19 December 2020 ~ 3 Comentarios

Cuba: System reform won’t do much good

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

The Cuban regime wants to make reforms. That’s very good. Cuban society is staggeringly unproductive. They will start with the currency. Well thought! It is useless to make reforms if the essential element, money, is worth very little. Especially in the vicinity of the United States, where His Majesty the Dollar reigns supreme, despite the fact that since 1971 its value is subjectively and arbitrarily measured. (In that year, Nixon removed the US currency from the gold standard.)

Cuban reformers would do well to look at what is happening just 90 miles from their shores. The exiles, who were prompted to leave by the hideous cry of “we don’t want them, we don’t need them” have prospered enormously. In the USA, with its nuances, things are done as they are carried out in the richest nations on earth.

Let’s talk about the 20%.

A few are “filthy” rich. They are billionaires. For others it is enough to have a few millions. There are many professionals who are very well off. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, bankers, architects. Almost all has money invested in the stock market, second homes, and buy works of art. Small businessmen join that group. Some will grow to be great. Others will disappear, but along the way they will have learned a useful lesson that they will use in another endeavor.

The remaining 80% are part of the three middle social groups, plus the poor who struggle to join them––the upper middle group, the middle-middle group, the middle-low group and the extremely poor. Fortunately, social mobility is tremendous in the United States. I am not talking about “classes” because it is a closed concept, which Marxists have appropriated (and we can see the results.)

The extremely poor in the USA are those who have up to $25,000 a year for a family of four. Generally, they are poor people with a car, television, air conditioning, heating, drinking water, electricity, telephones, food stamps, police protection, judicial system, schools, and hospitals for free. They live in government “projects” or small subsidized apartments that, in South Florida at least, are called “Plan 8.”

20 and 80%. That is the “Pareto Principle.” It is not a mandatory law of nature. It is a “principle,” an “observation” that is almost always fulfilled. Vilfredo Pareto was a great mathematician of Italian origin who taught at a Swiss university between the 19th and 20th centuries. He set out to find out the historical disparity between those who have resources and those who lack them. Wherever there is freedom to create wealth there are inventors, entrepreneurs, people who stand out for their desire to succeed.

General Raúl Castro should not find it difficult to understand the phenomenon. His father, Ángel Castro Argiz, who arrived from a Galician village wearing espadrilles, when he died in October 1956, he left a capital of 8 million dollars (today it would be more than 100), several hundred workers, a 30-square kilometers farm, equipped with a movie theater, managed by his daughter Juanita, a school and a post office. Without a doubt, Ángel Castro belonged to the 20%.

Today the “Pareto Principle” has become a formula that is studied in marketing and in almost any activity: 20% of the causes generate 80% of the consequences. 20%––more or less–– of the products generates 80% of the sales. 20% of the sellers support 80% of the sales. And so on.

The problem with Pareto’s observation is that it leads to inequality in income. Those who are part of the 20% receive a huge amount of the money that society generates.

This is anathema to communists, determined that the results of all people are approximately the same, because they have not realized that human beings are different, have different dreams, and expect different remuneration, sometimes emotional.

This means that it is not a matter of reforming the communist system, but of canceling it, and accepting willingly that some citizens live better than the average. It is not a question of disappearing the three coins, or that children or adults can have a glass of milk when they want and not when central planning indicates it. It is about asking Cubans if they want to continue with communism or prefer to carry out their transactions as they are carried out in the thirty most prosperous countries in the world.

That’s the key.

3 Responses to “Cuba: System reform won’t do much good”

  1. Manuel 20 December 2020 at 2:39 pm Permalink

    la respuesta ramiro

    Es compleja. Hablamos de personas.
    Cada una es un planeta.

    No hay, no han habido, y no habrán
    Encuestas creíbles en Cuba. Por tanto todo lo que digamos será pura especulación, es decir, nada.

    Pero especulemos.

    Hay un grupo pequeño al que pertenece Julián, Que efectivamente logran abstraerse porque pueden y por qué no les ha tocado de cerca una gran desgracia. Así y todo lo pierda de vista el ‘detalle’ de qué el hombre se fue de su país dejando atrás lo más grande que tenía su niña su esposa sus amigos sus lugares todo.Por qué lo hizo?

    Cuando la conocí lo tenía todo, una niña que acababa de cumplir seis años, una mansión, dos especialidades médicas, cargo y poder, una familia enorme y amorosa.
    Todo eso dejó y se marchó conmigo de Cuba, dejando niña familia lugares poderes, cosas, docenas de miles de dólares. Por qué lo hizo?

    Tengo 48 años. A los 17 ya había conocido a la persona más brillante con la que me he cruzado. Un centenar de amigos tenía esa persona, dos hijos pequeños,Muchas influencias, muchos poderes acumulados a lo largo de toda su existencia de casi 38 años. Pero se embarcó a Estados Unidos y no llego con vida. Porque lo hizo?.

    Como puede ver hay muchos vacíos, hay un mundo de cosas de las que sólo vemos apunta ese Iceberg.

    Puedo seguir con la lista pasarme dos horas relatando cientos de ejemplos, y con cada cubano que se encuentre le pasará igual. Cómo puede ver la respuesta de Julian es del lobo un pelo. Y la de su compatriota Tambien.

    Si usted está interesado entender un poco cualquier fenómeno debe abrirse para abarcar la mayor cantidad posible de variables sin darle demasiado peso a las que no lo merecen sobre todo si está metido en un terreno enorme y pantanoso,No puede ser usted la arañita en el pelo aquel, En el poro aquel, qué con escasas lecturas quiero entender todos los pelos y porosDe la selva.

    Julián me da pena..

    Y de su compatriota ¿para qué hablar?

  2. Manuel 21 December 2020 at 3:40 am Permalink

    Al ojo inexperto todos somos iguales. Todos los chinitos, todos los negritos, todos los cubanitos, los argentinitos, los judios…

    ahora mismo ud agarra dos cubanos
    Los saca de su laboratorio, su fila para
    Comprar tomates en cualquier puesto
    De vegetales en cuba y se puede encontrar
    Con dos historias en las antípodas, aunque ambos tengan
    La mitad de sus hijos viviendo en Miami:

    Uno feliz de la ayuda que recibe de esos hijos fuera,
    Feliz de esos nietos fuera,
    Feliz de todo lo que recibe desde fuera,
    Pero indignado por TODO lo que emana de su gobierno
    De cárteles legalizados que comandan en TODOS los niveles
    Dentro de Cuba.

    El otro justo todo lo contrario.
    El otro avergonzado de sus hijos y nietos en el exterior,
    El otro amante de las misiones que cumplió en Africa, Asia, Europa del Este,
    Centro América “matando canallas”,
    Orgulloso de su corazón operado en una clínica llena de los mejores medicos del mundo,
    Una clínica llena de médicos cubanos en el corazón de la capital de Cuba, Cuba bella,
    Y luego su rehabilitación y sus caminatas por los “mejores barrios del mundo”
    Los más seguros, los mas felices, los mas dignos

    Ambos señores de 71 años en la misma cola
    Y con las mentes tan llenas de visiones tan opuestas

    Como acá un Republicano maldiciendo las máscaras, fauci y el fraude electoral;
    Y un demócrata amandolas y negando todo lo que afirme el otro

    Así de iguales somos todos en este mundo

  3. Manuel 24 December 2020 at 9:02 pm Permalink

    culture is quite different from what we often perceive it to be. According to Goodenough, “Culture is not a material phenomenon; it does not consist of things, people, behavior, or emotions. It is rather an organization of these things. It is the forms of things that people have in mind, their models for perceiving, relating, and otherwise interpreting them.” Similarly, Geertz writes, “Culture is best seen not as complexes of concrete behavior patterns—customs, usages, traditions, habit clusters—as has, by and large, been the case up to now, but as a set of control mechanisms—plans, recipes, rules, instructions—for the governing of behavior.”
    If we follow Goodenough and Geertz, then culture is in fact part of an underlying system of social governance, one that relies tremendously on something similar to soft power. The concept of soft power was first introduced by Joseph Nye, describing a type of externally projected power that aims to influence others.
    This meaning was reflected in part in a speech given by President Xi Jinping in 2014, when he said, “We should enhance China’s soft power and better present China to the world.” But it’s also been conceptualized as an internal development, one that aims to improve cultural values and practices domestically, and to do so in ways that help resist malign forms of foreign soft power while promoting better cultural practices that suit national development—which also keenly interests the Chinese Government, particularly as China’s younger generations have grown up in an increasingly globalized culture driven by technology and market values.
    Therein lies a common tension found in efforts to recover and promote ICH. To a large extent, the tendency is to do so with values and practices that might now be local but are in fact culturally foreign. This risks negating the authentic intangibleness of traditional culture, and merely reducing it to the commodity form.
    Before Chinese modernity, when Chinese thinkers spoke of the “way” or dao, they did so primarily through a way of thinking that was fundamentally different from the logic underpinning today’s world. Whether Confucius or Laozi, whether the Chinese Buddhists who synthesized the Lotus Sutra with Daoism, or the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 B.C.) before them all, yinyang thought, or what some call “correlative thinking,” was culturally and discursively dominant.
    This understanding was not lost on Chinese Marxism. When Chinese scholars first studied Marx’s texts in the aftermath of the May 4th Movement in 1919, they found in Marx’s dialectic a way of thinking that was not too distant from China’s deeply rooted tradition. Indeed, this epistemological relationship appears quite important to Mao Zedong, and its resonance is even stronger today as China finds itself on the threshold of accelerating its development as a socialist nation from a market society in the vanguard of a globally devastating pandemic—a crisis that has intersected with many others.
    One of the major academic developments in China over the last few years has been the reinvigoration of Marxism. Some see this as anachronistic or merely a play at propaganda without substance. Conversely, there are those elsewhere, in Washington for example, who portray it as part of a Beijing-led conspiracy for global domination, despite real Marxism being literally the antithesis of such thinking.
    A graduate student of calligraphy performs traditional Chinese seal carving during a ceremony at the East China Normal University in Shanghai on December 12 (XINHUA)
    Marx’s dialectical method provided him with a solution to the problem of “immanent critique,” insomuch as the dialectic offered a logic quite different from the radicalized linear form that emerged in Europe and produced the Enlightenment sciences and social sciences, along with normalizing capitalism and nationalism that are predicated ontologically on the same.
    For Chinese Marxists, it provided a cultural bridge between Chinese traditional thought, which was more dialectical, and the linear analytical forms that were necessary to accelerate national development and solve the existential crises that confronted China from the mid-19th century onward.
    Those crises have now largely been solved, and we are now in a “new era,” as China likes to say. And in this new era, looking backward, what should be salvaged, and what should be carried forward, particularly as new existential crises mounting today are precisely those that have emerged from the excesses associated with Western ways of thinking? Perhaps via Marx, and onward to the Chinese dialectic, the answer seems clear, even if it’s sung in a marketable version with only 10 tones.
    Comments to yanwei@bjreview.com

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