Cuban Ambassador spurns the free market for gasoline

First Published: 2005-11-11

The Free Press as a forum for the exchange of differing opinions contributes to constitutional democracy as it creates an appetite for truth. Over time it builds trust in government and institutions.

As a case in point the PetroCaribe issue has attracted numerous suggestions for reducing the cost of gasoline, some of which fail to take into consideration the role of markets in supplying products.

Even the Cuban Ambassador is quoted in a recent Tribune. His recommendation calls for government to purchase fuel from a single supplier and to "eliminate" intermediaries. (Distributors).

In other words the supply of energy to the Bahamas becomes a state run enterprise from top to bottom, eliminating the free market. Bahamians are familiar with state-run enterprise, the high cost and inefficiencies and are therefore unlikely to go along with Mr. Wilson's recommendations.

Effectively, the Cuban Ambassador draws attention to the profound differences between capitalism and markets and Marxist/communism.

Capitalism flourishes on the private property order and individual freedom. Cuba on the other hand denies its citizens the right to own property and severely limits all other freedoms, including speech and travel. It is not therefore surprising that the per capita income in Cuba is $3,000 per annum whilst the average per capita income in The Bahamas is $17,700.

Furthermore Bahamians can travel to their hearts content as their pocket books will permit, and do not require permission from any government autocrat.

The institutions of private property, the free market and the existence of money through the interrelations of supply and demand determine what is supplied and at what price. The supply of energy is no exception.

The Cuban dictator and Hugo Chavez have much in common. Chavez describes his plans for the Caribbean and Latin America as the "new socialism" of the 21st century. To implement his plans at home he has recently increased calls for state officials to take over private land. Soldiers have enforced some of the takeovers, at times denying owners and workers access to their land. (Christian Science Monitor).

It is not therefore surprising that by demagoguery and bad economic policy Chavez has caused 12% of the Venezuelan population to slip into extreme poverty.

The illusion of an all-powerful state producing a beautiful future was the centerpiece of Marxist policy for 70 years; it produced a type of slavery and poverty; and it ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Let's not listen to those who want to keep the Marxist illusion alive.

It is highly unlikely that Bahamians will be duped into a Marxist solution hoping to save a few pennies on the price of a gallon of gas.

Such compromise is so offensive to the private property order that no Bahamian should take Mr. Wilson's recommendations seriously.

THE NASSAU INSTITUTE

Help support The Nassau Institute