Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Fidel Castro’s Communist Utopia - WSJ

If you want to see the difference, literally (and I mean literally!), between socialism and capitalism in practice have a look at the satellite picture at night of the Korean Peninsula. The South is a blaze of light. The north has a little pinprick of light at its capital Pyongyang. (The fat prick's pinprick:  Kim Jong-un's nickname in Chinese is "Fatty the Third"). 
I have the temporal equivalent of that geographic snapshot. It's China when I first went there in the mid 70s while it was still "Cultural Revolution" time, in thrall to Marxism-Leninism. Studying there as I was, I had to get food and clothing like the locals and that meant getting ration tickets and lining up. Look at China now. There is nothing you can't buy. And the average Chinese is earning ten times what a senior official was earning in the 60s and 70s. The difference? Just ideology. The first period was communist. The second period was (and is) capitalist (thought to save face the Chinese called it "socialism with Chinese characteristics"). 
And in this Wall Street Journal article, Fidel Castro's Communist Utopia, they make the same point. Look at Cubans in Cuba. Then look at Cubans who fled to the United States (some 2 million of a population of 10 million). Same people. Different ideologies. Which is better off? The ones in the United States by a long way. Average monthly wages in Cuba are $US 20. In the US, it's $US 2,000, one hundred times more. 
And don't give me that guff about how Fidel gave Cuba great education and health systems. First,  good education and health care predated Castro.  Second, they're not so great anyway (doctors get $US20/month, and hospitals are falling apart). Third, even if they were as great as the left would have us belive, that would not excuse Castro's gross violations of human rights.  Many countries have good medical and education systems, without dictatorship.  Singapore, for example.
Basically, Castro backed the wrong horse. If he'd gone for the US instead of the Soviet Union Cubans would now be as rich as their American co-nationals. But despite this gross strategic error, Castro is forgiven all by the left. As I'm seeing now on CNN and has been the case in BBC since the beginning.