...Cubans had been "overprotected" by a system that subsidised food costs and limited the amount people could earn, prompting labour shortages in important industries.
"We can't give people so much security with their income that it affects their willingness to work," Mr Jam said. "We can have equality in access to education and health but not in equality of income."
He said the emphasis on equality had helped maintain social cohesion during the 1990s when Cuba's economy came close to collapse after the withdrawal of Soviet assistance. But "when the economy recovers you realise that there is [a level of] protection that has to change. We can't have a situation where it is not work that gives access to goods", he said.Oh, the irony of this.
The country that has done the most to ruin its own people's lives - the abject poverty in Cuba is clear for anyone but tourists and True Believers - finally appears to realize that its system doesn't work.
We can't give people so much security with their income that it affects their willingness to work. That is an interesting translation of the old Soviet joke of "They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work." that encapsulated the fundamental absurdity of socialism, the fundamental contradiction of the system that invariably leads to its downfall.
We can't have a situation where it is not work that gives access to goods. That's an understatement: there are no goods under socialism beyond the basics, because there is no incentive to create them. They aren't necessary and hence are undesirable: each according to his needs - as defined by the State - and each according to his ability. But if the needs aren't met - as defined by the individual - then what is the point of working?
...Mr Jam's comments reflect growing frustration in official circles about poor performance in agriculture, construction and manufacturing. "There isn't motivation to work in these sectors," he said.
Good Lord, I think he's got it! Can it be?
There isn't motivation to work in these sectors. No shit, Sherlock: there's no motivation to work if the only reward for performing well is ...
Well, there is no reward to performing well. If anything, there is an active disincentive to performing well: your higher performance then becomes your new basic work load. Talk about stupidity...
But that is systematic and system-immanent in socialism: it is a fundamentally flawed system of economics, with flaws that always lead to its failure. It is a system of economics, a system of political order, that fundamentally denies what motivates people to do the things they want to do.
The tragedy of Socialism is that it denies those who must live under it fundamental human rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The irony of Socialism is that it takes such a long time for that lesson to trickle through.