My 44 oranges and why socialism does not work

Dear John Goodrich I decided to answer this call

“I’d like those who think that socialism can’t work to explain that to me.”
and will focus specifically on this statement you made
“The fact is that there is enough of everything in the world for every human being to be afforded a decent and fulfilling life. The ONLY reason billions are denied that decent life is that we use capitalism as the means of distribution and not human need.”

I was trying to follow your logic about equal distribution to see how that will work now.For example I went to FAO web site

http://faostat.fao.org/site/567/DesktopDefault.aspx?PageID=567#ancor

to get the total number of oranges produced let us say for example in 2009. The number of tons of oranges produced in that year for the whole world was about 67601635 tons. Now assuming and average weight of 200 gram per orange there should be about 4535.92 oranges in a ton. So that makes the total of oranges produced in the whole world in 2009 to be about 3.06636*10^11. Hope you can understand scientific notation. Anyways, if we divide that number by the number of inhabitant on earth right now (presumably more that were in 2009) then we arrive to the quantity of 44.4332 oranges per person on earth.
So far so good. But here is the problem I have with your theory of equal distribution and socialism being better than capitalism. I choose oranges on purpose because is a crop that cuba produces.Unlike you I lived in Cuba for 26 years and I have practical knowledge about what is to live in Cuba and I can tell you that I never ate 44 oranges in any single year. not even 10 oranges a year in fact maybe some years I did not eat any. Because the Cuban regime exported all of them and when we were able to get a hold of some oranges usually they will be in very bad condition probably something they will not be able to sell to any other country because their people will never purchased such substandard and low quality product.
So is this the socialism you are trying to implement all over the world? One that does not care about their own citizens? Is this the equality you talk about?
I could choose other crops that are not as abundant as oranges or products and then the numbers of those products per person on earth will really get to be infinitesimal numbers. (Very very small numbers).
So you see John your theory of equal distribution does not really work for everyone on earth since some will be left with nothing. Do you know what they do in Cuba in such cases?They have priority grouping. The elite of the country gets first pick. That means they get the best doctors and medical care possible. They get the best food available in the country and so on. They have access to all the information and full access to internet etc. I could go on. They have their own cars even their children may enjoy much better status compare to normal cubans. Hey that does not look to me like the equality you were talking about. It looks to me like they replace money for power. So those in power are the new bourgeoisie with all kinds of privileges. To belong to this special class you need to be a supporter of their ideology. You need to be a supporter of those that hold the power and this have to be unconditional support. You will be ordered and you can not be critical. So you see John things are not so beautiful any more. This people are even worst that the bourgeoisie that you detest. Because they do not want people even dissenting. You could end up in prison when that happens.
So I hope that my words reach you John. I hope they could touch you and help you understand in some way  that socialism and communism are not the solution. Capitalism maybe bad but it is infinitely better as economical system than socialism ever was. Socialism have also being by design invariably link to totalitarian and authoritarian systems. Some say that it is imposible to have socialism without a totalitarian system in place. I guess we will never know.

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2 Comments

Filed under cuba, democracy, liberty

2 responses to “My 44 oranges and why socialism does not work

  1. john goodrich

    I was not referring to specific items like oranges but rather to food and all the other necessities for a good life . Of course there are not enough oranges, or bananas or lobsters or any single commodity to give each person on the planet a share thing but there IS enough food of all sorts to feed the world . Likewise there are enough material goods and services to provide a decent life for all of humanity IF the means of distribution did not hang on having a living wage job or the necessary money in a capitalist distribution system.

    There are no starving babies nor much malnutrition in Cuba strictly because of its socialist economy . Cuba is able to place 50th or so on the United Nation’s Human Development Index only because it has a socialist economy. Are there food shortages in Cuba? Sure there are, but not to the extent that food deprivation affects the poor in other developing countries where they die or are stunted physically and mentally because of that deprivation.

    Capitalism is a failure with tens of millions dying of starvation and preventable and curable diseases every year with not only no end in sight but with it worsening as the disparity between rich and poor grows .

    Even in the best of times there is no willingness in capitalist countries to work towards ending poverty and the suffering that goes with it. It is greed driven and enforces that sort of immorality on those who live under it.

    Capitalism depends on an ever expanding market and has about reached its limits. What now follows is massive unemployment , massive growth in poverty even as the numbers of millionaires and billionaires burgeons.
    Globalization of capitalism has evolved into a race to the bottom as slave wages in China and south east Asia force businesses to close in the rest of the world where US$5.00 per day is not a wage that is acceptable nor is it anywhere near a living wage.

    In the United States some 5% of the population controls some 80-90% of the wealth and this figure is growing. This is not only unsustainable it is incredibly and clearly immoral. In some of the poorer Third World countries there is an 80% poverty rate and those people barely survive and die by the millions on US$1-2 dollars a day.

    I cannot understand the thinking that those people are better off under a capitalist economy where scarce resources go in such large proportions to a relative handful while millions starve and live in perpetual misery and not in a country/society where the sharing of those same resources would provide a decent life for all.

    So called “reforms” of capitalist systems either do not achieve their intended aims or are short lived in almost every instance where they are attempted because capitalism is totalitarian and those with the wealth never share it willingly and usually also control the corrupted governments..

    Cuba has managed to survive and provide the basics of life to all its people despite a 50 year waged against it by the United States. This in itself is proof that socialism does indeed work.

    The Cuban system needs more democracy and less corruption but to throw out the gains of socialism and the solid democratic ideals behind Poder Popular and especially under duress from the Evil Empire is to betray the ideals of the revolution for a fistful of dollars for a relative handful of people.

    The future IS socialism, IS democracy and decidedly not the totalitarianism of top-down capitalism nor the false “democracy” that is multi-party electoral politics.

    You cannot both be for democracy and capitalism.

    True socialism requires democracy; worker control which Cuba at war for its very survival has put on hold.

    Let the United States stop its war to end socialism and normalize relations travel and trade between the two countries THEN…THEN we can talk about what works and what doesn’t

    The American Empire IS slowly collapsing. Its inability to oust leftist governments elected in Latin America and the near collapse of its industrial base and financial sectors is just the beginning.

    The fear of socialism in the hearts of the U.S oligarchs is what has driven U.S foreign policy for about 100 years and it is what drives the blockade on Cuba today.

    That Cuba’s socialism will be much more successful without the blockade is a sure thing given that the blockade has cost Cuba somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 billion dollars.

    Again, the blockade has corrupted democracy and day to day existence in Cuba but as the saying goes, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    And lastly, consider this: It is easier to fix the problems of Cuba’s socialist economy which is the future of the world and Poder Popular electoral system/government than it would be to go back to a capitalist economy which is failing worldwide and the eminently corruptible multi-party electoral system (both undemocratic) and try the impossible: making them work in the interests of ALL the people .

  2. Dear John Goodrich, here is my answer. Let us go slow to see if I can answer the questions and ideas you rose.

    “I was not referring to specific items like oranges but rather to food and all the other necessities for a good life.”

    I had to pick one item in particular of all the products that I could pick like I said before I picked oranges on purpose because it is something that Cuba produces so in that particular case you could not tell me. Julio they can not give oranges because they need to buy the oranges from some other country with money they do not have. So as you can see the same is also true for the great majority of products that Cuba produces, Lobster is another one. In all my life back in Cuba I only ate lobster one time. Because we were friends with some government fisherman that gave it to us for free. But lobster was something that they could sell and they do sell on the international markets.

    So for them it is more important to produce the hard currency that those products produce. But again where is all that money that is produced from these products that Cuba sell? I do not see anything new that could justify the new money they get so I can really tell you that things do not add up for me. Someone is stealing the money that Cubans workers produced. Again I have pointed in my writings before about the lack of transparency in the Cuban regime. For example tell me where I can find information about Cuba about how many lobsters they sell and how much money they get and just like that with anything? None of that information is available on purpose and I will claim that it is like that because those in power want to be able to skim from the top. Who and how much I do not know but we have seem how many times they have had to replaced people in high ranking positions.
    Now let us say that we are not talking about lobster or oranges. Let us say as you said that we are talking only about the products that are just basic for living. Let us say is enough rice and some meat and some vegetables and some fruits.
    Dear John, you do realize that Cubans have been living on less than that thru their ration system (Libreta de abastecimiento) for about 52 years! Right now the regime is saying enough is enough we cannot keep feeding all these pigeons that are doing nothing! (They did not say literally like that but very close to what I just said I can look for the exact quote if you like).
    So those products they used to get at lower prices that were more or less affordable for them considering their very low salaries (About 15 dollars a month on the average and 20 dollars on the best cases). So now all these “pigeons” will have to start spreading their wings and learn to fly solo because the paternalistic state that they created is crashing down. Now it cannot sustain itself! The matter is simple. You can not expend more than what you produced because eventually you go under the red line! See John, It is the same problem with every country. Governments will like to give us benefits because they are popular with the people. But the question always is. Where is the money to pay for those services and benefits going to come from? It has to come from somewhere and it comes from us who pay taxes or in the case of cuba from the implicit tax when they are not paid their full salary. You see those services the Cuban government claim to be free are not so.
    They are paid by the people of Cuba, the “free education” the “free health care” is all pay by the money not paid to the people of Cuba.

    Of course there are not enough oranges, or bananas or lobsters or any single commodity to give each person on the planet a share thing

    But dear John that is not exactly what you have claimed before. I am sorry for splitting hairs but allow me to quote you again here.

    “The fact is that there is enough of everything in the world for every human being to be afforded a decent and fulfilling life. The ONLY reason billions are denied that decent life is that we use capitalism as the means of distribution and not human need.”

    You said there is enough of everything. My simple calculation base on real data from an international organization shows that just that sentence is false. I went father. I show you what happen when there is a product that is scarce. The Cuban regimen creates this pyramid of people where the elite can have their pick first and then the ones that are directly under them after and so on. But Dear John I see no difference between that system and this one with regards to distribution. Some people can have whatever they want while some others have nothing. In the case of Cuba those are the bottom get nothing. Those at the top get whatever they want.

    Why?

    Well, because they have exchange money for power because the new money in Cuba is Power.

    Do you get that?

    So what I am claiming is that they are not any different than the bourgeoisie they are critical of. But they are actually worst that the bourgeoisie. I tell you why. Here in the US I can become bourgeoisie if I choose to and I get lucky with the businesses I create. There you have no chance to belong to the elite. Because to do that you first have to become a supporter of an ideology that you may not like, you may also have to do things that you may not like to do. Like obeying dictatorial commands even if you know that those commands could be wrong for the people of Cuba.
    So you see John. I prefer a system where I can be as critical as I want to be of that system. That allows the system itself to be improving. Over time their system have been going down and down. Ours is improving. I can buy for example much better computers now that I could 10 or 20 years ago and so on. So we can see the improvement. Computers themselves have also become more affordable over time. Competition doing the magic there! While if we only had their system. We would not know why an individual would want to have a computer let alone something like Internet? :-)
    Would you agree with me that those are good thing for all of us the people?

    but there IS enough food of all sorts to feed the world .

    This last statement is a different one. Now I will probably say yes to this one. Will also point out that many capitalism countries do expend a lot of money in poor countries for example in Africa. You can argue that maybe not enough and I could also say yes to that. But John we all can change that. If we ask the government here, hey you got to give them more and help them more than you do and if they say they have no money we can tell them. You need to expend less in wars.

    There are no starving babies nor much malnutrition in Cuba strictly because of its socialist economy.

    How do you know this? I could easily claim that Cuba lies on their statistical information.
    Is Cuban statistical information verified by some independent entity?
    You see John I know for fact they lie because they have done it in the past with other things. So is not difficult to imagine they do it all the time. Why? Because they like to have the international prestige and said like you do that they are on the 50th place or so on the Human Development Index. But what if I tell you that Cuba may also be in that place if it was a different system? If it was capitalism it may fair as good or maybe better?

    Are there food shortages in Cuba? Sure there are, but not to the extent that food deprivation affects the poor in other developing countries where they die or are stunted physically and mentally because of that deprivation.

    Again how do you know this?
    It is like God trusting the devil to tell about his own sins. Because this are very political topics for Cuba we really do not know for sure that the statistical information coming from Cuba is correct unless is verified by an organization that is independent from the Cuban regime.

    Capitalism is a failure with tens of millions dying of starvation and preventable and curable diseases every year with not only no end in sight but with it worsening as the disparity between rich and poor grows.

    I would have to go to one of these countries and analyze why it does not work for them. Maybe what is happening is that they have not implemented the system correctly. Let us go on facts.
    What we know is this.

    Capitalism does work in some countries. Actually a great number of countries, I can write the usual list. US, China, England, France, Italy, Canada, Germany, Japan, etc

    Now for each of them there is different implementations of capitalism. Different set of rules. But we can agree that people are allowed to form economical entities that are in some way independent from the government. That these economical entities should follow rules base on their original country.

    Even in the best of times there is no willingness in capitalist countries to work towards ending poverty and the suffering that goes with it. It is greed driven and enforces that sort of immorality on those who live under it.

    I said the above statement is not accurate. Countries got priorities. Those priorities in democratic countries are set by the elected officials that we pick, if you and me and many others we all start calling Congress and tell them where they should expend the money we paid in taxes they will have to listen to us because otherwise we can unseat them from their post and place someone who will listen.
    The function of government is to listen to the problems that citizen have and to solve them. Not to dictate to the people like to a slave what they want people to do. (That is the case of Cuba) In Cuba there is no listening at all. They only order and dictate from above to the slaves.

    Capitalism depends on an ever expanding market and has about reached its limits. What now follows is massive unemployment , massive growth in poverty even as the numbers of millionaires and billionaires burgeons.

    The way to solve this apparent contradiction is Innovation! That is why we see new products appearing all the time. Who would have know that we actually needed an iPod , iPhone or iPad?
    The answer is Steve Jobs and Apple. That is why they are the top technology company in the US. Companies that do not innovate they go down the drain. Just like socialism and their statism is going down the drain because they became resistant to the biggest agent of renovation.

    “CHANGE” anything that is not able to adapt will end existence. That is what happen to socialism in Eastern Europe and what will happen also to socialism in Cuba. The Chinese where a little smarted and they figure that socialist economy will not work so they swap their economy to be capitalistic while keeping a unique communist party in power. So is the combination of capitalism with no democracy. As we can see also that is not a good combination. Because the people on those societies are exploited more than in societies were capitalism is placed together with a democracy.

    Globalization of capitalism has evolved into a race to the bottom as slave wages in China and south east Asia force businesses to close in the rest of the world where US$5.00 per day is not a wage that is acceptable nor is it anywhere near a living wage.

    Dear John an average Cuban works for 15 dollars a month. Do you think this is fair, that they work for 50 cents of a dollar a day, much less than your 5 dollars a day, So you see, your system, the one you claimed before was better is even more exploitative than capitalism?
    From the economical point of view socialism does not work. It has been proof not to work not in one country but for any country it was tried on.

    In the United States some 5% of the population controls some 80-90% of the wealth and this figure is growing. This is not only unsustainable it is incredibly and clearly immoral. In some of the poorer Third World countries there is an 80% poverty rate and those people barely survive and die by the millions on US$1-2 dollars a day.

    John this I have discussed before. I am hoping you are familiar with elemental game theory. There are games what they called zero sum game. That is that when one person wins there is another that has to loose. What I can tell you is that yes that can happen in the capitalist system but there is also cooperative gaming where both can win. Furthermore let me said that I come up with a new idea. That idea is a marketable idea that I myself produced and sell. In that case I will be creating new money to the economy. The same way apple did when they invented the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

    The thing is that nobody has a monopoly on ideas.

    Those same iPod, IPhone or iPad could have been invented for example by electronic engineers in Cuba Please tell me why was it not? Or why can they not create all the new other products that we will see in the future?
    I have the answer but I like to listen to you first.

    I cannot understand the thinking that those people are better off under a capitalist economy where scarce resources go in such large proportions to a relative handful while millions starve and live in perpetual misery and not in a country/society where the sharing of those same resources would provide a decent life for all.

    John, but this same thing also happens in Cuba. Cuba is a “socialist” country. This is happening there too. How come you do not know this?

    So called “reforms” of capitalist systems either do not achieve their intended aims or are short lived in almost every instance where they are attempted because capitalism is totalitarian and those with the wealth never share it willingly and usually also control the corrupted governments..

    In what ways you call capitalism totalitarian? I like to know what you mean? Some goverments are corrupt and corruption does exists. Cuba who is a socialist country is also plague with corruption. So corruption is not a characteristic of the system but and attribute of any system that humans create. Let us say we can come up potentially with mechanisms to minimize it. But it will exist anywhere and any place. As for the wealthy, they pay more taxes than we pay.
    Do they pay enough?
    That is a different question. Many of them for example Bill Gates have contribute a lot from his personal fortune towards the foundation (Gates Foundation) taking care of problems like vaccination in poor countries and education. I can give more examples of wealthy people dedicated to help the less fortunate. I do not think people should just be given the money ready to expend. That just does not work. If you do that then you are promoting laziness. Better idea is provide free education for the best minds in poor countries at the best universities on the first world countries so that they could return and help their countries go forward.

    Cuba has managed to survive and provide the basics of life to all its people despite a 50 year waged against it by the United States. This in itself is proof that socialism does indeed work.

    John, I said this is another statement that you are making with shows lack of knowledge. Do you know how many Cubans will like to “scape” your socialist paradise back in Cuba? As I have explained before from outside if you only listen to the Cuban regime propaganda. Everything looks really rosy but the reality is very far from that. I can post videos here that are really very depressing about the life of the average Cuban. What Cubans had called “el cubano de a pie” The Cuban that walks.
    They called it like that because as you know those in leadership positions do get a car. I can tell you a lot of sad stories about those at the bottom for whom the revolution claimed to have been created.
    Let me just put it like this. The expectations of the average Cuban with regards to the revolution have never been attained.

    The Cuban system needs more democracy and less corruption but to throw out the gains of socialism and the solid democratic ideals behind Poder Popular and especially under duress from the Evil Empire is to betray the ideals of the revolution for a fistful of dollars for a relative handful of people.

    John again it does not work. They could have fixed all the issues they have now. 50 years ago, because they already have those issues 50 years ago. But there was no desire to fix them. Now 52 years later they still have those problems. For example water. Do you know that there is no water in Havana flowing thru the water pipes? Do you know this is a really old problem since the begingin of the revolution? Tell me. Why is this simple problem not solved? I will listen to your answer. I also have my answer to this. But again I like to listen to you first.

    The future IS socialism, IS democracy and decidedly not the totalitarianism of top-down capitalism nor the false “democracy” that is multi-party electoral politics.

    I agree that the future for the world is democracy but I believe you are mistaken in still believing in socialism will also be the future. Socialism as economical system simply does not work. As I mentioned it has been experimented with in many countries and failed in all of them.

    You cannot both be for democracy and capitalism.

    Yes you can. This great country United States where I live is an example of that. So is England, France and on and on.

    True socialism requires democracy; worker control which Cuba at war for its very survival has put on hold.’’

    This Cuba at war is been the idea sold by the leader to the rest of the world to explain their failures in the economy. The truth is that there is not such war. Show me the holes in the streets of Cuba done by American bombs? Show me one? If you are referring to the embargo as war, then I will say that each country have the right to choose the countries that they do business with. It is with countries as with person. You may decide to consider me your enemy just because I think very different than you do. But nevertheless you have many many other people whom you could consider your friend. This is the same for Cuba. Cuba does not need the US. Not the US need Cuba. The fact is that the eagle is not hunting for flies! (Aquila not captan musca a Roman proverb)

    Let the United States stop its war to end socialism and normalize relations travel and trade between the two countries THEN…THEN we can talk about what works and what doesn’t

    For different reasons I am also a proponent of the ending of the embargo and the elimination of the travel restrictions to Americans. My reasons are because I think that by doing so the regime at Havana will have no shield to defend itself anymore and will collapse.

    The American Empire IS slowly collapsing.
    I am sorry but every time I see this American Empire I have to smile. What American Empire are you referring to?

    Its inability to oust leftist governments elected in Latin America and the near collapse of its industrial base and financial sectors is just the beginning.
    Actually the Chavez government is turning more and more dictatorial and authoritarian by the day. We will see what happen. This is not over yet. We will see. If Venezuelan oil was not supporting the Cuban regime they would have a real hard time keeping things as they are.

    The fear of socialism in the hearts of the U.S oligarchs is what has driven U.S foreign policy for about 100 years and it is what drives the blockade on Cuba today.

    What fear? I see not fear. You perfectly know this country could militarily over take Cuba in a blink. Why has it not? Do you know? If it is as bad as you described? Before you could probably said that it was because of the Soviet Union. I think I have also the answer to this question but will like to listen to your answer first.
    That Cuba’s socialism will be much more successful without the blockade is a sure thing given that the blockade has cost Cuba somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 billion dollars.
    This is Cuban propaganda machine working. You cannot count the apples you never had in your basket my friend. That is what they have done when they come up with this number. Again for different reasons I think the embargo should be stop.

    Again, the blockade has corrupted democracy and day to day existence in Cuba but as the saying goes, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    What democracy? Cuban democracy? Are you kidding? Cuba has never been a democracy at least not in these 52 years or the prior Batista years. So now you blame the US for not having a democracy in Cuba? That is deep! How? Please explain.

    And lastly, consider this: It is easier to fix the problems of Cuba’s socialist economy which is the future of the world and Poder Popular electoral system/government than it would be to go back to a capitalist economy which is failing worldwide and the eminently corruptible multi-party electoral system (both undemocratic) and try the impossible: making them work in the interests of ALL the people.

    But John even the leaders of Cuba do not agree with you, if you have not heard. They are actually turning the boat towards capitalism. Well let me just say they are swapping from monopolistic state capitalism to a softer kind of capitalism where the state does not have full monopoly. So their leaders know already that socialism as it was did not work. They tried everything during the long 52 years and guess what. They are worst of now that when they started.
    People think they had their chance to fixed and they missed the boat a long time ago. So they have lost the trust of the people.
    I will wait for your answers.

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