SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Updating Cuba's Economic Model, Socialism and Human Development

Professor Al Campbell (Department of Economics, University of Utah, USA)

Date: 10 November 2015Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 10 November 2015Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G3

Type of Event: Seminar

Cuba tersely declares the goal of its economic updating is a “prosperous, sustainable socialism.” Never an economic basket-case, the Revolution has nevertheless declared that it is essential to make deep changes in its economic model to increase aspects of “the standard of living” that are unacceptable, above all the level of consumption of non-public goods and services. The international press continuously focuses on Cuba’s concern in the updating process with raising various aspects of economic efficiency and labor productivity. These are indeed central concerns of the process, but the press also ignores that Cuba has declared that only changes consistent with continuing to work on building socialism are acceptable. Socialism for Cuba has always meant a focus on human development, and it is known for being a positive outlier in its levels of health care, education and social security, for its level of per capita material wealth. Cuba’s previous record with two other important aspects of socialism/human development, social participation and social and economic self-governance/management have had much more mixed records, with important achievements and important shortcomings, and we’ll also consider the situation of these in the updating.


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Updating Cuba’s Economic Model, Al Campbell

Professor Campbell is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Utah, USA. The Cuban economy is one of his central research themes and he has a unique perspective, having visited the country annually since 1991 to undertake research. He is editor of Cuban Economists on the Cuban Economy, a collection of essays by some of the island’s leading economists (University Press of Florida, 2013). Other recent published works include “'Updating' Cuba's Economic and Social Model: Where's It Going?”, “The Impact of the Global post-2007 Economic Crisis and Subsequent Lethargic Performance on Cuba’s Economy” and “Looking for a New Road for Building Socialism: Cuba”. He also leads educational trips to Cuba. 

This seminar is part of the SOAS Department of Development Studies & Bloomsbury DTC for the Social Sciences seminar series for 2015/2016.

Organiser: Professor Alfredo Saad-Filho & Dr Feyzi Ismail

Contact email:,

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4504 or 020 7898 4723