By Arch Ritter
Fidel visits a collective farm. The manager of the farm says: “Fidel, all our chickens are dying and we don’t know what to do.”
Fidel replies: “The chickens are suffering from a salt deficiency. Feed them more salt.”
The workers on the farm then feed the chickens more salt. A year later, Fidel happens to visit the chicken collective again. The manager says “Fidel, almost all our chickens have died. What should we do?”
Fidel pulls on his beard, thinks hard, and says sagaciously: “Your chickens are suffering from a deficiency of pepper. Feed them some pepper.”
The chickens are then fed pepper. The following year, Fidel again passes through the farm. The manager says: “Fidel, all our chickens have died. We are lost.”
Fidel says: “What a pity. And I still have so many more good ideas.”
[This story came to me originally with a Rabbi in the place of Fidel.]
Cuba’s economic history is in part a history of his “Good Ideas”, imposed on Cuba, with the support and adulation of acolytes, devotees and yes-men and with the suppression of criticism. Think of Instant Industrialization (1961-1963), the “Revolutionary Offensive (1968), the 10 million tons sugar harvest goal, the “New Man”, the Havana Green Belt project and shutting down half the sugar mills (2002).
Fidel now has yet another “Good Idea” reproduced below in his new reader-friendly format, namely a haiku-length quasi-twitter statement. Perhaps he learned from Yoani Sanchez that “brevity is the soul of wit” and also beats three-hour verbosity.
Reflections of Fidel
Nutrition and healthful employment
(Taken from CubaDebate)
“THE conditions have been created for the country to begin massively producing Moringa Oleífera and mulberry, which are sustainable resources [for the production of] meat, eggs, milk and silk fiber which can be woven by artisans, providing well-remunerated employment as an added benefit, regardless of age or gender.”
This looks like déjà vu all over again with Fidel proposing a new massive scheme. Thankfully the former President is totally out of the economic picture. If he were still the Big Boss in charge of the central planning system, we could expect some billions would be invested in another untested hare-brained scheme. I still remember Fidel’s adulatory descriptions of “Black Velvet,” the Canadian breeding bull, which was supposed to revolutionize Cuba’s milk cow herds and lead to unlimited supplies of milk, butter etc. Now the new agricultural miracle is Moringa Oleífera and mulberry!
In contrast, President Raul, the pragmatist, might order a study for some four years before deciding whether or not to run a pilot project. Or, more likely now, perhaps an independent farmer might give it a try and if it works, others will adopt it and then in time still others– which is how innovation occurs in a decentralized market economy.