Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Cuba and Europe

Posted by Jerry on June 4, 2007

Two very interesting articles have appeared in the Arts & Letters Daily: one is an inside look into daily life in the communist island of Cuba and the search for the reasons Westerners tend to romanticize life there; the second is an article about the slow but certain demise of Europe as a cultural and economic power and the reasons for this.

The article on Cuba is a very interesting; indeed, I was getting very indecisive about selecting an excerpt from the article–there is so much that is important and worthy of quoting. Nonetheless, here’s a passage I thought captures a large part of the article’s message:

There are plenty of visitors to Cuba from rich countries (including a disproportionate number from Britain) who believe they have encountered a true alternative to capitalist democracy. Why? Perhaps it is a way of keeping alive the idea of some ideal society, without having to experience the disadvantages oneself. It may also be a facet of a general dislike of the US, or a way of expressing unease with capitalist excesses. But it is also, in all probability, related to a nostalgia for the political certainties and the handsome design of the 1950s and before: the cars, the bars and the glamour. It is not for nothing that Cuba sells itself with the music of the pre-revolutionary period. If North Korea had charm and salsa and innuendo and beaches, perhaps a lot of politically naive people would be advocating its merits too.

The article on the demise of European power on the global stage is also very compelling. Here’s an excerpt:

In the economic field, Europe is celebrating a growth rate of 2.5% annually; in the U.S. a similar pace is regarded as a crisis. Meanwhile unemployment remains brutally high and productivity stagnant. Mr. Laqueur notes that Europeans sometimes embrace their economic sluggishness as part of their “soft power” appeal: all those 35-hour weeks, long vacations and generous social benefits. But the long-term cost of their welfare states–and their confiscatory tax rates–may eventually make such luxuries unaffordable.

I don’t think I need to explicitly state the obvious common theme between the current conditions in Cuba and Europe. I only wonder when will people begin acknowledging the moral and productive superiority of the capitalist system and firmly reject all other immoral, impotent systems.

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One Response to “Cuba and Europe”

  1. Ergo said

    On the topic of Cuba, this article from Human Events.com talked about the recent NBC Today’s show hosted by Matt Lauer from Havana, Cuba. Of course, Matt and the popular media along with every leftist blames the American embargo on Cuba for the pitiful condition that the island nation finds itself in.
    But here’s some interesting tidbit from the Human Events article:
    “The Paris-based Reporters without Borders documents that 20% of the world’s jailed journalists (Matt and Andrea’s colleagues, you might think) languish in Cuba’s prisons.
    It was fun watching Matt and Andrea [Andrea is the wife of ex-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan] decrying an impeccable “U.S. blockade” of Cuba during a show from Cuba where the backdrop consisted of smiling tourists from all over the world (including the U.S.) holding up signs and waving.
    It was fun listening to Andrea, wife of former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman (and early Ayn Rand disciple) Alan Greenspan, explain that Communist economics had nothing to do with Cuba’s crumbling buildings. Instead that “U.S. embargo” was the culprit. For the record, the U.S. is currently Cuba’s number one food supplier and 4th biggest trading partner, while Cuba trades with every nation on earth. As Andrea and Matt spoke from Havana, trade delegations from 24 of the 52 United States were also in Havana attending a trade fair and signing trade deals. The only thing the so-called embargo mandates nowadays is that Cuba’s Stalinists pay U.S. vendors in cash. No credit. (Cuba’s credit rating, according to Dun & Bradstreet, is lower than Somalia’s, by the way.)
    So it was fun listening to the wife of one of the world’s most famous and powerful economists imply that paint, cement and spackle are only available in the U.S. and not available with payments of cash.”

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