Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Productive Forces and Their Ties

The Productive Forces and Their Ties / Yoani Sanchez
Posted on June 19, 2013

The same day that Marino Murillo, Cuba's Minister of Economy and
Planning, appeared on television explaining the prosperity potential of
the Cuban economic model in the municipality of Pinar del Rio, he met
urgently with several farmers. The meeting took place in the town of San
Juan y Martinez and focused on the agricultural state of emergency
across the country. Among other topics, the official demanded that the
cooperative members in the area — especially those dedicated to the
cultivation of tobacco — sow more vegetables and grains. "The country is
experiencing a food crisis," he said, without provoking any turmoil
among those listening because ordinary Cubans don't remember any state
other than crisis, anxiety and chronic collapse. "Keep sowing, and later
the resources will come…" he said hurriedly to people who had heard more
unmet promises than mockingbird songs.

At one point the meeting changed direction and those called together
began to set the day's agenda. Then the complaints rained down. A fruit
grower explained the impediments to contracting directly with La
Conchita factory and marketing his guavas and mangoes. Instead, he had
to sell his production to Acopio, the State entity, which in turn was
charged with supplying the pulp and jam industry. The official
intermediary still exists, and gets the major economic share, the grower
asserted. For his part, 400 yards of wire fencing to enclose the land
costs a State agricultural company some 80 pesos ($3.30 USD); while the
farmer affiliated with a cooperative can expect to pay 600 pesos ($25.00
USD) for the same amount. A sack of cement — indispensable in expanding
the facilities of a farm — has a maximum value of 20 pesos ($0.83 USD)
for the State farm, and 120 pesos ($5.00 USD) retail price for the
cooperative member.

When the relations of production become a straitjacket for the
development of the productive forces, then these relations have to
change. This is in keeping with one of the Marxist conclusions we most
study in high school and college. Thus, on comparing Marino Murillo's
declarations with the testimony of several farmers and the agricultural
disaster all around us, one can only conclude that the current economic
model behaves like a deadly embrace for the development and prosperity
of Cuba. It's not particularly helpful that the officials tell us that
now, indeed, prosperity and progress are just around the corner. If the
man in the furrow remains gripped by the absurd, who establish so many
restrictions, they should step aside and make way for others who can do
it better.

19 June 2013

Source: "The Productive Forces and Their Ties / Yoani Sanchez |
Translating Cuba" -

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