Saturday, November 24, 2018

13-Introducing "Cuba's Caribbean Marxism: Essays on Ideology, Government, Society, and Economy in the Post Fidel Castro Era" ("Reform and Global Corporate Social Responsibility")

I reported the publication of Cuba’s Caribbean Marxism: Essays on Ideology, Government, Society, and Economy in the Post Fidel Castro Era (Little Sir Press 2018; ISBN: 978-1-949943-00-9 (pbk); I SBN: 978-1-949943-01-6 (ebk)) (here). Cuba’s Caribbean Marxism is the first offering through Little Sir Press, a self-publishing collective that is a new project in broader knowledge dissemination of the Coalition for Peace & Ethics (more about that project here). Join us!’s Caribbean Marxism eBook may be accessed through these sites:    

Paperback ordering information to follow. Individual Chapters also may be ordered in pdf format.

I promised that over the course of future posts I would be introducing readers to the book. This post continues with an introduction to Chapter 11 ("Reform and Global Corporate Social Responsibility"),  which follows below.  Here for access to other posts in this series.  HERE for the video recording of the launch event for Cuba's Caribbean Marxism: Essays on Ideology, Government, Society, and Economy in the Post Fidel Castro Era, which took place 12 November 2018 at Penn State.
Chapter 11
 Reform and Global Corporate Social Responsibility: Inbound Investment, and Outbound Economic Activity  
The normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba that began in earnest 2015 has started a process through which Cuba is likely to be brought closer to more robust integration with the global economic order. That process of integration poses both great opportunities and great challenges for Cuba. Both challenges and opportunities are likely to be felt in equal measure as Cuba assumes a place on the global supply chain. That “place” is made more complicated because Cuba simultaneously occupies a place within the lower rungs of global production with respect to some sectors (tourism, extractives, agriculture), while it occupies a much higher place in global production in other sectors (pharmaceuticals, medicine).
This produces tension within Cuban economic policy, especially as a function of the core ideology of Caribbean Marxism. With respect to those sectors where Cuba will occupy a place down the production chain it will face a set of problems shared by other states in the same position (irrespective of their national economic ideologies). This is the position within global production where the lowest value added is produced, where the ability to tax value is at its smallest, and where perhaps most labor intensive work is undertaken.  This was both the place in production once occupied by China and Korea a generation ago.  With respect to those sectors where Cuba will occupy an apex role in global production, there is great incentive for Cuba to mimic the wealth maximizing behaviors of successful global market actors.  Yet that requires action that run counter to the basic anti-market principles that order the Cuban internal economy.
It was this dual nature of engagement with global production (and the trade that sustained it) that produced in the ideology of Caribbean Marxism, a quite distinctive preference for isolation rather than for engagement with global production and finance (e.g., Castro 1999; Castro 1995; Castro 1986; Castro 1985, Castro 1985a; Castro 1985b; and discussion in Chapter 7). That isolation was meant to protect the operation of the Cuban internal economy.  There was a strong tie between nationalism and the protection of the national territory against penetration by the “foreign”  and the construction of an ideology suspicious of the basic premises framing the global economic order was constructed and through which it operated.
At the same time, the ideology of suspicion and isolation could be modified in two circumstances.  The first was in the context of projection of Cuban economic activity outward.  That was the context in which both socialist regionalism was constructed through the Alianza Bolivariana (ALBA)(Backer and Molina 2010), and the vigorous development of Cuban SOE engagement with foreign partners.  The second was in the context of tightly controlled inward foreign investment. These were either to be confined within cordons sanitaires--the special economic zones--discussed in Chapter 6, or in tightly controlled joint ventures overseen by the Cuban military or state organs, especially in the tourist sector. This tight control was very much in the Cuban foreign investment law (Republic of Cuba 2014, Ley 118) discussed in Chapter 2. 
Both impulses found their way into efforts to create a coherent ideological framework for controlled external engagement discussed earlier in Chapter 5.  That discussion produced an outlook within Cuban ideological constructs that created a dual track for engagement with global production and its operating rules. That was based on the isolation of Cuba’s internal economy because the way that global capitalism (as the Cubans understand those terms) operates was incompatible with the basic premises of Cuban political economy. That is, one can explain Cuban insistence on insulating the national territory against direct economic interaction with foreign public and private enterprises in the view that such contact will inevitably corrupt the Cuban ideological experiment in Marxist political economy. The other consequence is the policy of choosing economic sectors for development in which Cuban authorities believe that they might leap to the front of the production chain, and thus better control its effects internally. Cuba’s biotechnology and other industries are likely to place Cuba well up the supply and production chain, and a likely home state for the production of commodities related to this high value-added work.
Yet this dual track structuring produces its own challenges. It is becoming increasingly impossible for Cuba to have it both ways--a free hand in applying its own ideological framework internally, while at the same time conforming to a different set of rules in global markets. First, even in its state to state relations, Cuba is finding it hard to avoid efforts to incorporate global standards into economic activity within Cuba that involves foreign partners.  It is being built into trade relations, though for the moment still in very soft ways, for example in the human rights provisions of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between Cuba and the E.U. (Council of the European Union 2016 ). Second, Cuba may have little choice to b¡to comply with international standards, as those are applied outside of Cuba, when Cuba engages in economic activity abroad (Kinley 2018).  The more challenging of the problems Cuba will face will involve its engagement with emerging global standards and expectations for the societal and human rights impacts of economic activity — in whatever form engaged.
This Chapter considers the issue of Cuban engagement with these emerging business and human rights standards within the Cuban economy (Park 2014). It continues an examination begun in Chapter 10, which considered the collision of norms where the internationalism of Caribbean Marxism interacts with international human rights standards. The Chapter is divided into three sections. After this introduction, the second section provides a brief overview of the emerging structure of global human rights. More specifically, the Chapter  provides an overview of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) (OHCHR 2011); the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) (OECD 2011); the UN Global Compact (United Nations N.D.; Backer 2006, p. 565); Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with human rights components (Wells Sheffer 2011, p. 484; Hang 2014); some private standards or third party ordering regimes, including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI 2018; Sarfaty 2013), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standard 26000 (ISO 2010; Diller 2012), as well as a number of emerging rules, like the International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions (ILO 2018; Helfer 2006); and MNE internal norms (Backer 2017). The third section looks at Cuba’s investment laws, and most importantly, its state-to-state agreements, such as the ALBA framework grannacional projects (discussed Chapter 10), in which Cuba barters services in exchange for goods (Backer and Molina 2010). Finally, the fourth section discusses what occurs when the global regulation initiatives discussed in the second section collide with Cuba’s practices discussed in the third section and the challenges Cuba will face as a result.

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