.2 percent and is projecting a 7.5 percent rate for 2012, since it is now focusing on quality and not quantity.
Since 2008 China has been the second world economic power, and with the way things are going it will soon to be first – surpassing the United States. Currently it is the world’s largest exporter and second largest importer.
Another example is Vietnam, which was reunified in 1976 after having been left largely destroyed by a war of US aggression that killed several million of its citizens, most of them civilians.
Nonetheless, between 1990 and 1997 the GDP grew by eight percent annually and about seven percent each year between 2000 and 2002, making it the world’s fastest growing economy. Last year Vietnam’s GDP grew by 5.89 percent with the distribution of wealth benefiting the entire population.
Many other countries, some with socialist political-economic systems (as well as others that have simply have abandoned neoliberalism and now prioritize their people’s well-being) have managed to maintain acceptable levels of economic growth amid the global crisis.
These nations have neither high rates of unemployment nor are they experiencing recession, which together constitute the bane of the developed capitalist world today.
Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua, among others, are undertaking the construction of socialist systems and the result is within sight of all: they are maintaining their economic growth despite the global crisis, significantly decreasing unemployment and distributing wealth among all of the people through programs to improve the lives of their citizens.
Other countries that have adopted development models distinct from neoliberalism have taken quantum leaps in their economies and today their peoples do not have to suffer the hardships that plague the capitalist world.
Take the example of Argentina, which during Carlos Menem’s government — with its neo-liberal model and its “carnal relation” with the United States — plunged into the most frightful misery. Today that country is advancing and developing despite the capitalist world crisis.
I could point to other examples, such as Brazil, which despite having faced many obstacles has instituted programs that have allowed for substantial improvement in the economic situation of its people and is continuing to develop.
I have cited these examples so that people can understand why the Cuban economy is growing and developing, despite attempts to destroy it with a blockade (which can be described as criminal) and our nation not being immune to the multiple crises that afflict the world.
This is simply because the first and most important priority is the people, not the market.