Free mankind of the “Leprosy of useless businesses”, says José Martí . What did this “Auctor Intelectualis” of the Revolution mean? In Cuba it is taken to mean, among other things, that there is no point in producing and using new things, whereas the old are still perfectly usable. There is truth in this.
Take Cuba’s cars as an example. Approximately half of them are old timers, Chevrolets, Buicks and even Cadillac’s of the 50’s and 60’s. They have become the hallmark of Cuba’s tourist industry. Sheer nostalgia to see these “ships” navigate the streets of Havana. Call them “carcasos”, if you like, but they are alive and well. In Cuba cars never die. Even some oldies of the 30’s and 40’s are still in use as taxis for the locals. And why not?
Socialist economic thinking is not devoid of logic. If the basic goods are mass produced, without any extra’s or frills, it takes the least effort to produce them. If you then make sure they are durable and are used and reused carefully enormous amounts of natural resources and many man-hours are saved. This means that everybody can be provided with the essentials in the shortest possible time and at lowest possible price.
To a certain degree at least this logic works. In Cuba wages are low, but prices of basic goods also. People work just 7 hours a day, 2 days on, 1 day off, a very relaxed lifestyle.
In general, certainly in the countryside, people are well-fed, clothed and reasonably housed. Electricity and clean water is distributed throughout the country, even in rural areas. And although transportation could be better, there are plenty busses and even trains to get around. Again, if compared with comparable countries in the Caribbean, Cuba in general, is well ahead.