Castro, communism and capitalism
Posted: September 12, 2010 – 12:20am
Atlantic Monthly reporter Jeffrey Goldberg recently traveled to Havana,
Cuba, at the request of former Cuban President Fidel Castro for a rare
The results of the interview are interesting. Castro told Goldberg that
communism no longer works for Cuba. Or did he?
After Goldberg's story broke and gained U.S. attention, Castro said
Friday that his comment was misinterpreted, though he admits saying what
Instead, Castro said he meant to say that capitalism does not work, not
Goldberg reported that he asked Castro if Cuba's model of government was
worth "exporting to other countries."
Castro told him no. "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore."
Castro explained that his comments were misunderstood, and added Friday
that "the capitalist system now doesn't work either for the United
States or the world, driving it from crisis to crisis, which are each
time more serious."
How a reporter was supposed to derive that meaning from his earlier
comments are beyond us, but perhaps Castro's backpedaling from his
previous comments because he's catching heck for it back home.
But the notion that capitalism isn't a successful economic model is
One thing Castro failed to mention is that he's now comparing apples to
oranges. While communism is a model of government, capitalism is an
economic model. Even some communist governments see the benefits of
capitalism, i.e. China.
But Castro is right about the United States' capitalist system
occasionally breaking down, though the fallouts have hardly been the
system's fault. It's the fault of various changes that reduce or
eliminate regulations and allow a free-for-all with little restriction
and no consequences.
We shouldn't have to explain that capitalism works. The proof is in the
years our country has prospered, which far surpass the years we've been
in economic crisis.
Our current economic crisis wasn't created by capitalism, but instead by
allowing those within that system to deal in ways that backfired. Add to
the mix two expensive wars that have drained our economy, and we had the
makings of a recession.
Now we're all feeling it.
Regardless of what Castro thinks, capitalism works best for us. It
provide a free market place that encourages innovation and creativity
and an opportunity, not a guarantee, to succeed. And if well regulated
to keep ideas and practices in check, it's successful for most everyone.
But that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement.
We're experiencing now what happens when allow too much leeway in our
system. After years of poor government oversight and unwise and
sometimes greedy business practices, we've crippled our system. But the
beauty of that system is that we have the power to improve it. We can
climb out of our recession and improve our standings. Countries like
Cuba and North Korea don't have that luxury.
Castro may have meant to say something else. But he wouldn't have told
Goldberg that Cuba's system is failing its people if he didn't mean it.
And if the communist system was working well for Cuba, we wouldn't be
seeing the social and economic reforms taking place under his brother's