Saturday, November 26, 2016

Cuban education lags

It is probably true that Communist Cuba destroyed its education system less than it destroyed other things.  But if you look on an absolute scale, the average education of the Cuban population has been lagging.

Some of the lag is due to the fact that Communism either killed or drove away comparatively educated people. But if that is masking Castro's success, that's no success!

Update: The Barro-Lee data say that, as of the year 2000, the majority of adults in Cuba had NOT graduated high school.  At the same time, the majority of adults in Puerto Rico HAD graduated high school (Table 5-3 of this book).

Thank you Fidel!

For making Puerto Rico look like paradise.

Journalists today will be making excuses like "Cuba is doing OK compared to developing countries."  They wouldn't dare make those comparisons to parts of the United States, because we ought to expect better.

Thanks to a Communist system, Cuba left the ranks of developED countries.  In contrast, nearby Puerto Rico far outpaced Cuba while the latter was practicing Communism.  In 1950, both were former Spanish colonies and had annual GDP per capita of about $350.  In 2014, Puerto Rican GDP per capita was more than quadruple Cuba’s.  And a number of people escaped Cuba to begin a new life in Puerto Rico, with hardly anyone doing the reverse.

And this chart does not count the fact that, by comparison to Puerto Rico, so much of what a Cuban produces goes to the government rather than the workers.

It is quite irrelevant that there are some African countries doing worse than Cuba.

See also my podcast with Russ Roberts and written observations on Communist Cuba.

Update.  Gross national income takes out some of the "effect" of mainland businesses (arguably Cuba would have enjoyed mainland investment too, if it had taken another path), but is available for fewer years.  The chart below adds those in orange -- bottom line for GNI is 3-4 times rather than 4-5 times.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The media has been in the bag for Clinton, Obama, and Lincoln too

Even just in my own areas of expertise -- labor markets and health care -- it is easy to see how reporters and editors of "the news" have been promoting Democratic-party policies.  It's not just convenient ignorance about how incentives work.  Many times they know very well but are silent about it for fear of blemishing the narrative, even while proclaiming to their readers that they tell the whole story.

But this is nothing new.  As Harold Holzer found,

Lincoln alternately pampered, battled, and manipulated the three most powerful publishers of the day: Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune, James Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald, and Henry Raymond of the New York Times.

Lincoln authorized the most widespread censorship in the nation’s history, closing down papers that were “disloyal” and even jailing or exiling editors who opposed enlistment or sympathized with secession. The telegraph, the new invention that made instant reporting possible, was moved to the office of Secretary of War Stanton to deny it to unfriendly newsmen.
As long as the government controls significant resources, the consumers of media will want to know what the government is doing, and the government will sell access to that information to "newsmen" in exchange for favorable coverage.

It isn't merely about changing a specific journalist's mind.  It is also about helping those who are already inclined favorable to earn more profits than those inclined otherwise.  Media market entry and exit takes care of the rest.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Slow growth coincident with Obamacare

Below is an index of hours worked per person, which reflects both the amount of employment and the number of hours that employees work up through Oct 2016. It shot up when the Emergency Unemployment Assistance program was finally canceled. Its growth was especially slow when the new health care law began to penalize employers.

These are just coincidences, and more likely have something to do with Russia.