Thursday, December 11, 2008


This week's New York Times magazine section has an interesting article about Cuba, titled "The End of the End of the Revolution". It quotes an official with the Cuban Ministry of Economics discussing Cuba's economic successes and failures:

"Álvarez reeled off some numbers. There were 6,000 doctors in Cuba at the time of the revolution; there are now close to 80,000 for a population of 11.3 million, one of the highest per-capita rates in the world. The U.S. embargo has cost Cuba about $200 billion in real terms. When the Berlin Wall crumbled, 80 percent of Cuba’s international trade was with Soviet-bloc countries. About 98 percent of oil came from them. Back to the Communist bloc states, at inflated prices, went Cuba’s sugar and rum.

'We’ve had to reinsert ourselves in the global economy twice in 30 years, once in 1960 and again in 1990,' Álvarez said."
If capitalism and globalization lead to the exploitation of the developing world, then the US embargo should be viewed as a positive for Cuba, right?.

If trade impoverishes developing countries then how could lack of trade also impoverish developing countries?

1 comment:

Mike LP said...

First question, No.
Second question, Yes.

Trade and globalization only have a tendency to exploit workers in countries that have a competitive advantage in labor costs. Setting a livable wage for workers should be the responsibility of the government of the nation that is being "exploited" opposed to the corporations that take advantage of that wage. Further, if the "exploitative" corporations were not in many of the countries that are being "expolited" then individuals would go jobless opposed to having less than ideal jobs.

Now the truth of the matter is that there is a ton of exploitation in the global community and much of that exploitation crosses the lines and alienates individuals from basic human rights. No economic system is perfect and capitilism is no exception . . . the fact of the matter is that corporations will go to the cheapest bidder (in a vacuum). It should be (and is) the job of the potentially exploited country to set policies that are fair and beneficial for their own economies. Only when this happens, can both parties be confident that trade and globalization are much more than a zero sum game . . .