In What Direction Is Cuba Moving?

By Pedro Campos

Dreaming in Havana. Photo: Zvonko Tatalovic
Dreaming in Havana. Photo: Zvonko Tatalovic

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban government has just put into effect two classic capitalist economic measures: Imposing taxes on public sector worker salaries and freezing teacher salaries. However, it hasn’t just taken these measures; it has also made cuts to the social security, health and education budgets.

If this isn’t neoliberalism… then somebody tell me what I should call it.

Why does this happens in a socialist, neo-capitalist state in true Stalin style but adapted to the interests and circumstances of Fidelism?

Because the Cuban state’s economy continues to feed off of poorly paid salaried workers, geared towards gaining profits for the all-possessive and extremely high spending government, resulting in what is essentially a capitalist style economy, the only difference being that it isn’t private but belongs to the government and is a monopoly.

In capitalist countries, when economies are based on salaried work, when the government’s bureaucratic mechanism demands resources and needs money, the means they have of getting them are precisely these: raising taxes, freezing or reducing public sector salaries and social sector expenditures.

While salaries exist, they can be frozen and reduced, just like in capitalism. When profits are distributed among workers, no government will be able to reduce salaries. If we had a society where free, private, partner, self-managing, co-operative workers were dominant, the one that democrat socialists in Cuba have been proposing, the government’s involvement would be minimal and it would need very little to keep running and it wouldn’t have the role of being an all-powerful government in a socialist state.

There are countries where the capitalist system prevails, but where many companies of all different kinds function in line with free, private or associated labor laws.  These companies also have to pay more tax, however, their own internal system doesn’t run on the same capitalist salaried foundations and therefore they aren’t forced to lay off workers or reduce salaries. They have other mechanisms to avoid laying off staff and implementing significant cuts in salaries.

Amistad. Foto: Zulquarnain
Friendship.  Photo: Zulquarnain

Many of these companies work together with the communities where they work in a variety of ways and the contributions they make, which are generally converted into indirect benefits for their own workers, don’t have to pay taxes because of their social nature. Thus their assets and profits aren’t taxed as heavily.

Generally speaking, as these are companies where the owner-workers determine their own incomes, the government can’t directly tax them or when they do, they resort to pension funds, aid money, credits, personal use cooperatives, cutting back on investments and other mechanisms they have to try and not significantly alter its workers’ quality of life.

This is one of Capitalism’s concrete advantages that we can appreciate today, which applies to free working companies and not companies who exploit salaried work, many of which are obligated to create corporate social responsibility initiatives in the area where they work. The bigger the investment these companies make in social commitment initiatives (this can be looking after the environment, contributing to social plans within the area such as education and leisure, helping the poor, donating to Churches, to NGOs and others) the less they end up paying in taxes.

In Cuba, this doesn’t happen as nearly everything belongs to the State, the paid public sector worker is forced to comply with government decisions and has no other choice, or defense mechanisms as labor unions answer to the party-state-government, as you already know. The few private businesses that exist, or cooperatives which are allowed, are generally taxed an awful lot which almost all of them are forced to commit tax evasion.

When capitalism is a monopoly State, bureaucracy has better conditions to impose its neoliberal tax and salary policies than it does under private capitalism, where there are many owners. This is why we’re dealing with the worst kind of capitalism, which in Cuba has allowed those who control all of the country’s finances to make and unmake at their whim and violate the International Labor Organization’s laws. They don’t pay their work force what is rightfully due and they impede foreign companies from directly contacting workers. They appropriate the majority share of what Cuban professionals earn who offer their professional services in other countries and maintain the payrolls inflated so that they can internationally proclaim that “there isn’t unemployment” in Cuba, precisely at the expense of driving down the wages they earn.

And this is one of the direct economic reasons why the Socialist State model has failed, which is only socialist in name: they don’t pay their workforce. By not paying their workforce, there is no way to guarantee that capital will constantly reproduce itself in an efficient manner, nor the workforce, as real salaries are constantly being reduced, prices of goods are increasing, production is declining and people end up fleeing to better paid sectors, or emigrating.

Foto: Yemnelys Vento Hernández
Photo: Yemnelys Vento Hernández

And not paying your workforce is the first great violation of our universal human rights, which impoverishes workers who are unable to support their families, their homes, or their property and have less and less money in their pockets to try and create a self-managing independent company that will free them from salaried work.

While workers are unable to create their own associated, cooperative or particular companies by themselves, or with government or private credit, there will never be a way to encourage development of a post-capitalist society, which is truly democratic, human and encompasses a wide range of social issues. Name it however you please.

In any developed or middle-income capitalist country, the possibilities of progressing and creating this kind of society are much greater than they are here in Cuba because of the State’s grip on capitalism and their opposition to developing independent, particular or associated work.

Solution: a change in government, since Fidel’s devotees have demonstrated their incapacity, and which will open the possibility to democratize politics and socialize the Cuban economy greatly.


36 thoughts on “In What Direction Is Cuba Moving?

  • September 28, 2016 at 1:15 pm
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    well, we agree, sort of. Certainty you are correct in that “the next generation is going to need better options”. And Cuban’s should have the freedom to determine what those options are.

  • September 28, 2016 at 9:23 am
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    Hi Cubaking,

    I just finished reading Marc Franc’s book and will read Carlyle’s later this fall. I’m in the phase of my learning about Cuba where the wisest course of action is to listen and read and not make suggestions.

    The first idea I have for Cuba is not really an idea for Cuba but for the U.S., which is to not waste its people’s attention. I’m looking out my faculty office window right now. I see four students walking across the courtyard. All four are glued to their smartphones. Back when mass media ruled, U.S. secondary and college students ranked pretty low in math, science and engineering. Social media are basically mass media, the difference being that the devices go everywhere the students go, available during every waking moment of their day. That means that when students come into my classroom, I have to work harder to ease their transition from mindless surfing to sustained attention and thought in my world, which is nothing more than the world of thoughtful academics and professionals. The most recent measures of comparative educational attainment suggest that things are getting worse in the U.S. as the effects of social media penetration really kick in.

    My initial simple idea for Cuba is that they think twice before allowing the attention if its citizens be gathered and sold. That would be extremely difficult as it would involve avoiding platforms like Facebook and Google (unless the latter really does allow one to opt out of having one’s metadata collected.) This is also what I would wish for my own culture, but it’s probably to late to expect any kind of meaningful change. For Canada, it’s like not letting commercial channels proliferate and making do with CBC radio and television. And for perhaps a consortium of countries, perhaps led by public and private universities, it might mean subsidizing alternative platforms while the squeeze is put on attention-model platforms.

    Our attention industry made possible incredibly powerful levels of demand management in the U.S. consumer economy. I know that Cuba is trying, perhaps fitfully but apparently sincerely, to grow this part of their economy. What I’m suggesting is that Cuba go ahead and do this, but without providing the retail sector with a key tool, real-time human attention, to ply its wares. I honestly don’t know the implications of what I’m recommending. My first thought is that it would stifle the emergence of large retail chains, like most first thoughts it’s likely wrong. I guess we could use another thread.

  • September 27, 2016 at 12:14 pm
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    I believe a new thread should be started on this subject. What would you do to improve the economy of Cuba. I have many ideas as do my Cuban – Canadian children.

  • September 24, 2016 at 7:54 am
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    Maybe the back and forth is pointless, but the next generation is going to need better options than Marxist planned economy and free market capitalism.

    Like a good medical doctor we need new ideas. Unfortunately, those of us who wish for new ideas about our economies don’t have the benefit of a living human body that we can study. We have to make do with occasional glimpses of some kind of constructed system. That’s what all of us seem to be doing in this thread. We all struggle.

    Free-market proponents likely would challenge my medical-doctor metaphor as it suggests an expert who makes diagnoses and prescribes remedies. With Hayek, they believe that the market itself does this work. I think that’s why Informed Consent says our back and forths are pointless.

    Free marketers don’t see what is happening in the private sector. They only see mismanagement and cronyism in socialist models because they only look at socialism and government (unless they’re shopping). Well, they’re right about some of the things they see in socialism but their insights break down when they compare what they find with their own free market system, the thing they never really look at because they feel they don’t have to.

    I don’t know what Cuba should do. Frankly I’m more interested in my own country, the U.S. But I believe that Cuba can take advantage of its educated population and give its upcoming generation the challenge of understanding the U.S. economy, including is financial system. Like the free-market proponents, we in the U.S. will not likely be able to see our own system fully or clearly. It will take a lot of outsiders with fresh eyes. I suspect that Cuban political leaders may not allow this to happen, perhaps out of fear that the next generation will opt for the U.S. model, but I’m not sure that would be the outcome. Stresses in our system have been building for quite some time. Trump’s campaign gains strength from the idea that the American Dream has dissipated. Closer to the topic of this discussion, a huge question is emerging in the present private financial system. Take fractional banking, for example. A bank can expand its loan portfolio (and, therefore, the money supply) by re-lending deposited money, but that growth assumes a healthy supply of borrowers out there waiting for loans. The low and negative interest traits in the world capitalist economy suggests that the supply of borrowers is not infinite. Banks want to lend but borrowers do not see profitable reasons to borrow. To me, what’s happened in the west is that we’ve commodified almost everything that my generation can imagine. We’ve made the growth of the money supply match the growth in commodified exchanges so now we have little inflation. That was probably my generation’s great financial achievement, but now we face entirely different problems.

    But what does the next generation do? With most of human action already commodified, if Cuba simply enters into world capitalism as a producer of commodities like sugar it will be crushed with poverty in the formal economy and forced into the informal narco economy. We have enough sugar. The best option I see for Cuba is to be smart (which it already is) and dedicate itself to seeing for itself the capitalist world more fully and completely. The Cuban young will be amazed at the opportunities they will see. But they will be opportunities Cubans see for themselves, not opportunities U.S. ‘experts’ suggest, clothed, as they presently are, in abstractions like free markets and freedom of expression. When we in the U.S. say these things, we don’t really know what we’re talking about.

  • September 23, 2016 at 5:39 pm
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    So George, I put two “bits of paper” in front of you. One is a crisp $100 US dollar bill and the other is 2,500 Cuban pesos.
    Which would you grab?

  • September 21, 2016 at 2:36 pm
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    George talks about what would make him happy – that is the difference between him and those of us who seek to see the people of Cuba happy – and FREE!

  • September 20, 2016 at 2:35 pm
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    I really wish you could contribute to the conversation beyond just copying and pasting. What do you mean; “the future of Cuba will be in the talks”. How so? Why do others have ever a say in the future of Cuba? What can Cuba do now to advance that future? How does a dictatorship effect that future? ….do you even believe they have ever a dictatorship?

  • September 20, 2016 at 1:38 pm
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    As described below, by Gordon Robinson aka Cubakingone, the current Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau is scheduled to visit Cuba. In my book, Cuba Lifting the Veil, I wrote in the chapter headed “Friends and Allies”:
    “So which country although not qualifying as an ally, is actually Cuba’s best economic friend? Perhaps since the revolution it has been Canada. When the Castro regime obtained power following the revolution, only two nations in the Americas maintained diplomatic status, they were Canada and Mexico. Cuba’s largest customer by far for tourists is Canada with well over 1,000,000 a year equivalent to 45% of the total. When the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau a Prime Minister of Canada and also father of the current one, visited Cuba he ingratiated with a gift of Canadian taxpayers money of what over 30 years ago was a substantial sum of $5 million and $5 million more as an interest free loan. When speaking publicly in Havana, Trudeau said in support of the regime and with no concern for the plight of Cubans about whom he knew little and obviously cared less:
    “Long live Cuba, long live President Fidel Castro.”
    Such admiration by one Jesuit for another is not to be unexpected and both in their political decisions followed the Jesuit axiom that the end justifies the means. Unusually Fidel’s final response as a friend was to travel to Canada to attend Trudeau’s funeral. Both shared that Jesuit link with Stalin who studied for the Jesuit priesthood for four years in a seminary prior to preferring to pursue power through politics.”
    I then wrote:
    “It will be interesting to observe whether as Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau’s son Justin will carry on the tradition of Canadian Liberal Prime Ministers currying favour with the Castro family, having already pleased them by announcing the withdrawal of Canadian air support for former allies in Syria where the Castro regimes long term friend President Bashar al-Asad struggles to retain power.”
    .
    In consequence I think it can be anticipated that Justin Trudeau, unlike Barack Obama will give significant time to visiting Fidel Castro in his home in Siboney and fawning upon the totalitarian dictator who was so admired by his father.
    When Pierre Trudeau made his visit, he was accompanied by his then wife Margaret (she who later had a romp with the Rolling Stones in New York) and Justin’s older brother then a baby who was cuddled by Fidel. The media can look forward to being given every opportunity to photograph the Castros led by Fidel and the Trudeaus playing happy families.

  • September 20, 2016 at 12:08 pm
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    The future of Cuba will be in the talks – Si !!!

    After the trip to Canada, the Premier is scheduled to fly to Cuba. This
    will be an historic trip as Cuba was the first country in Latin America
    to recognize and form diplomatic ties with China and this will be the
    first visit by a Chinese premier since the two countries established
    diplomatic ties 56 years ago. Premier Li is going to visit Cuba upon the
    invitation of President Raul Castro and the two countries are set to
    sign cooperation documents in areas such as the economy, technology, new
    energy, industry and environmental protection. The important thing to
    note is that China is Cuba’s second largest trading partner so far and
    there is tremendous room for growth in this aspect. Cuban Minister of
    Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca recently called Premier
    Li’s upcoming visit a “very important visit and a great step in
    bilateral relations,” adding that “Chinese investments in our nation are
    starting to blossom and we have a joint strategic vision for the
    future.”

  • September 19, 2016 at 3:06 pm
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    The people of Cuba Dani have had more than sufficient experience of having conditions forced upon them. I do not seek to have them adopt a particular political view, I support them being able to freely express their own views in an open society with recognition of human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of the media.
    Cuban incomes have been frozen by the Castro communist regime and as you will have very recently read in these pages, there are cuts to the educational budget in Cuba – so put that down to the “neoliberalism” of the Castros!
    I support the cry for freedom that comes from the people of Cuba – but you apparently oppose liberty for them – I guess that is the difference of political view between us.

  • September 19, 2016 at 11:35 am
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    This is where the future of will be formed :::

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    China

    Chinese premier leaves for UN conference, visits to Canada, Cuba

    Editor:
    Zhang Jianfeng

    ?Xinhua

    09-18-2016 14:35 BJT

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    Full coverage:

    Premier Li Attends UN Conferences, Visits Canada and Cuba

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    China’s Leaders

    BEIJING, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) — Chinese Premier
    Li Keqiang left here on Sunday afternoon for attending the 71st session
    of the United Nations General Assembly and official visits to Canada and
    Cuba, accompanied by his wife Cheng Hong.

    Li’s trip, from Sept. 18 to 28, was at the invitation of UN
    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,
    and President of the Cuban Council of State and Council of Ministers
    Raul Castro Ruz, respectively, according to the foreign ministry.

    Homepage

    >

    China

    Chinese premier leaves for UN conference, visits to Canada, Cuba

    Editor:
    Zhang Jianfeng

    ?Xinhua

    09-18-2016 14:35 BJT

    Share this:
    Share on twitter
    Share on facebook
    Share on sinaweibo
    Share on email

    Font size:

    Full coverage:

    Premier Li Attends UN Conferences, Visits Canada and Cuba

    Full coverage:

    China’s Leaders

    BEIJING, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) — Chinese Premier
    Li Keqiang left here on Sunday afternoon for attending the 71st session
    of the United Nations General Assembly and official visits to Canada and
    Cuba, accompanied by his wife Cheng Hong.

    Li’s trip, from Sept. 18 to 28, was at the invitation of UN
    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,
    and President of the Cuban Council of State and Council of Ministers
    Raul Castro Ruz, respectively, according to the foreign ministry.

  • September 19, 2016 at 8:38 am
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    Obviously two people can read the same article and arrive at different conclusions. Your “pure propaganda” represented by our modern capitalist economic system works, not perfectly perhaps, but it works. The mortgage lending example used in the article explains it perfect. It’s the leveraging of asset (mortgages) and other secularized instruments (one way of creating money) that brought about the huge middle class in the United States. Can it be abused? Yes, as we’ve seen. The alternative, however, does not work. Socialism however has done nothing but bring misery and poverty everywhere it’s been tried.

  • September 19, 2016 at 8:23 am
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    All this back and forth is pointless. In the end, you believe in a Marxist planned economy, I believe in free market capitalism.

    Governments are, by their very nature, inefficient. Capitalism, where production, distribution, and wealth is owned by individuals, with proper safeguards, is far superior. It’s also part and parcel of a free society. Inevitably, all Socialist governments (communist) devolve to an authoritarian model. Capitalism harnesses human nature and the power of the individual to succeed. ….History shows us this.

    I’ve mentioned before that I have a small company that make widgets (I’ll use the word widgets as I have no interest in broadcasting what my company actually manufactures). It’s not a large company, but I employ a handful of people. I left my previous employer, over a decade ago, (similar business) to start my own company, using loans and money I had saved up. This type of entrepreneurial risk is not something that would have happened under a socialist system. And yes, I did it for capital gain. That’s why those types of governments lack in innovation and inevitably fall behind.

  • September 19, 2016 at 7:37 am
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    The “trust” that you mentioned in your comment comes from people, not from banks. Monetary policy tends to be reactionary. When central banks stop listening to the market, they usually get in trouble. In Venezuela, as in many socialist regimes, price controls, currency restrictions, caps on exchange rates, etc. usually turn out badly. By the way, what is a first world lifestyle? Well-stocked supermarkets, independent media, toilet paper? If so, this is hardly a lack of consciousness. It simply basic human rights.

  • September 19, 2016 at 6:18 am
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    A fancy word… “inflation”… but what does it mean… it is a measure of trust in money… “When money is TOO easy or there is little actual production value associated with the money in circulation, inflation is the outcome.”… this is nonsense… money is TOO easy for the banks… they simply create it at will so long as we trust them… when we cease to trust them they’re in trouble… but the reality is that not only do we trust them, we hand over the decision of when to trust new money to them as well… so that they can decide if a country like Venezuela’s money is worth anything or not… money only has value so long as we have faith in it… it is an illusion… what is happening in Venezuela is a combination of economic warfare by the rich, who are saying we don’t trust Venezuela’s money because we can’t make any profit out of it, and disillusionment of the people because they are realising that it is impossible to produce enough for everyone to live a first world lifestyle but still cling to the belief that it should be possible… this comes from lack of consciousness… and it doesn’t help when those who live the first world lifestyle bombard them with propaganda telling them that it is possible if only they’d do as they are told…

  • September 19, 2016 at 4:56 am
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    The argument between fiat currencies and currencies backed by finite resources (paper being a fiat currency and gold and copper only existing in finite quantities) is an interesting one. I am not sure where I stand on this issue but am swayed to some extent by the following article: https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/dmytri-kleiner-against-the-ideology-of-gold/2011/12/10

    The key issue for me is that in our current system it is not governments that are creating money for the service of the people, but private capital for its own gains. Whether governments creating money (fiat currency) is sustainable is another matter, it largely depends on the trust the people have in their government.

  • September 19, 2016 at 4:49 am
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    Ohhh… kay, let’s start at the beginning then…

    The origins of money in the finance system have not been discussed much by economists, I don’t think Marx touched on it for example. Many economists, and lay people, made assumptions about where money in the economy comes from, though those who actually operated the system knew full well how it works. The following from the Positive Money website:

    “Every new loan that a bank makes creates new money. While this is often hard to believe at first, it’s common knowledge to the people that manage the banking system. In March 2014, the Bank of England release a report called “Money Creation in the Modern Economy”, where they stated that:

    “Commercial [i.e. high-street] banks create money, in the form of bank deposits, by making new loans. When a bank makes a loan, for example to someone taking out a mortgage to buy a house, it does not typically do so by giving them thousands of pounds worth of banknotes. Instead, it credits their bank account with a bank deposit of the size of the mortgage. At that moment, new money is created.””

    Positive Money which campaigns for reform of the banking system explains how banks create money in more detail here: http://positivemoney.org/how-money-works/how-banks-create-money/

    Of course, despite no less than the Bank of England stating it, this could be thought of as just theory or opinion. However Professor Richard Werner has recently conducted empirical studies of banks proving explicitly that what the Bank of England says is correct. His paper can be found here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521915001477

    Your use of the word “caricature” suggests that you have read the following World Economics Forum article (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/06/do-banks-really-create-money-out-of-thin-air/) which was published after the Bank of England made the startling admission and before Professor Werner’s study proved it once and for all. The article is pure propaganda and seeks to confuse the audience with irrelevancies. The most telling statement in it is the following: “The topic is particularly relevant today because the notion that banks can create money out of nothing has generated public anger. Fuelled by the recent banking crisis, organisations, individuals and public officials have used public media to call for an end to the current practice of money creation by banks. They have also called an overhaul of the current banking system.”

    Essentially their argument is that the transaction creates money which the banks charge for facilitating. Thus they are providing a service that is worth something. That service, is the creation of money which you must pay back with interest. Being charged to be exploited is of course a service that I’m sure you value very highly. Do you understand now?

  • September 19, 2016 at 1:26 am
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    They certainly do. It is called fractional reserve banking. Only about 4% of money banks deal in is linked to real resources. The rest is created out of thin air.

  • September 18, 2016 at 3:44 pm
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    …like I said before, 3rd grad understanding.

    Gold and copper, my friend, are also just bits of mettle.

  • September 18, 2016 at 12:56 pm
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    You oversimplification of “where money comes from” fails to identify the reason why banks and subsequently governments can not keep printing money ad infinitum. It’s called inflation. When money is TOO easy or there is little actual production value associated with the money in circulation, inflation is the outcome. Inflation unchecked results in…well…Venezuela.

  • September 18, 2016 at 11:41 am
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    Thanks Gordon, I left comment!

  • September 18, 2016 at 10:29 am
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    At a very basic level, you either do not understand economics, or you are intentionally misrepresenting yourself.

    Banks do not create money out of nothing, this is an inadequate caricature of the process of bank money creation. But I’m not going to spend my time teaching you finance.

  • September 18, 2016 at 10:11 am
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    It is you who needs to brush up on your knowledge. Pedro Campos is perfectly correct to describe “cuts to the social security, health and education budgets” and “freezing” the wages of public sector workers as the hallmarks of neoliberalism. That’s exactly what they are. However they are probably on a lower and less harsh level than you and your Conservative buddies would like to force on the Cuban people.

  • September 18, 2016 at 10:07 am
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    Taxes are a healthy milestone in transformation of Cuban economy. It is taxes that will let the state start to get comfortable without directly owning all means of production. Taxing low wage employees just a transitional stage. The disadvantage of jot having a wealthy class being such.

  • September 18, 2016 at 3:13 am
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    I appreciate it’s not well written, do you understand it?

  • September 18, 2016 at 3:12 am
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    Why, they’re both bits of paper

  • September 17, 2016 at 6:47 pm
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    I think it was a rhetorical question…….

  • September 17, 2016 at 6:01 pm
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    Thanks for the 3rd grade economics review.

  • September 17, 2016 at 2:35 pm
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    George you would be happy if your own country was to descend into the economic mess that is Cuba?
    The Castro regime does not want its money to be exposed to the international market where it would descend to equating with that of the Weimar Republic – put bluntly, chicken feed. The inflationary consequences would be a disaster. Just look at Venezuela, with the highest inflation rate in the world – a consequence of pursuing socialismo as preached by Fidel Castro to his minion Hugo Chavez and adopted by Nicholas Maduro.

  • September 17, 2016 at 2:08 pm
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    In his second paragraph Pedro Campos poses a question which merits response. Pedro asked:
    .
    “If this isn’t neoliberalism… then somebody tell me what I should call it.”
    .
    The answer Pedro is “socialismo”.
    Unfortunately it is obvious that Pedro writes with little if any experience of the capitalist world with a consequent and evident inability to describe it even partially. This reflects a huge problem for most Cubans having been cut off from the outside world by lack of a free press and of information by the Castro regime. Consequently although making a valiant endeavour, Pedro is stuck trying to ramble through that which is beyond his knowledge and hence ability to analyse properly.

  • September 17, 2016 at 1:50 pm
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    If someone were to be kind enough to give me a hundred thousand American dollars, or British pounds, or European euros, I could buy things with them. If they gave me a hundred thousand Cuban pesos … what could I buy with them? The answer to this question is also the answer to why they are deemed worthless outside of Cuba — it’s not an act of war, it’s an act of common sense.

  • September 17, 2016 at 1:23 pm
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    The first use of communications technology should be so called smart grids for energy distribution which are already being trialled in some countries. With global war from global warming only fifty years away this is the priority. Smart grids for food distribution will follow. The world produces enough to feed ten billion people. Much of this is used for fuel. 1.3 billion tonnes is wasted every year, simply not used. Despite this about one in nine people on the planet do not have enough food to live a healthy life.

  • September 17, 2016 at 12:18 pm
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    Cuba and it’s people will only start to make strides towards prosperity when Mr Castro wakes up to the reality that he and his cohorts are well passed their sell by dates! Please Mr Castro step aside and let the people decide for themselves which direction they wish to take! Free elections sooner rather than later please!

  • September 17, 2016 at 11:07 am
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    I would be happy to see corporations mandatorily run as co-operatives by law in my own country. However, I remain unconvinced that this is the only or best option. We have to experiment. In this sense I am broadly in agreement with Pedro Campos. Where his analysis of Cuba falls short is that it does not delve deep enough into the problem which is where does the money come from to pay the workers in the first place. Pedro assumes it comes from production. This is not how capitalism works. There is more money in the world than actual material production, much more. Where does it come from? As the Bank of England has recently admitted on its own informative website, the banks simply create it out of nothing. When someone applies for a loan, the banks simply type the digits of the loan into the person’s account and hey presto it is created, no money is transferred, it is simply made up then and there. Then the banks charge interest on this loan which was created out of nothing. In this way the economy proceeds towards greater and greater inequality. The banks have the right to print money for free. So long as imperialism maintains its hold on resources the banks can hoover up this capital for themselves. Cuba, and the Soviet Union before them, also printed their own money out of nothing. The difference was, as an act of war, the imperialists refused to recognise the worth of this money. The Soviet Union had ample resources and was able to continue regardless, Cuba with much fewer resources struggles. Put simply the question is why is it that when U.S. banks print money they can buy whatever they please with it, whereas when the Cuban bank prints money it is deemed worthless outside of Cuba? This fundamental facet of capitalist-imperialism is ignored by Pedro. Does he think that if the only companies allowed in Cuba were co-operatives, imperialism would suddenly start valuing the money that the Cuban central bank prints?

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