Market Wages Introduced in Cuba After 50 Years
Cuba took another leap away from Fidel Castro's creaky egalitarian model yesterday when it swept away the wage restraints that have kept surgeons and taxi drivers on much the same salaries for the past 50 years. The latest and most dramatic liberalisation by Raul Castro appears to be aimed at bringing to communist Cuba the Chinese-style economic reforms he admires so much.
The decision to scrap one of the fundamental pillars of socialism, in place for the past 50 years, was revealed in an eye-popping item in the Communist Party newspaper, Granma, yesterday. In its deadpan style, Granma stated that "the socialist principle of distribution will be achieved wherein everyone earns in accordance with his contribution, in other words, pay in accordance with quality and quantity."
The measure is part of the government's policy to get the moribund economy on the move again. The idea is to give people earning a typical salary of just $17 a month an incentive to work hard and make money. Cuban salaries are too low for families to survive on and are supplemented by a crude system of rationing.
Every Cuban family gets a single bar of soap a month, a portion of rice and "ground beef" that is more than 50 per cent soy. The ration system has given the Communist Party tight control over families, but it is widely abused and open to corruption.
Thanks to Carlos in Bogota, Colombia for the link.