Cuban Economists on the Cuban Economy

Cuban Economists on the Cuban Economy

Cuban Economists on the Cuban Economy

Cuban Economists on the Cuban Economy

Synopsis

"A unique and indispensable introduction into the economic thinking and analyses of thirteen Cuban economists committed to the successful continuation (albeit with needed modification) of the Cuban project in process since 1959."--Sinan Koont, author of Sustainable Urban Agriculture in Cuba

Most scholarship on the Cuban economy is provided by analysts looking from the outside in. Cuban Economists on the Cuban Economy is the first collection to bring together some of the island's leading economists to discuss the good and the bad about their own economy. These voices offer clear and straightforward analyses of how Cuban society provides for its needs, distributes surplus, and assesses its shortcomings.


Focusing on changes in policy during the Special Period, the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, this volume tracks various shifts, both major and minor, in the island's planned economy. Cuban leaders adapted to changing global relations while developing independent sources of income. These essays offer invaluable and sober assessments of Cuba's entrance into the international economy through such sectors as tourism, knowledge-based goods and services, and agriculture.


This volume was written, in part, to reveal the rigorous research conducted within the country and to clarify the different factors that Cubans emphasize when examining their place on the world economic stage. By providing unique insights into the island's fight against poverty, its aging population, and its trade unions, this book will be an invaluable resource for years to come.

A volume in the series Contemporary Cuba, edited by John M. Kirk

Excerpt

Al campbell

Since Cuba announced to the world on April 16, 1961, that it was embarking on the construction of a socialist state, the history of its economic policies has been one of constant change within continuity. Its evolving economic policies can be divided into a somewhat standard periodization as follows: 1961–65, the Great Debate; 1966–70, the Revolutionary Offensive; 1971–75, transition to a modified Soviet economy; 1976–85, modified Soviet economy; 1986–89, Rectification Process; and 1990–present, the Special Period (see chapters 1 and 2 for somewhat different variants on this periodization). Sometimes the transition from one period to the next involved fundamentally different reconceptualizations of what was actually central to socialism. in all cases, the policies of successive periods implemented significant changes in emphasis to achieve what was necessary at that moment to promote a socialist economy in Cuba. the continuity through all the changes has been exactly that commitment to building a socialist economy, even though discussions have never ceased in Cuba about exactly what that means and how best to do it.

This continuous commitment to creating a socialist society has guided Cuba’s choices in building its economy, and its importance must not be underestimated. the dominant (though not exclusive) premise taught to economists in capitalist countries is that there is only one “real economic problem”: to make the “pie” (the GDP) grow as fast as possible. Conservative-leaning economists consider the distribution of the social product to be automatically just, because they hold that the market returns to “factors of production” (which includes working people) what those factors contribute to production. More liberal economists recognize that the government could always step in and redistribute the market’s resources in accordance with any desired results; therefore, in . . .

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