The political economy of international terms of trade and agricultural sustainability: The case of Cuba

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Publication Type honors thesis
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Economics
Faculty Mentor Nilufer Cagatay
Creator Burns, Henrik
Title The political economy of international terms of trade and agricultural sustainability: The case of Cuba
Year graduated 2014
Date 2014-05
Description For this thesis project I investigated the relationship between international terms of trade and agricultural sustainability for the case of Cuba. To understand the effect of trade relations on agricultural policy I explored Cuba's relationship with the Soviet Union, its largest trading partner between 1964 and 1991. The Soviet Union subsidized its trade relations with Cuba through pricing mechanisms that made Cuban exports more expensive, and Soviet imports cheaper. The two most important goods to Cuban agricultural policy, sugar and oil, received the largest subsidies. After the Revolution, Cuba flirted with diversifying agriculture away from sugar monoculture, but reconsidered after the Soviets offered generous terms of trade for sugarcane. With soft currency earnings from sugar exports to the Soviet-led Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA), Cuba was free to use its surplus to purchase capital and raw material goods from the CMEA and Western Europe. Generous terms of trade for Soviet oil ensured that Cuba would stick with high earning and comparatively advantageous, but energy intensive, sugar monoculture. Sugarcane cultivation became a vehicle by which Cuba could generate surplus that it could use to achieve social and industrial development goals. When the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc collapsed, Cuba lost access to subsidized oil and beneficial terms of trade for sugarcane. To maintain its level of social development, Cuba was forced to reform agriculture to make it more sustainable. This involved decreasing its energy-intensiveness and diversifying production. I argue that there is a dialectical relationship between sustainability and terms of trade. Cuban social development benefited from Soviet trade, but at the expense of agricultural sustainability.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Trade regulation - Cuba; Agriculture and state - Cuba; Cuba - Commerce
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Henrik Burns
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 293,443 bytes
Permissions Reference URL
ARK ark:/87278/s6ng80wx
Setname ir_htoa
Date Created 2016-11-01
Date Modified 2019-07-10
ID 205876
Reference URL
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