02 April 2008

Another Blow to Socialism--and Economic Reporting

A Blow to Socialism
In yet another implicit admission that socialist "production" is an oxymoron, Raul Castro has announced that Cuba will begin letting private farmers and cooperatives farm unused land. According to the reports, about half of Cuba's arable land is unused or under-used, while the 35% that is farmed by private cooperatives accounts for 60% of the island's ag production.

Gee, wasn't the idea that Socialist governments could plan better than capitalist economies, so there would be more production of necessities, and less waste? Or maybe it was that as the material basis of society changed, ideology would change, and the need for incentives based on self-interest would disappear, as everyone produced according to their ability, and took only according to their need?

Another Blow to Economic Reporting
The article mentions that Cuba spends $1.6 billion annually on food imports (around $140 per person), obviously treating that as a symptom of agricultural under-production.

But the U.S. is the world's largest food exporter, and it imports over $60 billion of food each year, or over $200 per person.

That is, food imports aren't necessarily caused by lack of production. And in Cuba a lot of the ag production is tobacco and sugar--increasing that won't help directly feed Cubans, so it wouldn't reduce food imports. If Cuba starts producing more, it could produce food that could directly feed Cubans, food that could be exported (for cash, which can be used to import more food, indirectly feeding Cubans), or tobacco and sugar that can be exported (again, indirectly feeding Cubans by using the cash to buy imported food).

Most likely, if Cuban agricultural production increases, adding wealth to the Cuban economy, Cuban food imports will rise, rather than fall.

5 comments:

James K said...

"Gee, wasn't the idea that Socialist governments could plan better than capitalist economies, so there would be more production of necessities, and less waste? Or maybe it was that as the material basis of society changed, ideology would change, and the need for incentives based on self-interest would disappear, as everyone produced according to their ability, and took only according to their need?"

No, no , no that's the 20th century talking points. The 21st century talking points are that Socialsim produces less and that's a good thing because consumption is evil. What really matters is sustainability and nothing is more sustainable than pure, unspoilt and unproductive wilderness.

James Hanley said...

Well, I learned my socialism in the 20th century! My Marx and Marxism class was around 1995/96. I guess I'd better update myself.

James K said...

No trouble, us young'un should at least try to keep you old timers away from obsolescence while we can ;)

James Hanley said...

Hey! I'm only 42!

(And I thought New Zealanders were nice people.)

James K said...

We are, its just that I'm not ;)