Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cuba discovering Free Markets?

It's not a public link, but today the Wall Street Journal is reporting that "Cuban Economists Envision Role For Markets in Post-Castro Era":

Among the steps under discussion: decentralizing control, expanding the power of managers at privately owned agricultural cooperatives, extending private ownership to other sectors, boosting investment in infrastructure and increasing incentives to workers.

None of the plans would shuck communism for capitalism or open the island further to foreign investment -- which economists outside Cuba say are critical for the island to prosper.


"It's an historic moment," says Julia Sweig, a Cuba specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. "The Cuban regime feels confident enough to have voices it once purged be at the center of the economic debate on reform."
Admirers of Cuba however, quickly point to Cuba's incredible healthcare system, that's been just that, incredible. They blame the US for its trade embargo against Cuba for its immense poverty, but as PJ O'Rourke points out in Eat The Rich, though a resource-poor wasteland, Taiwan has thrived. Cut off until recently from China it's done better than ok. Brink Lindsey in Against the Dead Hand argues market reforms usually come about, not as welcome initiatives by government, but in painful surrender that their management has not worked. Indeed, the article goes on to state:
The proposals are prompted by the continuing economic privation in Cuba, where state salaries don't come close to covering living costs.

No comments: