Public seminar: The market as master or servant? Cuba’s attempt at a new ‘middle’ way

Public seminar: The market as master or servant? Cuba’s attempt at a new ‘middle way’

Difference between command economy and free-market economy6pm Thursday, 19 November, 2015

Rm G37, Senate House,
University of London,
Malet St., London, WC1E 7HU

In this seminar, Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Chairman of the IISC and editor of the International Journal of Cuban Studies will discuss his latest research into the current process of economic ‘updating’ in Cuba.

With the acceptance and extension of private enterprise in both agriculture and small manufacturing, the development of an internal local market in the exchange of goods and services, a commitment to the decentralization of power to local government and state-owned enterprises, and the granting of the right for individuals to sell and buy houses and cars, Cuba is embarked on a process of what the government has promised is an ‘irreversible’ process of economic liberalization.

In this paper, Dr Wilkinson examines the problems of the Cuba’s centrally planned economy from the point of view of the classical liberal economists, Freidrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, and argues that they would see the recent policy changes as a tacit admission that Cuba’s command economy is a failure. However, they would also warn the Cuban government that by hanging on to an interventionist role, this bold new experiment is doomed to fail as well. 

This paper examines exactly how far Cuba is ‘liberalizing’ and explores whether or  not this could represent a new ‘middle way’ between the free market and the planned economy. Will Cuba’s ‘updated socialist model’ succeed in using market mechanisms  to maximize incentives, improve productivity and raise living standards, while keeping  a strong state to guarantee the preservation of the revolution’s socialist gains? 

Join us for an evening of discussion and debate.

Organised in collaboration with the Institute of Latin American Studies.

Entrance is free but please register with Olga Jimenez in advance: Olga.Jimenez@sas.ac.uk

Download a map of the central precinct with directions for getting to the University of London Senate House.