The Algorithms of Ideology in Economic Planning: A Critical Look at Cuba's National Economic and Social Development Plan 2030, with a Focus on the Pharma Sector

ASCE Conference July 2017

29 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2017  

Larry Catá Backer

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law

Date Written: July 19, 2017

Abstract

The development plans of Marxist Leninist states are usually given short shrift as expressions of ideology (at best) and propaganda (at its most pathetic).  Yet there is value in considering critically these development plans, if only to get a sense of the mindset of high level functionaries with control over macro-economic policy, and to get a sense of the administrative cultures within which governmental middle managers will actually exercise discretionary authority. Especially useful in that context is the Cuban Communist Party 7th Congress’s Conceptualización del modelo económico y social Cubano de desarrollo socialista: Plan nacional de desarrollo económico y social hasta 2030: Propuesta de vision de la nación, ejes y sectores estratégicos in which the PCC posited that development can be better managed by rejecting the central role of markets, and substituting state planning in its place, taking an all around view of economic planning as inextricably bound up in social, political and cultural progress of a nation. The resulting structural proposal elaborated in the Cuban National Economic and Social Development Plan 2030 (PNDES) suggests behavior and choice algorithms with interesting implications even if only partially realized. It is particularly important as a vision for transition developed in the wake of anticipated changes in higher leadership and the effects of normalization with the United States. This essay critically considers PNDES in the current context national and regional context. It starts with a brief analysis of PNDES for what it can reveal about entrenched ideological perspectives that shape decision making and analysis within Cuban Party and administrative elites.  It then considers the way these appear to manifest themselves as a set of self-referencing decision systems that substitute or supplant market or regulatory determinations. Those premises are tested against Cuban approaches to the pharma sector, among the most important targets of centrally planned development. The essay ends with an assessment of the consequences of Cuban current approaches for national and regional affairs.

Keywords: pharmaseutical industry, cuba, foreign direct investment, SOE, central planning, marxist models, markets

JEL Classification: A13, B24, C54, E11, K23, K49, L65, O54, P21, P26, P37, Z18

Suggested Citation

Backer, Larry Catá, The Algorithms of Ideology in Economic Planning: A Critical Look at Cuba's National Economic and Social Development Plan 2030, with a Focus on the Pharma Sector (July 19, 2017). ASCE Conference July 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3005613

Larry Catá Backer (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law ( email )

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

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