Economy of Cuba

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The economy of Cuba is a largely state-controlled, centrally planned economy overseen by the Cuban government, though there remains significant foreign investment and private enterprise in Cuba. Most of the means of production are owned and run by the government, and most of the labor force is employed by the state. In the year 2000, public sector employment was 76% and private sector employment was 23% compared to the 1981 ratio of 91% to 8%.[2] Capital investment is restricted and requires approval by the government. The Cuban government sets most prices and rations goods to citizens. In 2009, Cuba ranked 51st out of 182 with an HDI of 0.863; remarkably high considering its GDP per capita only places it 95th.[3] Cuba also significantly outperforms the rest of Latin America in terms of infant and child mortality, morbidity, educational attainment and an array of other social and health indicators.[4]

In the 1950s, Cuba had a vibrant but extremely unequal economy, with large capital outflows to foreign investors.[5] The country has made significant progress since the Revolution towards a more even distribution of income. Despite the economic embargo by the United States, the economy grew at a rate higher than the rest of Latin America until the collapse of the Soviet Union, its main trading partner. Between 1990 and 1993, Cuba's GDP declined by 33%.[6] Yet Cuba has managed to retain levels of healthcare and education,[7] and since 2000 the economy is rapidly recovering.[8] Cuba has a highly-developed service industry with one of the largest professional workforce in the world. Its number of doctors per capita is ranked #1 in the world.[8]

Cubans receive low housing and transportation costs, free education, and health care and food subsidies.[9] Corruption is common, though far lower than in most other countries in Latin America.[10]


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