Re: Economist slips up over Venezuela

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Thu Sep 23 2004 - 01:47:32 EDT

At 17:34 22/09/2004, Rakesh wrote:

>>but ...thats    the problem  with  happily  quoting the millionaires
>>editorials so uncritically.
>I don't think I did. I did send an analysis by James Petras to which
>Michael L replied by pointing to Petras' criticisms of Cuba's recent
>economic policies. ? I don't think you had anything to say about it. ?

Just for the record--- the 'Rectification' period began in 1986 and marked
a rejection of the exclusive emphasis on material incentives characteristic
of the Soviet economic model that had been installed and instead a focus on
a return to Che's ideas. Among other things, it involved the resurrection
of microbrigades, which had been discontinued as 'inefficient', and the
encouragement of voluntary labour. Petras' idiosyncratic analysis was that
the discouragement of work that was yielding bonuses but no use-values
(such a familiar characteristic of Soviet bonus structures) and the stress
on moral incentives was speed-up, wage-cutting and neoliberalism meant to
prepare Cuba to compete in the world market. My point was that I give his
interpretation of what is happening in Venezuela the weight it deserves.
PS. the Rectification period unfortunately was supplanted by 'the special
period' once Cuba lost 80% of its trade.
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office Fax:   (604) 291-5944
Home:   Phone (604) 689-9510

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