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Richard Feinberg on New Laws for Cuban Co-ops

New Laws for Cuban Co-ops Seen as Economic Progress

12/12/2012
Damien Cave, New York Times

The Cuban government authorized a wide range of co-ops on Tuesday, allowing workers to collectively open new businesses or take over existing state-run businesses in construction, transportation and other industries.

The new laws published Tuesday are the latest step in a slow, fitful process of opening Cuba’s economy to free-market ideas. The latest announcement calls for the creation of more than 200 co-ops as part of a pilot program. If it grows, analysts said, the experiment could do more for economic growth and productivity than earlier efforts to allow for self-employment, or to reform agriculture.

Co-ops that are run independent from the government could shift a large portion of the island’s economy to free-market competition from government-managed socialism, analysts contend, a change from earlier co-op efforts within state-run agriculture.

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Richard Feinberg is Professor of International Political Economy at IR/PS. He can comment on U.S. foreign policy matters, notably with regard to Latin America and Asia, and business and economic matters. Feinberg is an authority on U.S. foreign policy, multilateral institutions (IMF, World Bank, NAFTA) and summitry (APEC, Summitry in the Americas, G-8). He is an expert on trade and investment, globalization, democratization and non-governmental organizations.