Sunday, October 9, 2011

Economic Developement in Cuba

The American far left, such as Michel Moore and Oliver Stone, continue to view Cuba as a role model. The European left is even more admiring of Cuban socialism.

But don't be fooled by the selective propaganda. Cuba is extremely poor. Here is a picture my friend took when on vacation in Cuba a few weeks ago.


One explanation the left offers for Cuba’s poverty is sanctions by the United States. The sanctions imposed by the American capitalists certainly hurt, but there are plenty of other countries Cuba can trade with other than the U.S if it had something to sell.

Another excuse is that Cuba started poor. True, but so did other Latin American countries which developed while Cuba stagnated.

Lets compare Cuban growth with that of Chile and Costa Rica. Similar to Cuba, Chile was led by brutal dictators for long periods in recent history. Augusto Pinochet's right-wing dictatorship murdered at least 3.200 people. Fidel Castro similarly murdered 5.000-12.000 political opponents. Costa Rica instead was mostly a democracy.


Costa Rica and Cuba started at a similar level of development, while Chile was somewhat richer in 1950. Yet while Costa Rica and Chile developed, Cuba’s economy lagged behind. Only in recent years, when the tourism sector was opened to capitalism, has Cuba had some limited growth.

Socialism killed a half century of growth in Cuba.

One defense of Cuba is that it has high life expectancy. Sure, but really no higher than either Costa Rica or Chile. At any case, the Cuban dictatorship is almost certainly manipulating data regarding infant mortality and life expectancy, because those are their “storefront” figures used to manipulate gullible westerners. Communist dictatorships commonly put a lot of resources into boosting a few key statistics to use in propaganda.

For instance, the nice hospitals showcased to sympathetic westerners such as Michael Moore are for the Cuban elite and for foreigner. The health care ordinary Cubans have access to is of far lower quality.

Socialism has been a complete failure in terms of producing a high standard of living for the Cuban people. It is boring to have to kick in open doors like this. But young leftist in the west, such as those demonstrating against Capitalism in New York, desperately want to be fooled. Sadly it appears each generation of young people has to rediscover what a miserable failure socialism is.

12 comments:

  1. The joys of a shortage economy.

    When people want to talk up Cuba, they often point literacy data as well as life expectancy. Which, in a way, makes the economic performance even worse: all that wasted human capital.

    ReplyDelete
  2. One defense of Cuba is that it has high life expectancy. Sure, but really no higher than either Costa Rica or Chile. At any case, the Cuban dictatorship is almost certainly manipulating data regarding infant mortality and life expectancy, because those are their “storefront” figures used to manipulate gullible westerners.

    The premise of the statement "One defense of Cuba" is that the political system is the agent that is responsible for longevity and infant mortality results. If this was so then, here in the US, we would expect Cuban Americans and other subgroups of Hispanics to have higher levels of infant mortality and lesser levels of life expectancy than white Americans, but in fact the opposite is the case - Hispanic infant mortality, despite poverty levels which are closer to black Americans than white Americans, is less than that seen in white America and their life expectancy is also on par with white America.

    The defenders of Cuban communism are latching onto a phenomenon which is the product of either genetics or culture and which is also seen here in Capitalist America.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tangoman:

    Great point! Above a minimum level of income, life expectancy is more about genes and lifestyle than policy.

    The average Japanese man lives longer than the average American male billionaire. Is the left seriously going to claim that American billionaires have poor health care quality? Clearly something else, such as genes or lifestyle, is driving the results.

    Indeed Hispanics in the U.S have long life expectancy, despite low income and high mortality from homicide.

    “Cuban-born Hispanics had excess deaths from homicide, but fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease, cancer, infant mortality, cirrhosis, diabetes, unintentional injuries and all other causes than expected by the mortality rates for whites. “

    http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/6322/1/Hispanic-Americans-The-Facts.html

    But *in addition*, the Cubans seem to manipulate the data. We know this is their main argument. We know other communist government lies like crazy about similar statistics. Why are we taking Cuba at their word?

    During the cold war, leading liberal intellectuals like Paul Samuelson foolishly accepted what the Soviet Unions claimed about its economy at face value.

    The left so desperately want to belive socialism is good, that many make the same mistake with Cuba.

    For instance, is this account by a Cuban doctor true?

    “In a dramatic testimony, the doctor told Maria Elvira about PAMI (Medical Attention Program for Infants), a program designed by the Castro regime to make sure that Cuba's infant mortality rates are kept low, because it represents a propaganda tool for the government. When an ultrasound done during the pregnancy reveals that something could be wrong with the fetus, the woman is forced to have an abortion.”

    ReplyDelete
  4. Because Cubans are too poor to have cars, Cuba has the lowest number of traffic deaths in Latin America, below the U.S.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Tino,

    Income is quite mixed blessing as it effects life expectancy. Of course, richer countries can afford better health care. They can also support destructive lifestyles.

    For example, it appears that black people in Jamaica have a life expectancy 6 years greater than their U.S. counterparts. Clearly black incomes are much higher in the U.S. and health care expenditures are vastly greater. Inferior U.S. lifestyles more than offset the advantages of life in the USA.

    From "The Puzzle of Hypertension in African-Americans" (http://www.unl.edu/rhames/courses/110/af_blood/af_blood.html)

    "The family structure in Jamaica has evolved away from the patriarchy of Africa. Women head a significant number of households, which are generally small and often fragmented. Chronic unemployment has tended to marginalize men and lower their social position. Farming and other physically demanding occupations are common; residents’ diets include a blend of local foodstuffs and modern commercial products. Despite widespread poverty, life expectancy in Jamaica is six years longer than it is for blacks in the U.S. because of lower rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer"

    ReplyDelete
  6. TangoMan,

    Low Hispanic infant mortality is unfortunately a temporary characteristic of the first generation. See "Journal Issue: School Readiness: Closing Racial and Ethnic Gaps" (http://bit.ly/nym5Gk).

    The web page mentions something in the medical community known as the “Hispanic paradox”. Stated simply, the Hispanic paradox is the fact that first generation Mexican women (born in Mexico, not the US) have birth outcomes equal to (or slightly superior to) the white population, in spite of low incomes and low access to health care. Conversely second generation Mexican women (properly stated Mexican-American) have birth outcomes well below the white population, in spite of higher incomes and better access to health care. The medical community is too polite to be blunt about it, but the reasons are typically alluded to. They include (between the first and second generations) higher levels of alcohol, drug, and cigarette consumption, inferior diets, adverse lifestyles, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I want to just say. Great article!

    It will be useful when I meet people who think Cuba is a great success.

    Would it be possible if you could expand on the American boycott of Cuba? Many on the left, have a very hard time to admit that it doesn't affect Cuba particularly.

    ReplyDelete
  8. One other factor is that Cuba has been subjected to a 50 years terrorist war enabled and in some cases actively executed by the world's most powerful country.

    In Cuba pig processing is a big deal. So our government introduces swine flu. Cuba had to slaughter their entire pig population and bury them all. For 5 years not a single pig was present on the island. Then they re-introduced pigs. How would the US do if we had to slaughter all of our cows and have none for 5 years?

    Or tobacco. We spray their tobacco field with chemical agents. We introduce biological agents that infect their people. And then the innumerable bombings and violence. The fact that they can produce the literacy, the longevity, and can allow people to retire is astonishing.

    And sure, other countries can trade with them. If they are content to not allow their ships to dock in the US. Any ship that docks in Cuba can't dock in the US for 6 months. That's a big burden for other countries, so many of them skip it.

    Why such hostility to Cuba? Chomsky explains here. The real concern is that they will be successful. That's why a terrorist war was perpetuated against them. And that reason holds true today. When the Soviet Union fell the hostile behavior from the US was intensified. That goes to show that the Soviet threat is a mere pretext.

    So yeah, they are admired by the left, and with good reason. They could succumb to US pressure. And be like Haiti. But they resist. They aren't Costa Rica, but they aren't Haiti either.

    ReplyDelete
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    "Socialism killed a half century of growth in Cuba."

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    Judi Online TerpercayaSocialism has been a complete failure in terms of producing a high standard of living for the Cuban people. It is boring to have to kick in open doors like this. But young leftist in the west, such as those demonstrating against Capitalism in New York, desperately want to be fooled. Sadly it appears each generation of young people has to rediscover what a miserable failure socialism is.

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    Judi Online TerpercayaBut don't be fooled by the selective propaganda. Cuba is extremely poor. Here is a picture my friend took when on vacation in Cuba a few weeks ago.

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    บอลวันนี้Another excuse is that Cuba started poor. True, but so did other Latin American countries which developed while Cuba stagnated.

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