Glorious Socialism: Average Cuban worker today earns 40 times less than his grandfather

Another glorious socialist achievement of the communist Castro revolution in Cuba.

Roberto Alvarez Quiñones in Diario de Cuba:

The average Cuban worker’s grandfather earned 40 times more than his grandson

If a radical militant leftist in Latin America, Europe or anywhere in the world were asked if he would be willing to live on a salary of $28 a month, he would think it was a joke.

But it’s not. In the mecca of the Americas’ left, Castroist Cuba, that is the average salary today, in a country that in 1958 boasted among the highest average salaries in the Americas, and ranked eighth in the world.

The year before the Castroist assault on power, Cuban industrial workers earned six dollars a day for an eight-hour day, and an agricultural worker, three dollars, figures duly registered in the statistics of the International Labor Organization (ILO), of the ONU.

That is, the salary of a Cuban industrial worker 60 years ago was $130 per month (the result of multiplying 30 weeks by 52 and then dividing by 12 months). That of agricultural workers was half that: 65 dollars monthly. And it is worth remembering that at that time the Cuban peso was on a par with the dollar, instantly exchangeable for it.

Of course, nobody in Cuba knows (he can’t find out) that in 1958 that salary of six dollars a day was actually the eighth highest in the world, behind the US (16.80 dollars), Canada (11.73), Sweden (8.10), Switzerland (8.00) , New Zealand (6.72), Denmark (6.46), and Norway (6.10). The figures ILO’s figures attest to this.

The salary of three dollars a day for Cuban agricultural workers, meanwhile, was the seventh highest in the world, after Canada (7.18 dollars), New Zealand (6.72), Australia (6.61), USA (6.80), Sweden (5.47), and Norway (4.38).

Of particular note is the fact that a 1958 dollar was equivalent to 8.68 dollars in 2018. Its purchasing power was nine times greater than today’s dollar, according to the website El dinero en el tiempo (Money Over Time), after applying the appropriate formulas and taking into account the average inflation rate of 3.67% over these 60 years.

That is to say, in 1958 the working grandfather, “exploited” by the bourgeoisie, earned some $1,128 per month in today’s money. 60 years later, his socialist worker grandson earns 27.92 dollars a month (670 pesos), a revelation made by his own National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI), in 2017. In Haiti, it is more than double that ($59).

Paying 794 dollars for a kilogram of chicken breast

In 1958, not only was the nominal salary of Cubans five times higher than today, but their real salaries were infinitely higher, taking into account the salary/price relationship then in place.

At that time prices in Cuba and the US were very similar. Therefore, it is worth knowing that in 1958 in the US, with an average salary of $364 per month, one pound of steak cost 75 cents; a liter of milk, 20 cents; a 14-oz. bag of Uncle Ben rice, 19 cents; one loaf of bread, 19 cents, one gallon of gasoline, 24 cents; a postage stamp, four cents.

A simple Ford car cost $1,967; an average three-bedroom house, $10,450; travelling on a cruise ship from Havana to Miami, $42 per person. And, for two dollars you could attend a game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

The contrast is absolutely stunning. At Cuba‘s grocery stores, according to an official list of prices published by Cybercuba, a kilogram of chicken breast with skin and bone costs between 3.80 and 4.50 dollars. One kilogram of second-rate beef: 4.20 to 5.20 dollars. To buy a 2013 Peugeot a Cuban and his descendants must work for 783 years (until the 24th century) to cover the cost: 263,185 dollars.

With those Castroist prices applied to the US, with a per capita income of $4,961 per month in 2017 (according to the World Bank), a consumer from Idaho or California would have to pay $794 to acquire a kilogram of chicken breast with bone and skin. Not even Kafka would have been able to imagine something like this.

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