Want income equality? Here is the nation for you!
Cuba is so lucky. With the installation of their new president, Miguel Díaz Canel, Cubans will be able to continue with their terrific lifestyle. What lifestyle? Income equality.
We are repeatedly told that income inequality is bad. Apparently, you should be ashamed of yourself if you earn more money than what lazier people get. We are supposed to assume that the definition of paradise is a place where everyone has the same income. So what is it like in a country with income equality?
Cuba has income equality. Verifying this requires a careful look at the data. Most sources – for example, Brookings – cite a per capita income of about $240 per year. Wikipedia cites about $22,000 per year, so be careful with your information sources. The government employs 78% of the workers, so there is little opportunity to get an income very different from the average. How can people survive on a salary of practically nothing? Thanks to the government, Cubans get free food and medicine. They get subsidies for virtually everything they might buy. As a result, someone getting no salary is only slightly worse off than someone with a relatively high income. In all practicality, Cuba has as close to income equality as a society can provide.
Cuba also has abject poverty and child prostitution. Before the 1959 revolution, Cuba exported $780 million (1959 dollars) of goods, mostly food. Now it imports 70% to 80% of the food that it consumes. The result is that Cubans risk their lives in shark-infested waters to escape.
Before the Castros took over Cuba, it was quite prosperous. PBS describes Cuba's 1950s living standards this way:
Cuba ranked fifth in the hemisphere in per capita income, third in life expectancy, second in per capita ownership of automobiles and telephones, and first in the number of television sets per inhabitant. The literacy rate, 76%, was the fourth highest in Latin America. Cuba ranked 11th in the world in the number of doctors per capita.
If you like Cuba's income equality, how do you get it? The same way the Castros did. Take away the people's freedom.
Is income inequality so bad? Giving people the freedom to prosper as much as their hardworking nature will allow is the most efficient way to give the most people the most good. Some people will still be poor, but with so many people setting a good example, the number of people with an optimistic attitude leading to prosperity will be maximized. The income will be unequal, but it will be quite high.