Monday, December 20, 2010

Be a good communist, support your local entrepreneur

“Continuing about the need for a change in thinking, I’ll mention an example: If we have reached the conclusion that entrepreneurship [trabajo por cuenta propia] constitutes one more employment option for citizens of working age, having the purpose of increasing the supply of goods and services to the public and freeing the state of those activities so as to concentrate on what is truly decisive, then what the party and government must do in the first place is to facilitate this form of work and not to generate stigmas or prejudices against them, much less demonize them – and for this it is fundamental to change the negative views that more than a few of us hold toward this form of private work.”

– President Raul Castro addressing Cuba’s legislature last Saturday. Trabajo por cuenta propia is the Cuban government’s term for licensed entrepreneurship. It is mainly self-employment, consisting almost entirely of one-person businesses, but Cuban law was changed this year to allow entrepreneurs to hire employees. As Cuba begins large cuts in public payrolls, the government is now encouraging entrepreneurship. Since late October the number of entrepreneurs has grown by 33 percent as 46,000 new licenses have been issued.

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