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The Cuban Situation and the ‘Fallacy of the Broken Window’

  • feb 08, 201202:28h
  • 4 comentarios

One of the collateral effects of the Raúl Castro regime and its program of economic reforms, is the passion for self-deception it arouses on the other side of the Florida Straits. I recently watched a speech by Carlos Saladrigas and asked myself is there is no one capable of telling this gentleman that his enthusiasm for the Cuban “opportunity” is nothing more than a nostalgic mirage disguised as common sense.

The mirage takes on mutant forms, and the most recurrent in recent months seems to be the argument of money as a liberator. That is, in my judgment, a metamorphosis of the famous Fallacy of the Broken Window, so well explained in “conservative” thought. Let’s see: it all starts with a catastrophe or an act of destruction. In this we see (a posteriori) a future economic benefit. The neighbors who get together to discuss the baker’s broken window look a lot like the lobby that today defends the Cuban crisis as a business opportunity. If you think about it — they assure many entrepreneurs — perhaps the current Cuban disaster isn’t such a bad thing. Because it means that everything needs to be done, that free enterprise is about to substitute for the role of the political authority, and that as a part of this process of state capitalism, Cubans will be able to get dollars, and even spend them, which satisfies those advocates of the perfect investment, for whom the greatest possible freedom is the freedom to invest.

The initial act of thuggery — that is the Cuban Revolution — now begins to be seen as a stimulus to the economy, and self-employment as equal to “job creation,” protocapitalism, “the right path,” etc. All this semi-pragmatic opining, ostentatious or discrete, is nothing more than judging the dismal situation of the island from a moral perspective, instantaneously effective, cheap and abstract. As with the baker in the video, who might well have spent the money on something better than repairing the window broken by the thug, Cuba might better have passed through its own rightful course of history, rather than through the trauma of Castro socialism: more income to spend on goods and services, a decent standard of living, something real to be proud of. To defend the Cuban “opportunity” from the perspective of capitalism-to-come is a logical aberration, because at this point Cubans would not be thinking about starting over but about investing in the world with the capital they have been denied by the Castro regime over the last fifty years.

The hooligan Castro has cost the international community dearly, along with this same Cuban exile that now has to pay, with their remittances, for the “updating of the model” proclaimed by Raul Castro. The physical damage and ruin that these five decades have meant is one of the greatest destructions of wealth we can find in our hemisphere. And now, sated with Utopia, we risk making our debut during one of the worst hazings in capitalism, for the benefit it has given to the children of those who caused the bankruptcy — and three or four unscrupulous entrepreneurs who disguise greed as national salvation.

So when someone asks who is more free, a citizen of Haiti or one of Singapore, it’s a good idea to think hard about it, to discard the perspective of the tycoon who confuses short-term benefit with wealth, and to respond with the only truth inseparable from the facts: “neither of them.”

Ernesto Hernandez Busto
Barcelona

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  • Saludos Ernesto,

    Mi amigo Humberto Aguas refirio un magnifico articulo tuyo titulado La Brecha, que me llevo a tu blog, y ahora a leer este comentario sobre the Fallacy…..

    Espero en un futuro proximo interesarte a examinar el trabajo que hacemos por via de la Alianza Democratica con relacion a la formacion de futuros lideres.

    Saludos, jf

  • francisco rodriguez dice:

    ampliar foto

    Manifestantes con una pancarta que dice: “Serguéi Lavrov, ministro de Exteriores de Rusia, no eres bienvenido”, el martes en Damasco. / HANDOUT (REUTERS)
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    “Yalla irhal ya Bachar” (es hora de que se vaya Bachar). La pintada, de color rojo sangre, nos avisa de que ya estamos en Saqba, un suburbio de 20.000 habitantes a cinco kilómetros del centro de Damasco. Hasta la semana pasada se encontraba en poder del Ejército Libre de Siria, un conglomerado de desertores y voluntarios de origen diverso que se ha levantado en armas (escasas) contra el régimen que gobierna Siria desde hace 40 años. Un reducto insurgente desde el cual, en un día claro, se divisa sin dificultad el palacio del autócrata.

    El control de este barrio a las afueras de la capital es uno de los hitos más notables de los rebeldes sirios —entre 10.000 y 30.000, según fuentes diplomáticas occidentales—, que esgrimen orgullosos sus AK-47 mientras gritan: “¡Y solo con esto, Asad! Con esto y con la ayuda de Dios”. Aparentemente, solo disponen de sus fusiles de asalto para enfrentarse a los carros de combate y la artillería de una de las maquinarias bélicas mejor engrasadas de Oriente Próximo.

  • Isis Wirth dice:

    Good article.

  • Anónimo dice:

    Para aquellos que “cancaneamos” en español–quizás la primera lengua, pero no la mejor de nuestras lenguas–estas traducciones son de gran valor porque nos permiten entender mucho mejor lo que el escritor nos está diciendo. ¡Gracias, Ernesto!… sin tener nada que ver con ¡Gracias, Fidel!