Socialism in Action: Cubans pay twice as much as the rest of the world for televisions of inferior quality

A Chinese made RCA TV on sale in Havana.

Under socialism, the State controls the economy and prices. There is no supply and demand and consumers are at the mercy of a dictatorship’s bureaucrats who arbitrarily decide what something is worth and who can have it. That is socialism in action.

In Cuba, where the socialist dictatorship controls everything, Cubans pay twice as much as the rest of the world for inferior televisions lacking USB ports, digital TV antennas, and internet connectivity.

Via Havana Times:

Socialist Cuba sells TVs to the Working Population

After a year-long absence, many Havana shopping centers are selling flat screen TVs again. Before, the most sought-after model (32-inches) had run out or under the dust of existing models, cost so much that it encouraged people to personally import them in bulk from neighboring countries.

The Carlos III shopping center in Havana is selling 32-inch LED screen RCA TVs, manufactured by a Chinese company, at the “reduced” price of 299.95 convertible pesos (CUC) per unit. The new load for sale is almost 200 CUC cheaper than similar models which were sold for 498.95 CUC (= to USD) on the national market, in a country where the average wage is around 25 CUC per month.

Readers who are unaware of the details of Cuba’s buying and selling system, would say two things: 1) What a discount! 2) If you look at the figures, this market seems to work really well, right?

Both of these conclusions are wrong. For example, in Miami, if a leading brand, Samsung, were to send a TV with the same specifications, in addition to a USB port and a set-top box for digital TV reception (both of these services aren’t offered with the above-mentioned RCAs), it would cost 170-200 USD, cash, depending on where you bought it.

And in reference to the second point, well, there’s nothing further from the truth than prices in Cuba. These are directly set by bureaucrats at the Ministry of Finances and Prices and fractions serve as a way to give a fuller and more competent image to the national market when the reality is that prices are set outside of supply and demand.

Retired IMF economist, Joaquin Pujol warns the following:

“It’s crazy to have to go and buy in Haiti or Guyana what you could perfectly buy in your own country, because you can’t import it directly, you have to do this by traveling as a tourist, which greatly increases the costs of these imports.”

It’s true, brands which are the same as China’s RCA (for example, Toshiba) can be bought outside of Cuba for approximately 120 USD. If there was a wholesale importer, this would clearly cost a lot less. Why are they then selling TVs for three times their worth at stores in Havana?

The monopoly state enforces its advantages above caring about the working population’s sacrifices, which is who they say they represent.

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