Friday, April 27, 2007


They repair watches, deliver messages, create art, fix locks, drive taxis, obey the law, sell books, provide lodging, serve meals, patch tires, skirt the law, shine shoes, do carpentry, make ice cream, sew clothing, break the law, and more.

And they hustle, keeping their earnings to themselves.

How are Cuba’s entrepreneurs faring these days?

In four words: down but not out.

In about 7,000 words: a report (pdf) based on talks with Cubans from one end of the island to the other.

1 comment:

leftside said...

I wish I had your job Peters... a very interesting report.

BUT as the report shows, the incomes of cuentopropistas is, on average, several times that of the average Cuban worker. How can a government who's legitimacy is so dependent on maintaining a level of social justice allow such inequality to expand further? Your report gives a few ways Cubans could loosen up the rules to make private enterprise even more profitable, but that is not the necessity. The trick, it seems to me, is to broaden the number of those legal enterprises, but to keep the net incomes more in line with the rest of society by reconfiguring the tax system to be progressively based on actual net income.