Soc 140 Lec Nov 29, 2007
Post-1990 Changes in Economics
Prior to 1990, sugar production for export was the most important element in Cuba’s
economy. Sugar however could no longer be Cuba’s salvation because sugar prices
lowered. Prior to 1961, Cuba received preferential prices for its sugar coming to the US.
With the embargo it could no longer trade with the US and had to trade with the Soviet
Union. But when they collapsed, Cuba had to sell to the entire global market who had
low sugar prices.
The GNP dropped by 35% in 1993. Devastating, economy was in freefall.
The means that were chosen to resuscitate the economy was to turn to tourism. Cuban
tourism prior to 1959 was heavily infiltrated by the mafia and was heavily based on
casinos, prostitutions, etc. The new Cuban government in 1959 did not want that to
continue. The tourist industry disappeared by and large in the early 60s-early 90s.
Beginning in the early 90s, tourism (1993) became the principle motor of the economy
and sugar took second place. The number of tourists rose massively, number of
investments in the tourist sector too, and the amount of income from tourists. However,
as of 2005, tourism has slowed, and the most important generator of foreign exchange
earnings are professional services abroad, which is the sending of doctors and educators
overseas, the government is paid for their services which is given to the individuals.
With the increasing role of tourism and foreign investment in the economy, social
differentiation increased enormously. Class differences became more apparent. There
have come to be two sectors or classes in Cuban society. One had access to foreign
currency, the other does not. Those who have foreign currency are in the advantaged
position, and those who only earn the local currency are in the disadvantaged position.
Even those without access to foreign currency still have access to health care and free
education (preschool to university). That is something that Cuba’s counterparts and most
of the rest of the global south cannot take for granted.
In addition, Cuba’s social indicators are things like infant mortality rate, literacy rate, etc,
still despite the economic crisis stands far above most of the rest of the world.
Cuba excels on social indicators of well being. However, they fall short on potential
indicators of democracy.
Some progress has been made towards what Marx wrote about. Where some progress
way made towards what Marx wrote about. Marx: With socialism, there is not longer a
need for the state, the population would reabsorb the authority about them.