“This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.” – T S Eliot.
Sometimes, illusive dream ends silently, without even a whimper…. Recently, this happened in Cuba, where the Miguel Díaz-Canel-government has decided to change the basic structure of the Constitution that was adopted nearly four decades ago.
Fidel Castro’s Cuba was the last capital of Communist dream after the rise of Deng Xiaoping and the fall of erstwhile Soviet Union. However, the government in Havana has decided to omit the aim of building a communist society, recognise private property and open the door to same-sex marriage, as the Caribbean island nation is all set to take a major leap toward adopting those and other changes in its most significant bid for constitutional reform in decades.
As per the draft Constitution, the Communist party will remain the guiding force of the one-party system. At the same time, Cuba will enshrine the right to own private property, and encourage and guarantee foreign investment. The newly-elected president plans to quietly destroy the Latin American country’s main weapon against capitalism. Díaz-Canel – who succeeded Fidel’s younger brother Raúl Castro as president in April 2018 – took just three months to erase the ‘Castro era’.
The relationship between private property and economic progress is much older than the Leftists’ jihad against the private property. More than 150 years before Karl Marx’s birth, English Political Scientist John Locke wrote that a poor British labour lived a better life than a wealthy American. He argued that the presence of the ‘right to private property’ helped increase the economic activities in Britain, thus, allowing ‘property-less’ people to enjoy the social benefits. It is to be noted that contemporary Britain recognised the right to private property, whereas all the cultural and natural resources (or properties) were accessible to all members of the society (popularly known as commons) in the US. It means that the philosophy of liberalism is based on the right to private property. As long as no one deprives others from the right to private property, the right is unquestionable. Except the Communists, all should agree that the world made a considerable progress in the last two centuries only because of the capitalism, which carries the legacy of industrial revolution. And the right to private property is an inalienable component of capitalism, as it promotes efficiency by giving the owner of resources an incentive to maximise its value. However, communists have always tried to abolish this right.
There is no dispute between the right to private property and distribution of social wealth. The social balance can be maintained by controlling the society through proper institutions and by distributing the wealth among the members of a society in an equitable manner. Communists don’t want to understand this fact. They not only mock social democracy, but also describe John Rawls’ philosophy as ‘reactionary’. Communists are also not ready to accept Amartya Sen’s doctrine of property rights. But, these paths lead to a fair society!
If anyone earns money by using his/her personal property or productive resources, then the government gets an opportunity to increase the volume of tax revenue. It further allows the government to boost spending on social welfare programmes. China has already realised this fact……. and now, Cuba is following China’s path. One can only hope others will realise it soon.
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