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Ernesto 'Che' Guevara: socialist political economy and economic management in Cuba, 1959-1965

Yaffe, Helen (2007) Ernesto 'Che' Guevara: socialist political economy and economic management in Cuba, 1959-1965. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The problem facing the Cuban Revolution after 1959 was how to increase productive capacity and labour productivity, in conditions of underdevelopment and in transition to socialism, without relying on capitalist mechanisms that would undermine the formation of new consciousness and social relations integral to communism. Locating Guevara's economic analysis at the heart of the research, the thesis examines policies and development strategies formulated to meet this challenge, thereby refuting the mainstream view that his emphasis on consciousness was idealist. Rather, it was intrinsic and instrumental to the economic philosophy and strategy for social change advocated. Analysing the evolution, impact and institutionalisation of his ideas, this thesis fills several gaps in the history of economic thought, Cuban economic history and the literature on Guevara. Highlighting his study of Marx's Capital, recourse to the technological and managerial advances of capitalist corporations and critique of Soviet political economy, the research offers a stimulating new contribution to the field of socialist theory. It examines the organisational structures and control mechanisms Guevara created, demonstrating how they link to his Marxist formation. It provides the first record of Guevara's role in several critical areas: promoting education and training; establishing accounting, investment and supervision systems; forging workers' participation in management; founding research and development institutions; formulating policies to raise consciousness and integrating psychology as an economic management tool. The research is based on new archival and interview sources. The thesis concludes that Ernesto 'Che' Guevara made an indispensable contribution to socialist political economy and played a vital role in industrial organisation and economic development in Cuba. It connects these two contributions, demonstrating how Guevara's analysis of the law of value was integral to the economic management system he created as Minister of Industries.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Economics, History, History, Latin American, Caribbean Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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