The Cuban Situation and the ‘Fallacy of the Broken Window’

Ernesto Hernandez Busto at Penúltimos Días:

The Cuban Situation and the ‘Fallacy of the Broken Window’

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One of the collateral effects of the Raúl Castro’s regime and its program of economic reforms, is the passion for self-deception it arouses on the other side of the Florida Straits. I recently watched a speech by Carlos Saladrigas and asked myself is there is no one capable of telling this gentleman that his enthusiasm for the Cuban “opportunity” is nothing more than a nostalgic mirage disguised as common sense.

The mirage takes on mutant forms, and the most recurrent in recent months seems to be the argument of money as a liberator. That is, in my judgment, a metamorphosis of the famous Fallacy of the Broken Window, so well explained in “conservative” thought. Let’s see: it all starts with a catastrophe or an act of destruction. In this we see (a posteriori) a future economic benefit. The neighbors who get together to discuss the baker’s broken window look a lot like the lobby that today defends the Cuban crisis as a business opportunity. If you think about it — they assure many entrepreneurs — perhaps the current Cuban disaster isn’t such a bad thing. Because it means that everything needs to be done, that free enterprise is about to substitute for the role of the political authority, and that as a part of this process of state capitalism, Cubans will be able to get dollars, and even spend them, which satisfies those advocates of the perfect investment, for whom the greatest possible freedom is the freedom to invest.

The initial act of thuggery — that is the Cuban Revolution — now begins to be seen as a stimulus to the economy, and self-employment as equal to “job creation,” protocapitalism, “the right path,” etc. All this semi-pragmatic opining, ostentatious or discrete, is nothing more than judging the dismal situation of the island from a moral perspective, instantaneously effective, cheap and abstract.

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