In This Review

Cooperatives and Socialism: A View from Cuba
Cooperatives and Socialism: A View from Cuba
Edited by Camila Piñeiro Harnecker
Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, 364 pp

The daughter of a prominent revolutionary family, Piñeiro Harnecker has emerged as an influential advocate for cooperatives and worker self-management in a changing Cuba. In her substantial introduction to this edited volume, she envisions small and medium-sized cooperatives -- relatively autonomous of the state, internally democratic, and community conscious -- becoming an important pillar of a post-Castro socialism that would preserve core revolutionary values. Distrusting private enterprise, which she believes promotes excessive egoism and inequality, Piñeiro Harnecker must be pleased by recent Cuban reforms that assign preferential treatment to cooperatives over individual self-employment. Looking forward, she rightly calls for oversight to ensure that cooperatives comply with their stipulated principles and to support their economic success. Searching for lessons from abroad, the volume contains informative chapters assessing industrial cooperatives in Spain, cooperative housing in Uruguay, the “solidarity economy” in Brazil, worker-recovered enterprises in Argentina, and “direct social property” in Venezuela. In a hard-hitting evaluation of Cuba’s agriculture, Armando Nova González argues that cooperatives and private farms have been significantly more productive than the large state-managed units.