Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Private Taxis, Invisible Hand Coming to Cuba

From David Theroux at the Independent Institute:

Is there now a light ahead in Cuba after decades of repressive communist rule? With his brother Fidel now on the sidelines, Cuban President Raúl Castro has recently lifted a nine-year-old ban on private taxis, “potentially legalizing thousands of unauthorized cabbies who cruise its cities in classic American cars (see photo above).”

As the AP reports, Fidel Castro, who imposed the previous ban, had opposed private cabbies as “enriching themselves at the expense of egalitarian goals.” I gather that for Fidel, only a massive, crushing, incompetent, and inherently corrupt State transportation monopoly/bureaucracy would do.

MP: The gradual transition from the clumsy, oppressive visible foot of the government in Cuba to the invisible hand of the market........

5 Comments:

At 7/23/2008 9:28 AM, Anonymous QT said...

As the writer observes, how many taxis will be permitted? The cuban government is firmly in control of every aspect of life in this desparately poor country.

We can hope that Cubans actually get a break after 50 years of totalitarian socialism but cell phones and taxis are a very meagre concession.

 
At 7/23/2008 9:35 AM, Blogger Matt S said...

I hope that Cuba starts moving towards a democratic regime.
My thought is, this is an authoritarian-type regime. Aren't those always inefficient at public services?
But in any case, if the public transportation system was run by publicly elected officials, wouldn't it run better? If the public had a way to force the higher-ups to respond to their needs, there would obviously still be a need for private taxis but the bus system would work much better.

Like in Ann Arbor, we have a decent set of bus systems that I think work fine. If they sucked, you bet someone would hear about it.

 
At 7/23/2008 9:38 AM, Anonymous EJ said...

Matt,

I agree, elected officials are held more accountable then non ellected officals. But private market competition holds producers even more accountable then elected officals.

 
At 7/23/2008 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This makes me think of the NYC taxi medallion situation (look it up and prepare to be astounded). Maybe we should worry about fostering competition at home first.

 
At 7/25/2008 12:03 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

Oh, my, the enviro lobby won't appreciate THIS development, for sure. Everyone is supposed to use Mass Transit and shanks mere, don't you know?

 

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