The Ongoing Horror of Cuban Socialism

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The great macro economist Dan Mitchell is out with horrifying graphs comparing per-capita GDP with that of other countries.

Both Cuba and Hong Kong were roughly equal about 60 years ago. “But the data show a dramatic performance gap ever since the communists took power in Cuba, with Hong Kong (which was very pro-market back then) enjoying much bigger increases in prosperity.”

Cubans are no strangers to queuing for everything from bread to toothpaste, often standing for hours under a blazing sun with no access to a toilet or drinking water, and always with the fear of leaving empty-handed. It is a daily ordeal Cubans have endured for about 60 years of communist rule… Cuba recorded an official inflation rate of 70 percent in 2021, when the economy recovered a modest two percent after an 11-percent drop in 2020, signaling the nation’s worst economic crisis in almost three decades. With government reserves dwindling, food imports — some $2 billion worth per year before the pandemic struck — had to be drastically cut back in the country of 11.2 million.

Dan Mitchell compares Cuba with “pro-market Taiwan, as well as Cuba and sort-of-pro-market Panama”; as well as “sort-of-pro-market Botswana” in Africa.

“The moral of the story,” Mitchell concludes, “is that you get great results with lots of economic liberty, okay results with some economic liberty, and miserable results with almost no economic liberty (i.e., lots of socialism).”

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