2022: And we will win the economic battle

Photo: Courtesy of the CIM.

This is the first message of 2022 and I chose this title with every intention of irritating the weary, pessimists and skeptics. They are quite a few, it is true. We will see them express themselves in the comments. But I would say as Martí in his introduction to the Verses libres: “Everything they have to say, I already know, and I have it answered.”

There are many more of us who think that we can win the economic battle, the same one that we will not win yet in 2021.

And notice that the verb is not “we trust”, but “we think”, because today it is not about expressing emotional enthusiasm (which we also have and are good), but calm reasoning and data that lead us to think that this difficult battle is You can win.

Let’s see:

● The people are in power. I remember hearing Fidel say in the dangerous years of the Special Period: “As long as the people have power, they have everything.”

● It is also true that some have accumulated economic power in the context of current difficulties, but they do not have political power. The people have that.

● We have maintained basic social achievements, equity, education, health, citizen security and national sovereignty.

● Cuba remains, according to the United Nations, among the countries with a high Human Development index (0.783), and also with a growing trend. The threshold for the elite rating of “very high” is 0.8, we are not far behind.

● The adult literacy rate (99.87%) is one of the highest in the world. It is an essential condition for a high-tech economy. Dozens of universities and scientific institutions continue to consolidate the nation’s human capital.

● The number of physicians per 1,000 population (8.4) is one of the highest in the world (the world average is 1.5, and the US figure is 2.6).

● The fundamental means of production remain the socialist property of all the people.

● We must not accept the oversimplification of cataloging education and health as “social achievements”, separated from the economy. They are also achievements of the economy. It is precisely the socialist economy that has made it possible to finance (because they cost money) the expansion and results of the health and education systems.

● The massive adherence to the 2019 Constitution and the massive response to the media aggressions of 2021 show us the majority consensus that we maintain around the socialist social project.

● The response to the threat of the covid-19 pandemic shows us our capacities to face complex challenges, based on science and on the participation of all.

The foundations on which to build development are there, and they are good. They say it the hard and stubborn “data”, which is enviable for many in this world. But we must “change what must be changed” and we have to manage the process of economic transformation well, so that social conquests express their development potential, and achieve:

● Increase the gross domestic product of our economy and the productivity of labor.

● Grow with high value-added productions and services.

● Grow without expanding social inequalities.

● Recover the investment rate and improve the productive infrastructure (capital formation).

● Expand the insertion of our economy in the world economy and its value chains.

All this, in turn, implies:

1. Appeal to science, technology and innovation.

2. Increase the dynamics of creation of new companies, and the dynamics of extinction of those that are inefficient.

3. Prioritize the emergence of new high-tech companies and technological, state-owned and exporting SMEs.

4. Continue increasing the degree of operational autonomy of state companies, and limiting bureaucracy.

5. Modernize the financial system and its role as “development lubricant”.

6. Expand and strengthen a vanguard of young entrepreneurs of socialism, who take on the challenge of decoupling economic growth from the expansion of inequalities.

7. Strengthen the participation of workers in the management of companies.

8. Support the deployment of Cuban companies abroad, as well as foreign investment in Cuba.

Anyone can see that all this already has seeds sown, and some results, but we still have much more to do. Thus it was said, loud and clear, in the Central Report to the Eighth Party Congress: “It is unavoidable to provoke a shaking of the business structures from the top down and vice versa, which definitively banishes inertia, conformism, the lack of initiatives and the comfortable waiting for instructions from higher levels. We must change old bad habits and develop entrepreneurial and proactive traits in the management teams of our companies ”.

Anyone can see that the initiatives we need to achieve that “shake-up” have to come from many sources. All Cuban revolutionaries, each in his or her position, have to feel called upon to initiatives and proposals. The strategic vision and political will of the top management, we cannot allow it to be diluted at the intermediate levels.

Anyone can also see that all this has risks. The essential deployment of business autonomy, in tune with global technological changes, and the necessary diversification of products and services, forces us to be very intelligent in the balance between growth, which is the true objective, and control, which is a requirement. for the sustainability of growth.

The essential deployment of the international insertion of the economy, in tune with the objective and irreversible process of globalization, forces us to be very intelligent when working with organizations that operate in economic and social contexts different from ours, and with priorities and values ​​different from ours. But you have to work with them.

Those risks could lead us down the path of naivety towards the republic reconquered by our historical adversaries, or down the path of stagnation and rigidity, towards self-exclusion from the world system of economic relations.

No one has said that the task will be easy, but the good news is that we can do it well. We know we can win that battle. We have the capabilities for that. Our historical enemies also know that we can win; and that is why they maintain the blockade.

The battle of covid-19 showed us what we can achieve from the scientific and technological capabilities rooted in Cuban society, and in close interaction with the decision-making bodies of the Government.

We can do the same in the economy. Science, technology and innovation can achieve much more and generate development dynamics in food production, energy, computerization, and in many other areas of Cuban economic and social life. They are the main tool to decouple economic growth and the growth of social inequalities.

Today’s youth will make a revolution in these tasks. This is what José Martí said when Cuba did not even exist as a nation: “The revolution is not the one that we are going to start in the maniguas: but the one that we are going to develop in the republic.”

Congratulations to everyone in 2022 and let’s continue on that route, making revolution in the republic.

(Taken from Agustín Lage’s blog)

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