Ignoring Incentives as Buying Power Continues to Drop

Pedro Campos

HAVANA TIMES — In the “Guidelines” document of the Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, the clearest reference to the need for work incentives can be found in Guideline 170 [appearing as Guideline 156 in the final document].

It reads: “Ensure that wage policies guarantee that everyone is remunerated according to their work; that this policy results in quality products and services; that it results in increased production and productivity; and that a real correspondence is established between wages and the ability to satisfy the basic needs of workers and their families.”

Even this evidences that the party’s main goal is not to incentivize work or to meet the needs of the workers; instead, it is to create “products and services” and “increase production and productivity.”

The ends and means are out of sync. The “Guidelines” rely principally on increased production through technocratic measures. Yet they forgot what’s most important: Without the incentive to work, there will be no increase in production.

The wages of workers — not to mention socialism as the path to the abolition of wage labor exploitation — is not the priority of the bureaucracy.

Now, four years into the “updating of the model,” they have again raised retail prices in the hard-currency stores. This action is a means of offsetting the state’s economic deficits that were created by its own policies.

Again, the inefficiency of the statist system falls on the shoulders of the people…onto the workers.

Unfortunately, the government-party is clinging onto its old neo-Stalinist dogmatic schemes of state-centered wage-labor production, the imposition of workplace discipline, centralized “planning,” state monopoly control over markets and the political system of the “proletarian dictatorship” (meaning absolute control by the state-government-party over the country’s political life).

Our “Leninists” still don’t understand Lenin. He pointed out that socialism was generalized cooperativism, and not even their Marxism allows them to understand that the revolution was a change in the relations of production, one in which cooperatives should be the new mode of production.

They fail to comprehend that wage labor was the mode of existence of capitalism and that workers should abolish it and struggle for the establishment of freely-associated labor [cooperatives] and a democratic republic of the workers.

Prices are rising and output is falling, they say, because of rising international food prices.

Yet they forget that Cuba was always producer-exporter of food and that all of their economic philosophy about the state as a centralizer of the property, life and farms of Cubans has caused the country to go from being a major exporter of food to a major importer of it.

So, where’s the problem? Is it with international food prices or with the government’s philosophy and economic policies?

The bureaucracy is continuing with its state-centric policies and forgetting about work incentives, banking that labor will forget about that.

Later, they won’t be able to pin the blame on imperialism or “counterrevolutionaries” seeking capitalist restoration, already hard to identify.

If they don’t know how to build socialism, let the workers do it.
Pedro Campos: [email protected]

9 thoughts on “Ignoring Incentives as Buying Power Continues to Drop

  • Folks – If the largest economic center on earth cannot figure out how to build a more diverse economy, why do you think Cuba can?
    Cuba imports 65 % of it’s economic activity, that means sales of two products sends all equity out of the country.
    CUBA has a great future selling smiles on toursits faces. You need to make sure your services are at or below the world market prices.
    Hookers at hotels is NOT a good thing. Women around the world decide where the next vacation will be.

  • Perhaps you misunderstand, Luis. By being in favor of a universal, single-payer healthcare system, whether it exists under monopoly capitalist state power, or socialist cooperative republican state power, we insist that all persons be guaranteed immediate and full healthcare at the point of need, regardless of financial status.

    Single-payer healthcare means that the central govt amasses and disburses all–or most–healthcare funds, and everyone in society both pays for and receives full, state-of-the-art care.

    But this does not mean that every single-payer system is the same, or that what we hope to establish in the US is a carbon copy of a UK, French or Canadian system. In our mind, single-payer means that the central government brings into being an insurance agency that would displace the for-profit insurance monopolies, and focus all–or most–of the people’s insurance dollars on healthcare, not on “administrative” costs (i.e., mainly investor profits).

    This does not mean that a government, civil service-type healthcare corps cannot or would not be part of the overall system. Such a corps is probably necessary to ensure that everyone is supplied with the backlog of care festering under the capitalist regime. But we want a system in which most healthcare enterprises are cooperatively owned and managed by working associates, so that bureaucracy and corruption can be eliminated, associates can feel empowered and free, and the people can receive the fullest benefit of modern medical and preventive care.

    This all needs to be part of an ongoing discussion among transformationary socialists, including of course those who are healthcare professionals. You may not be able to understand this, but we should discuss it in good faith, and offer the people a reasonable and workable form of healthcare under the future socialist cooperative government.

    We must try for such a system under the old regime, as part of obligatory minimum program struggle, knowing all the while that representing the maximum program of a socialist cooperative republic in the context of this struggle is the only way to raise the consciousness of the people to a transformationary level and guarantee eventual socialist state power.

  • Grady, I thought you were in favor of public, universal health care, like Canada, UK, France and Cuba. Because to guarantee good sanitary conditions and health care are two pillars of the most fundamental human right: the right to live.

  • It may sound like Sweden to you, because you are not a transformationary socialist, and you don’t understand the distinction between the maximum and minimum programs of the socialist movement.

    Sweden is a capitalist country with a capitalist government. A great deal has been accomplished there by progressive leaders of the three major classes–small bourgeoisie, intelligentsia, proletariat–but these accomplishments are in the realm of minimum program struggles, perspectives and possiblities. The minimum, or tactical program is that which can be, or might be accomplished under a capitalist regime and economic system.

    What can transpire under a socialist cooperative republic, by contrast, is a different matter. This is the maximum, or strategic program. It can only be undertaken when the old capitalist regime has been superseded by a socialist regime led by a transformationary political party or parties. This new republic is able to begin a transformationary process that will, first of all, address the mountain range of problems inherited form the rule of the capitalist parties and banks. (The first order of business is an effort to stop and reverse the ecologic damage of industrialization led by monopoly capitalist states and banks.)

    You, Moses, are similar to those sincere socialists who have been mis-oriented and misdirected by the bogus cult religion of Marxism, in that you are rather obsessed with dealing with the problems lying at hand, but don’t really have a grasp of socialist political theory. You, like they, think you do . . . but you don’t.

    You hear the word “socialist,” and you think “government owns everything.” But this is precisely what the monopoly capitalists and bankers want you to think. Your mind, like theirs, is frozen in time and place by a marination in tasty-but-poisonous ideology. But I understand, and there is little or no hope you turning you, or them, around.

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