June 2, 2008

Cuba's Cartoon Economy

Since Cuba barely exports anything, its currency's exchange rate is practically below zero. The Miami Herald reports:

Decades of measly salaries and vast government subsidies have kept many young people off the labor rolls because it's more lucrative to hustle on the street. Others live comfortably enough off remittances from Miami and elsewhere.

Loraicys passes on neighborhood janitor positions in hopes of higher-paying work at nearby resort hotels, where she also would have a chance of earning tips in dollars.

''I am not going to tell you something different: there are jobs here in Cárdenas where I live. Doing what? Cleaning hospitals for 150 pesos ($7) a month,'' said Loraicys, a single mom. ``For 150 pesos, I would rather stay home with my kid. I am willing to work really hard, but not for nothing in return.''

While Cuba struggles to increase productivity, it must also find a way to entice hundreds of thousands of people to get a job. The dilemma is one of the profound systemic difficulties Castro faces as he tries to create a so-called modern socialist economy.

The government says there are plenty of jobs -- just low-paying ones Cubans won't take. Even educated professionals would rather work in the tourist industry as waiters or taxi drivers, which earn far more money than state jobs that usually offer about $10 a month.

Ten dollars a month? That's what the pay would be for a job that Porky Pig applies for in a 1941 Warner Bros. cartoon.

Cubans in Miami probably put all their pennies in a big jar and every January ship it to Havana for their relatives to live off for the whole year.

Cuba has 2000 miles of coastline, and there's nothing golfers like more than playing alongside the ocean, but only one golf course has been built in the country since the Revolution. The smaller, formerly more-backward Dominican Republic has 22 golf courses, and its famous ocean-front Teeth of the Dog course charges outside players $225 per round, which is twice what a Cuban makes in a year.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The government says there are plenty of jobs -- just low-paying ones Cubans won't take."

The clamor you just heard was the sound of thousands of Mexicans constructing makeshift rafts.

Anonymous said...


The government says there are plenty of jobs -- just low-paying ones Cubans won't take. Even educated professionals would rather work in the tourist industry as waiters or taxi drivers, which earn far more money than state jobs that usually offer about $10 a month.


Sounds like Cuba needs ...

Mexican illegal immigrants!

Rohan Swee said...

Ha - pigs melding with men à la Animal Farm. I mean, I'm sure there's a pundit running around who will argue with a straight face that being able to pay somebody $7/month for cleaning hospitals is global capitalism at its best. Cuba obviously has a worker shortage if those jobs aren't getting done!

David said...

Well, good for them.

If I could live off .10 a month, I wouldn't do a damn thing but hang out with my friends and enjoy life.

Maybe it isn't Cuban communism that's the slave system, after all.

I pity them when international bankers get their hooks into them. (Something Steve seems to be salivating for as he tees up.) They will be working night and day then!

Struggling for the ever-shinier SUVs...eating s*** at work...painfully scraping up three things: a. an increase to some inconceivably rich corporation's bottom line, b. a pitifully poor nest egg for a next generation of slaves, and c. serious mental and physical problems, to be managed by Big Pharma.

We. Must. Not. Have. Economic. Diversity. All must be in debt to the world system, and work for it at least 50 hours a week - else they are worthless bums.

I'd go with the three iron, Steve. Fore!

JCR said...

Cuba plans luxury golf resort to boost economy
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/leisure/article4045060.ece

Dutch Boy said...

"We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us" was the old saying in Eastern Europe in the bad old Communist days. They also had jokes (?) about the girl who was crushed to find out that her fiance' was not a taxi driver as he claimed but was really a doctor (taxi drivers had access to foreign exchange).

rast said...

Since America barely exports anything, its currency's exchange rate is practically below zero

Fixed that for you.

William said...

The government says there are plenty of jobs -- just low-paying ones Cubans won't take. Even educated professionals would rather work in the tourist industry as waiters or taxi drivers, which earn far more money than state jobs that usually offer about $10 a month.

Sounds like Cuba needs...Mexican illegal immigrants!

Now the irony to that is that if you set the problem before Larry Kudlow or Stephen Moore or Tamar Jacoby or the billionaires who finance Cato (no self-interest there at all), the reply will be that "there's plenty of workers in Cuba available for those jobs - just let the 'free market' work its magic!"

They don't seem to think that applies to the US anymore, however.

Free market for me, but not for thee...

(I'm with David though on the idea that it's best not to let the big global financiers get too much control of your market - free trade clearly has kinks that need to be worked out.)

Anonymous said...

"Loraicys?" Nice name. I've noticed lately that blacks in Latin America like giving their kids strange and made up names just like they do here.

Martin said...

"Rohan Swee said...

I'm sure there's a pundit running around who will argue with a straight face that being able to pay somebody $7/month for cleaning hospitals is global capitalism at its best."

It is interesting that both Castro's socialist government and the free-market fanatics at the WSJ and the Cato Institute both arrive at the same conclusion. Namely, that paying people who have no power and few options in life practically nothing is good business.

Anonymous said...

Here is another blog entry by Steve Sailer the Liberal. Here we see Steve doing his small part to promote the phony meme that the problem with Cuba is whatever government is in place in Cuba, and not, oh my, the Cuban people.

Steve, your literary hero Tom Wolfe recently gave a speech and specifically and approvingly recited the invasion and takeover of Miami, Florida USA by immigrant Cubans as proof that America is a great country.

Wolfe is an anti-white, anti-American globalist asshole and a total hypocrite - sort of like Steve "Citizenism" Sailer.

How much time do you think Wolfe has spent in metro Miami since the Cuban invasion that he so admires? How about zero minutes except for whatever time in the taxi he spent transporting himself to Miami Beach or Palm Beach or wherever.

On the contrary, Wolfe, along with every other American citizen of any means, makes sure to give Metropolitan (Cuban) Miami a very wide pass in order to avoid the decay, the street crime and the general atmosphere of Latin "vibrancy".

Yes. The Big Lie here in Steve the Liberal's blog entry is that Cubans in Cuba are Third Worlders - unlike their modern sophisticated brethren in Miami, Florida. What a crock! Cuban "Americans" have turned metro Miami into a dysfunctional mess that maintains status above Havana only through support of the surrounding non-Cuban Dade County infrastructure, non-Cuban Florida State infrastructure, and non-Cuban United States infrastructure.

Can you compute that, Steve, you genius? That, if isolated from its surroundings, Cuban Miami would not actually be very different from Cuban Havana, after all. Or Mexican Mexico City or Colombian Bogota?

Why is it that all visitors, and all tourists, head straight for someplace outside of Metro Miami when they visit "Miami"? The answer is that Metro Miami is full of Cubans and the other places are not full of Cubans.

Communism, Castro and his clown state are all pure evil, but it's also another Big Lie that the problem with Cuba is the government. In the not too distant future, a non-Communist Cuba will prove to be only a slightly higher grade of clown than Castro's Cuba.

Yes, in any future "democratic and free" Cuba, civic dysfunction will prove endemic. Sort of like Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Venezuela and...Los Angeles.

Ronduck said...

''I am not going to tell you something different: there are jobs here in Cárdenas where I live. Doing what? Cleaning hospitals for 150 pesos ($7) a month,'' said Loraicys, a single mom. ``For 150 pesos, I would rather stay home with my kid. I am willing to work really hard, but not for nothing in return.''

Screw the rising tide of color, what about the rising tide of bastardry? Are there any countries that can control these out-of-wedlock births? Israel? The Boer? We seem to be spreading our lower standards to the whole world.

We seem to equate lower personal self-control with lower legal control. I went to the Cato site once and saw an author there making the same connection about immorality and markets regarding Eastern Europe.

Anonymous said...

Daivd!

If living in Cuba on .10 cents a day is your life's goal, you can emigrate. Nothing is stopping you as far as I can see. Just don't tell the Cuban authorities that the reason you want to move to their country is to lead a life of leisure. You see, that's not the way communism is supposed to work. People are supposed to work hard there, but somehow, human nature keeps getting in the way of that communist ideal wherever it has been attempted. (good luck) ;)

Anonymous said...

Actually, Cuba doesn't export practically nothing. It has a thriving, world class biotech sector and exports at least 300 million dollars worth of vaccines and other products to the rest of the world.

bbartlog said...

the phony meme that the problem with Cuba is whatever government is in place in Cuba, and not, oh my, the Cuban people.

So in your eyes repressive Communist government is totally irrelevant? That seems faintly ridiculous, and at variance with what we know about economics.

Cuban "Americans" have turned metro Miami into a dysfunctional mess that maintains status above Havana only through support of the surrounding non-Cuban Dade County infrastructure

There is a vast difference between observing that Miami draws resources from wealthier suburbs, and claiming that it would be as poor as Havana if only Cubans were there. Devolution into something resembling Guadalajara would still leave it head and shoulders above Havana in terms of economic well-being.
In any case, the demographics of Miami and Dade County are such that claiming that the white population is somehow solely responsible for Miami's preeminence doesn't hold water. It's one thing to say that the whites have higher incomes and are net donors to the society there; it's quite another to claim that the hispanics are worthless and have contributed nothing.
But at any rate it's always nice to see someone come along who makes Steve look like a paragon of racial tolerance :-).

Anonymous said...

"So in your eyes repressive Communist government is totally irrelevant?"

No, bbartlog, I said non-Communist Cuba would be a slightly higher grade of clown than Castro's Cuba.

"Devolution into something resembling Guadalajara would still leave it head and shoulders above Havana in terms of economic well-being."

bbartlog, I've been to both cities (and many other Latin American cities) and your definition of "head and shoulders" is a distinction without much difference to most anyone native to the white western world and especially those countries known as the Anglosphere.

"it's quite another to claim that the hispanics are worthless and have contributed nothing."

bbartlog, I never said that.

"But at any rate it's always nice to see someone come along who makes Steve look like a paragon of racial tolerance :-)."

bbartlog, You are confused and you are also a liberal with low reading comprehension. Steve is indeed actually a paragon of racial tolerance. Read Steve's Citizenism Theory and no other conclusion about the author is possible.

bbartlog, your intellectual problem is your embrace of the Marxist definition of tolerance, which blinds you to the fact, that Steve Sailer is extremely tolerant of alien cultures and peoples. If you could see that simple fact, then you could also see that therefore Steve is unwilling to preserve, let alone restore, the traditional 90% white American nation.

I do apologize for singling out Cubans to such an extent. What I really meant to condemn was the essential nature of Latin civilization. I condemn that without apology. Unlike Sailer, I wish to wall the United States off from the poison that is Latinization.

And now here is a link to the latest contribution of Miami to the post-American cultural fabric:

Let the Nation of Islam patrol Miami? Sure, what could go wrong?

Anonymous said...

Cuba doesn't need to export anything because it is largely self-sufficient in terms of food production and the like.

And many of these unemployed people do actually work in community gardens and the like, or in side-jobs supporting local agriculture.

And come on...golf courses? THAT is your answer to cure the ills of Cuba's economy? Fairly pathetic I'd say. Why would the Cubans turn a bunch of good productive agricultural land in to wasteful green lawns just so a bunch of middle-class American tourists can come and smack around a few balls? That's ridiculous, and I think Cubans far prefer the rich and wholesome local food instead of pandering to American tourists.

Anonymous said...

"Why would the Cubans turn a bunch of good productive agricultural land in to wasteful green lawns just so a bunch of middle-class American tourists can come and smack around a few balls? That's ridiculous, and I think Cubans far prefer the rich and wholesome local food instead of pandering to American tourists."

It's called ROI there, Che. You can separate rich Americans from their money and use it to buy steak from Iowa and Romaine lettuce from Chile or you can coax crops out of the ground and sit down to your homegrown beans and tortillas at the end of another back-breaking day.

"rich and wholesome local food..." LMAO.

--Senor Doug

Kristian said...

Good points about Cuba.

Recent data on happiness has bolstered the notion that peace of mind isn't based on wealth, but rather relative wealth. So if rich tourists poured into the country, it would make the Cubans miserable knowing how bad their lot was in comparison. With fewer tourists, they only have other poor people to compare too, which makes for a safer frame of reference.

Anonymous said...

85 percent of Cuban Americans are, indeed, white. And 66 percent of Cubans in Cuba are actually white. Cuban Americans are the whitest Hispanics of them all. That should warm your racist little hearts.

Cubans have done very well for themselves. While they do still form a majority in Miami, most of them have gotten rich and moved out to suburbs like Westchester and Hialeah. Personally, I quite enjoy Cuban culture and food- something that a lot of Floridians take for granted and would miss if the Cubans were gone.

The solution is to oust the ailing Commie government- and the ailing Commies- make Cuba a protectorate, and build it up heavily- same as Puerto Rico.