‘Free Market’ Versus … Communism – Lessons from History

Go Lean Commentary

The member-states of the Caribbean are “in a pickle”.

We are “bleeding”; we are losing our populations more and more. Our people are emigrating away in search of greater prosperity. Many times, our people leave for lands that promote Free Market economic principles, as opposed to what we are currently promoting here in our region.

Every society needs to continuously grow; so population “bleeding” is a bad thing. We need to better compete. What systems are we promoting … officially or unofficially? Let’s discuss …

First, let’s talk about Free Market as an economic principle. This is the system in which the prices for goods and services are only determined by the open market and by consumers and not forcibly determined by local governments – centrally controlled – see the encyclopedic references in the Appendices below.

After some debate – 100 years – the judgment is that Free Market economies are more prosperous than centrally controlled economies, think Communist states. Even Russia, the former Head of the communist-bloc Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has transformed and is now a Free Market country. See the list here of “Countries by their GDP Rankings”:

In fact, few communist (pure socialist) states remain; think Laos, Vietnam, China and Cuba.

(China is a special consideration for this commentary – see below).

Cuba is not a Free Market economy, right now. But it might be soon. Cuba sera Libre!

Think back to 1959 in Cuba; truth be told, the United States of America really did not and does not care that much whether a society embraces central-controlled versus Free Market, Communism versus Capitalism. Just as long as governments do not take (nationalize) the assets that belong to Americans. (The US does huge business – Trade – with China, Vietnam and Laos; but Cuba alone remains in a trade embargo).

Truly, the problem in Cuba was the subsequent seizing of assets rather than the political – leftist – ideology. The seizing of  American businesses was in effect a de facto Act of War. (The US never engaged official warfare on Cuba because of the geo-political wrangling with the Soviet Union; the island remained a protectorate of that nuclear-armed Super Power; think Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962).

So as we contemplate the economic stewardship that exists in our Caribbean region now, this history should be front-and-center in our minds. (Cuba was not the first nor the last country to embrace leftist ideologies in the Caribbean; think Guyana, Antigua and Grenada. All these countries flirted with far extremes away from Free Market economies. Yet the US still  maintained a status quo in terms of diplomatic relations with them. (Leftist Grenada was invaded by the US in 1982 at the behest of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to rectify a military coup and for violating human and civil rights).

There is so much that the Caribbean can benefit from with a discussion on this history of Free Markets in this region; this is not just a dry lecture in economics, rather this is an energetic debate on the form of economic governance that the new Caribbean should be pursuing. In a recent blog-commentary regarding the American Big Box retailer Wal-Mart, the question was asked of a reader:

“Should the Caribbean economic stewards welcome Wal-Mart in the region?”.

The reader’s default answer was:

“No, they would imperil Main Street retailers”.

Such an innocent declaration is actually anti-Free Market. This scenario demonstrates why there is the need for this discussion – to better understand the economics and the history – in the following series of commentaries on the distinct differences of Free Market Versus … – see the related Music VIDEO in the Appendix below. This submission is entry 1-of-6 in a full series cataloged as follows:

  1. Free Market Versus: Communism – Can they both co-exist?
  2. Free Market Versus: China – Two systems at play in ‘Words and Actions’
  3. Free Market Versus: Socialism – Prevalent in the Caribbean
  4. Free Market Versus: Cooperatives
  5. Free Market Versus: Labor Unions – Junior Communists?
  6. Free Market Versus: Common Pool Resources – Simpler Cooperation

In this series, reference is made to the need for a comprehensive roadmap for elevating the societal engines of the Caribbean member-states. The book Go Lean…Caribbean – a roadmap for the implementation for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) – introduced a new roadmap by which Free Market exercises can exist and thrive right next door to alternative economic systems (i.e. central-controlled).

There is a lot for us to unwrap here.

This Go Lean strategy to consider is that of Self-Governing Entities (SGE). The book (Page 7) defines SGE’s as follows:

Bordered areas managed only under CU jurisdiction. These include Enterprise Zones, Industrial Parks, Technology Campuses, Medical Labs and others.

To better understand the co-existence of Self-Governing Entities, think of the military base that has been installed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 1898; referred to as GITMO. Even though it is located physically in the Caribbean nation, it is 100% sovereign territory of the United States, legally established by a treaty – the 1903 Cuban–American Treaty of Relations. The Go Lean book (Page 177), in discussing the Justice requirements for a new Caribbean regime, details this background of this GITMO venue as follows:

The Bottom Line on Guantánamo Bay
Guantánamo Bay is a natural harbor, with superior attributes, south of the city of Guantánamo, in Eastern Cuba.

The harbor has been controlled by the United States as the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base since 1902, following the Platt Amendment decree. It is the site of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Control over the naval base was granted to the US in partial compensation for the sacrifices made by US military in obtaining Cuba’s independence from Spain, something which the Cuban people had been unable to do for themselves. The detention camp is a detainment and interrogation (with torture tactics) complex established in January 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees that have been connected with opponents in the Global War on Terror. The military prison relevance is in itself controversial, as the February 1903 lease states that the US is allowed “generally to do any and all things necessary to fit the premises for use as coaling or naval stations only, and for no other purpose”. In 2007, Camp Justice was the informal name granted to the complex where Guantánamo captives would face charges before the Guantanamo military commissions.

So while one justice standard exists along-side another justice standard (US Military versus Cuba), can we truly expect a parallel structure with economics?

Absolutely! This is the very strategy of SGE’s for economic empowerment in the region.

Also, we have “it” now … already in place. (The “it” refers to alternating yet parallel economic systems).

Consider cruise ship commerce

… while food and beverage is free for cruise ship passengers, hard alcohol is a premium charge. While cruise ships are in port in the different Caribbean member-states, they are not required to abide by local alcohol sales policies and regulations: drinking age, excessive drinking guidelines, no sales tax or VAT compliance. The cruise ships, operating under Maritime Laws can operate on the ship autonomously of local governments. The cruise ship, under this scenario, is a Self-Governing Entity.

Cruise ships do service the port cities in Cuba.

So yes, SGE’s can promote Free Market schemes, right along side communist regimes.

Are we encouraging communism? Are we tolerating societal defects and dysfunctions?

No … and No!

We simply realize that changing governing policies is not so easy and straight forward. Cuba has continued voluntarily with their communist priorities despite failures for 60 years. (It will take a Marshall Plan-type effort to reform their societal engines). The Go Lean book states (Page 4) that …

… the CU is a loose confederation, identified as a Trade Federation. There is no expectation of sovereignty with this entity, so a commitment to the goals and aspirations of this Federation must be voluntary.

Plus, if we are insinuating that communism is bad, truth be told, capitalism has a lot of defects too. For example, the crony-capitalism and institutional racism in American and Western European societies have been duly documented and lamented; (remember the derisive term: Plutocracy and references to “Foreign Investors as Dragons“).

There is no one perfect society.

The “co-exist strategy of SGE’s” may be ideal.

This theme – carefully balancing capitalism – aligns with many previous Go Lean commentaries; see a sample list here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=16000 Getting ‘Out of the Way’ of Local Economic Empowerment
Good Governance must reflect shepherding and oversight with an eye towards local needs, not just some distant economic controller. Growing the economy must include local economic empowerment as well, a reflection on the supply and demand of the marketplace.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2338 Welcoming the Dreaded ‘Plutocracy’
A mono-industrial economy creates a reality for industrial-corporate titans can have abusive effect on the societal engines in a community.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=11057 Managing the ‘Strong versus the Weak’ – Book Review: Sold-Out!
Wealthy business interests try to control everything and make all the important decisions, so that they can get ‘more for themselves and less for everybody else’.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7372 Media Fantasies versus Weather Realities
There is some “bad intent” in the American media eco-system. Many believe that media hype over weather forecasts spurs retail spending (surplus food, gasoline, generators, and firewood) to benefit companies that contract media purchases (advertising) with the media outlets.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6819 The … Downside of ‘Western’ Diets
American food standards (Standard American Diet = SAD) is notorious for many physical-medical and mental repercussions. Many times the motivation is crony-capitalistic. We want to do better in our homeland.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5993 Carnival Cruise Lines to ban carry-on bottled beverages
Cruise lines rarely conform to labor, anti-trust and competition laws. Mandating bottled beverages to be exclusively delivered by the merchant ship is just one more example of their crony-capitalism.

Free Market capitalism versus …

(See Music VIDEO in the Appendix below).

The Caribbean region is urged to simply do better, to not just lean left (towards communism) or right (towards pure capitalism), but rather to pursue what is best for the Greater Good. This is defined as:

“It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong”. – Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832)

All in all, our economic, security and political structures are defective and deficient, we must reboot and reform our society. There are role models to the left – think China – and to the right – think Iceland – where communities have succeeded in elevating their societal engines. Despite initial appearances, the “grass is not necessarily greener on the other side”, on these foreign shores; they should not be considered the panacea of our ills; nor should emigrating there be considered the destination of our hopes and dreams.

We must work on our Caribbean Dreams right here at home. We must study and observe these ‘other communities’. We can then deploy the best-practices we glean. Much is at stake; we must dissuade our young people from abandoning our beautiful homeland, as they are our most precious resource.

This is the quest of the Go Lean roadmap. We want to make our homeland a better place to live, work and play.

We hereby urge the people and governing institutions in the region to lean-in for the empowerments described here in the book Go Lean … Caribbean.  🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix – Reference: Free Market
In economics, a free market is a system in which the prices for goods and services are determined by the open market and by consumers. In a free market, the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government or other authority and from all forms of economic privilege, monopolies and artificial scarcities.[1] Proponents of the concept of free market contrast it with a regulated market in which a government intervenes in supply and demand through various methods such as tariffs used to restrict trade and to protect the local economy. In an idealized free-market economy, prices for goods and services are set freely by the forces of supply and demand and are allowed to reach their point of equilibrium without intervention by government policy. [Consider images here of Equilibrium curves for coffee and for gasoline].

Scholars contrast the concept of a free market with the concept of a coordinated market in fields of study such as political economynew institutional economicseconomic sociology and political science. All of these fields emphasize the importance in currently existing market systems of rule-making institutions external to the simple forces of supply and demand which create space for those forces to operate to control productive output and distribution. Although free markets are commonly associated with capitalism within a market economy in contemporary usage and popular culture, free markets have also been advocated by anarchistssocialists and some proponents of cooperatives and advocates of profit sharing.[2] Criticism of the theoretical concept may regard systems with significant market powerinequality of bargaining power, or information asymmetry as less than free, with regulation being necessary to control those imbalances in order to allow markets to function more efficiently as well as produce more desirable social outcomes.


Source: Retrieved June 11, 2019 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_market


Appendix VIDEO – CAPITALISM VS. SOCIALISM SONG | Economics & Politics Music Video – https://youtu.be/23p1AYq8jBA

Premiered Mar 4, 2019 – Excerpts of Lyrics:

“Systems with different ideas, opposite of each other
Both argue they manage production and resources better
But most modern countries use both systems blended together
Mixed economies, mixed economies …”

Lyrics and performance by Jam Campus
Instrumental composition by: https://www.fiverr.com/napbak

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