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Cuban Economists on the Cuban Economy

Edited by Al Campbell

Publication Year: 2013

Most scholarship on the Cuban economy looks at the island nation 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 thirteen voices--seldom published together in English--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 as 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.

Cuban Economists on the Cuban Economy was written, in part, to reveal the rigorous research conducted within the country and to clarify the different factors that Cubans emphasize in examining their place on the world economic stage. It also provides 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.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Tables

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pp. ix-x

List of Figures

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pp. xi-xii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

My greatest gratitude for their perseverance despite the always present difficulties in communication caused above all by the U.S. blockade of Cuba of course goes to the thirteen contributing authors. Anyone who has been involved in collaborative work between academics in Cuba and the United States knows of the difficulties and delays this causes ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xv-xviii

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Introduction: Finding a New Road (Again) to a Socialist Economy and Economic Well-Being in Cuba

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pp. 1-22

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: ...

Part I. The Macroeconomy

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1. Fifty Years of Revolution in the Cuban Economy: A Brief Overview

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pp. 25-61

The triumph of the Cuban Revolution initiated a profound process of social and economic development. Achieving this growth from the starting conditions in 1959 was, however, a particularly difficult and complex process. All three of the essential characteristics of underdevelopment were highly salient in the Cuban economy: ...

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2. The Evolution of Cuba’s Macroeconomy: From the Triumph of the Revolution through the Special Period

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pp. 62-88

A historical perspective is necessary for understanding the nature of the Cuban macroeconomy at present, as well as the scope of the adjustments and transformations of the last few years and certain important features of its recent evolution. The system of economic and political foreign dependence that prevailed in the first half of the last century ...

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3. Cuba’s Insertion in the International Economy since 1990

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pp. 89-113

In the international context, Cuba is a small economy highly dependent on foreign trade. For 2000–2006 its participation in world exports of goods and services barely averaged 0.05 percent, while its ratio of foreign trade to GDP was 41.1 percent, an increase over previous years.1 ...

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4. Medium- and Long-Range Planning in Cuba: Historical Evolution and Future Prospects

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pp. 114-136

As Commander Ernesto “Ché” Guevara underscored more than forty years ago, “centralized planning is the way of being of a socialist society, its defining category and the point where man’s consciousness eventually manages to synthesize and channel the economy towards its goal: the full liberation of human beings in the frame of a communist society.”1 ...

Part II. Socioeconomic Issues

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5. Creating a Better Life: The Human Dimension of the Cuban Economy

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pp. 139-164

As we enter a new millennium, humankind has to address two unresolved challenges: stopping the decimation of the environment and ending poverty. The search for a better life or, in other words, for an improved quality of life or human well-being, has existed since time immemorial. ...

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6. Fighting Poverty: Cuba’s Experience

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pp. 165-188

The main goal of the Cuban economic model since 1959 has been to build a society marked by equity and social justice in which every person has the right to satisfy his or her basic needs, not as a consumer but as a citizen. The objective was to build a society based on the principle of equality of opportunity and the practice of solidarity as the essential criterion for distribution. ...

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7. The Cuban Population: Major Characteristics with a Special Focus on the Aging Population

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pp. 189-210

By the end of 2007 the median age in Cuba had risen to 37.0 years. There were 1.9 million senior citizens (people sixty years old and older, or “over fifty-nine”), constituting one in six Cubans, or 16.6 percent of the population of slightly more than 11.2 million.1 The age profile in these figures is characteristic of the world’s developed countries. ...

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8. Labor Relations, Labor Rights, and Trade Unions: Their History in Cuba

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pp. 211-232

The basis for Cuban workers’ specific rights and labor relations is the country’s socialist character. The 1976 Constitution legally established the socialist nature of Cuba as fundamental to all of its policies and legislation, including all of its labor legislation. The constitution opens with this statement in Article I: ...

Part III. Specific Branches of Production

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9. The Evolution of International Tourism in Cuba

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pp. 235-251

Until the beginning of World War II, international tourism catered largely to the elite. The large and luxurious passenger liners such as the Titanic, or the safaris of the style Ernest Hemingway wrote about in the “Snows of the Kilimanjaro,” could be considered typical of international tourism in those years. ...

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10. Tourism: Natural Product, Source of Exchange with the Outside World, and Ideological Challenge

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pp. 252-269

Since the early 1990s, tourism has become a high-priority activity in the development strategy designed by the Cuban state and government. Its primary goal has been to secure foreign-exchange earnings in the short and medium terms which, given how Cuba’s foreign exchange has historically constrained its growth and development, are necessary for the country’s economic recovery ...

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11. Agriculture: Historical Transformations and Future Directions

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pp. 270-291

Agriculture has been a determinative sector in the economy of the Island ever since the European conquest. Although it has fallen as a share of GDP over the last twenty years, agriculture remains a crucial sector for the well-being of the Cuban population. In the short term, preventing the food supply from collapsing in the face of the economic difficulties of the Special Period ...

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12. Expansion of Knowledge-Based Economic Sectors: The Advantages Socialism Offers for Cuba

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pp. 292-318

In ten years Cuba managed to more than double its GDP, from 25,366 million pesos in 1997 to 58,604 in 2007, despite an intensified U.S. blockade that has been very costly to the Cuban economy. This expansion has been possible because of the will and resilience of the Cuban people, the quality of its leadership, ...

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List of Contributors

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pp. 319-322

Juan Carlos Alfonso Fraga is a researcher and director of the Center for Studies on Population and Development. He has directed and participated in many national and international studies about and related to fertility and aging. In 2002, he was national director of Cuba’s last population and housing census. ...

Index

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pp. 323-337

Further Reading

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p. 357-357


E-ISBN-13: 9780813048345
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813044231

Page Count: 384
Illustrations: 40 tables, 29 figures,
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Contemporary Cuba
Series Editor Byline: A volume in the series Contemporary Cuba, edited by John M. Kirk