Saturday, July 3, 2010

Anti-socialism in Cuba -- everyone benefits except the state

Cuba and North Korea, the last of the exemplars of Actually Existing Socialism, both seem to be wavering lately in their anti-market purity. Even North Korea, by all accounts among the most oppressive and nightmarish totalitarianisms ever seen, is apparently about to try some modest market reforms, out of sheer desperation.

Meanwhile, in Cuba, a prominent intellectual has been expelled by the Cuban Communist Party for writing an article criticizing "corruption" in Cuba, at levels both high and low. The supposition, of course, is that his removal is a result of giving offence to some high officials. But, while there's little doubt that corruption has always existed, the significance of the article has to do with those two levels. At a high level, Morales is referring to supposed preparations among the country's communist elite to grab the prize assets of the economy when and as its communist regime collapses, as happened in the USSR -- which might be both an indicator and a cause of such a collapse. And on the street level, Morales notices various "black market" signs that people are already moving to bypass state bureaucracies -- a tendency which he, still a dedicated communist, views with alarm:
... let us look at something very simple. When is there powdered milk in the black market (which has been rising in price to 70 pesos per kilogram)? When the powdered milk reaches the state-owned warehouses. There's no better example than that. And so it is with the products acquired in the black market by part of a majority of the population. In other words, at the expense of the state's resources, there is an illegal market from which everyone benefits, except the State.
And there you have it: in spite of its illegality, a phenomenon "from which everyone benefits, except the State" -- could there be any more apt definition of capitalism? And might Morales removal itself be a sign that even the current elite are preparing themselves for the inevitable?

No comments:

Post a Comment

You can use some HTML tags, such as <b>, <i>, <a>