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The Proletarian Corporation: Organizing Cuban Economic Enterprises in the Wake of the Lineamientos — Property Rights between Corporation, Cooperatives and Globalization

Presentation made at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy, Miami, Florida, August 3, 2012.


POWER POINT: ASCEOrganizingEconEnterprisesPP8-2012


Abstract: Since the 1970s, the issue of the relationship between productive property, the state and the individual has been contested in Marxist Leninist states. While China has moved to a more managerial form of relationship, states like Cuba continue to adhere to more strict principles of state control of productive property. However, in the face of recent financial upheavals and Cuba’s long effort to create alternative forms of regional economic engagement, Cuba’s approach to economic regulation has been undergoing limited change. This essay considers the form and scope of Cuban approaches to economic reorganization in the wake of the Lineamientos. Focusing on the re-examination of the relationship of individuals to productive property, it considers Cuba’s efforts to develop theories of economic activity that limit the availability of the corporate form to the state but makes available alternatives to individuals, and principally the cooperative. The essay first considers the current development and structure of economic organization in Cuba, focusing on corporations, cooperatives and sole proprietorships. It then considers the Cuban cooperative in more depth as an effort to theorize a proletarian corporation, one in which ownership is based on the supply of labor rather than of capital. It ends with an examination of the cooperative in the context of Cuban efforts to internationalize its approach to state-centered transnational economic activity through vehicles such as the Alianza Bolivariana (ALBA).