Friday, July 30, 2010

“We should focus on what works and what does not work”

Palabra Nueva, the magazine of the Havana archdiocese that circulates throughout Cuba, includes in its July/August issue a strong call for economic liberalization from its editor, Orlando Marquez.

The article, “On Liberty and Liberalization,” is here and as usual, Cuban Colada has done a great service by translating a big chunk of the text.

Once he gets through some personal observations about freedom based on his travels, and once he asserts that basic rights are God-given, Marquez’ argument – in favor of self-employment, freedom to buy and sell homes and cars, and more – is framed in opposition to “paternalism.”

Senior Cuban officials have argued against paternalism too, usually to push citizens to stop expecting the state to provide subsidies and benefits that may soon be on the chopping block. (See this example from the editor of Granma.) Marquez argues not against the paternalism of excessive state benefits, but against that of excessive state restrictions that make so many kinds of enterprise and transactions illegal.

It’s interesting to read this article at a time when the government itself is reviewing economic policies. It’s also interesting in the context of assertions that Cubans have no source of information except state media, or that the Church never stands up for the average Cuban.

No comments: