Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Translation: A magnifying glass on the 'updating'

Note the emphasis in this brief report on the internal, rather than external, challenges and the emphasis on "bureaucratic, centralising and administrative obstacles" to the implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution.        

Below the online version of this article on the Juventud Rebelde website are 16 comments submitted by readers. One of them, "Rogelio", wrote:

I'm worried about this attention given to the economic transformations in Poland, one of the countries where the ruling class sold the country to the capitalist class and this same class restored capitalism. I think the trajectory should be towards the working class.   
The author replied as follows:

Rogelio: I'll explain because I was there, reporting on the seminar. The fact that Señor Polaco had given a lecture there, and the same goes for the Vietnamese specialist, doesn't mean that they're handing out recipes to the Cuban scholars. If you read the brief report I published, it is noted that the approaches of the Cubans are aimed at improving and advancing our socialist economy, which it sorely needs. Kind regards.        

A magnifying glass on the economic updating 

By José Alejandro Rodríguez

Juventud Rebelde, June 23, 2012

Translation: Marce Cameron

The Annual Seminar on Cuban Economy and Management 2012, held over three days in Havana, was a bold academic introspection on the challenges that confront the current process of updating the Cuban economic model, to consolidate it firmly in the face of much external and domestic resistance so as to secure the wellbeing of the nation and the future of socialism.

In the gathering, organised by the Centre for Studies on the Cuban Economy (CEEC) at Havana University, the pressing problems that limit the country's economic growth, and the urgency of radical structural changes that would overcome bureaucratic and top-down obstructions and favour the socialist state enterprise — in harmony with the cooperative and non-state[1] sector — were debated, with a view to freeing up the economy from restrictions and the lack of incentives and initiative that entrench low levels of productivity.

The academics took stock of the transformations that are brewing following the adoption of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution, and weighed up the decisive factors and the external uncertainties of the Cuban economy, in particular the prolonged US economic blockade. But even more so, they pointed to the internal obstacles that still limit the efficacy and efficiency of our economic management, and that make us more vulnerable to so many pitfalls.

The bureaucratic, centralising and administrative obstacles were also emphasised, as well as the lack of systematic approaches, that still limit and slow down the growth of the productive forces in Cuban agriculture, make it more difficult for the workers to feel a sense of ownership, and don't recognise in reality the role of the market together with planning.

Two keynote lectures, with very different approaches, were presented in the seminar: the Vietnamese experience of foreign direct investment and international trade by Mai Thi Thu, Director General of Vietnam's National Centre for Information and Socioeconomic Forecasting; and the economic reforms in Poland by Grzegorz Kolodko of the Research Institute on Transformation, Integration and Economic Globalisation at Poland's Kozminski University.

The seminar also launched the multi-volume publication Perspectives on the Cuban Economy; The Updating Process — Cuba; Towards a Development Strategy for the Beginnings of the 21st Century; and Elements of Econometrics — Applications for Cuba, by CEEC researchers and other study centres.
Translator's footnote

[1] A reference to self-employment and small private businesses

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