Monday, December 29, 2014

"How much economic potential does Cuba have?"

From Marginal Revolution:
I’m not one of those who thinks Cuba is the next Singapore or even the next Puerto Rico. Why not?

I’m willing to assume that the end of the American embargo will mean some kind of economic liberalization over the next ten years. But how much good will that bring?

We could start by looking for relevant comparisons. We could ask how well have non-British-ruled, non-Dutch-ruled, non-American-ruled Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands done? There is a fairly clear example of such a country with some ethnic, cultural, historic, and linguistic similarities to Cuba, namely the Dominican Republic. For non-PPP-adjusted gdp per capita, the D.R. clocks in at about $5800 per year. And that is about where I think Cuba will end up, after a good bit of turmoil.

Now various official sources put Cuban per capita gdp (again, non-PPP-adjusted) at about that same level. That is highly misleading, and yes I have been to both countries. (Other countries at that level don’t have so many hungry people or so many women selling their bodies to tourists.) In any case I expect Cuban reforms, along with a good bit of additional deindustrialization from U.S. competition, to bring a short-run gdp dip, with an eventual climb into a D.R.-like economy, albeit with big bumps along the way.

Here are a few additional points:

1. The Caribbean in general has done very poorly since the economic crisis of 2008. Most of it does not show signs of bouncing back. ...MUCH MORE
Well duh.
I didn't understand all the econ/financial/investment rhapsodizing upon the December 17th announcements.
If there was any econ/business value there don't you think Canada or Germany or China might have pursued it?