Millennials should be required to do a summer program in Cuba.

According to a new study 44 percent of millennials would prefer to live in a socialist country with another 7 percent saying the same about communism. Only 42 percent said they would choose to live in a capitalistic country according to the survey of 2,000 millennials.

Millennials like the fact that Cuba has free medical care and free housing. Perhaps they would like to be a doctor giving free medical care in Havana. Somehow, I think the experience would fall far short of the dream. True, Cuba is a Communist country but it practices socialism.

[Sources: Millennials aren’t satisfied with capitalism — and might prefer a socialist country, studies finds, by Josh Magness; The Cuban hustle: Doctors drive cabs and work abroad to make up for meager pay, by Rob Waters; Study: Cubans don’t make much, but it’s more than state salaries indicate, by Mimi Whitefield; Cuba hikes salaries for doctors and nurses to as much as $67 a month, Associated press; Guess How Much Cubans Earn Per Month, by Kenneth Rapoza]

Let’s say you are a janitor, a waitress, a nurse, a machinist, a factory worker, a cab driver or a doctor in Cuba. If I told you that each of those jobs paid essentially the same amount of money you might be shocked (the State controls salaries). But, when I tell you that the cab driver makes substantially more than the doctor you would probably fall out of your chair (cab drivers collect tips from wealthy foreign tourists over and above their salaries – doctors do not). Commonly waiters, cab drivers, and tour guides can make 10 to 20 times the government wages of doctors and nurses. And if you have not yet fallen out of your chair you will when you realize doctors often drive cabs as a second source of income (greater than their government salary)!

In a survey of Cubans the following was noted:

  • 27 percent of Cubans earn under $50 per month
  • 34 percent earn the equivalent of $50 to $100 per month
  • 20 percent earn $101 to $200
  • 4 percent said their monthly earnings topped $500 (usually waiters and cab drivers)

Salaries are set by the government regardless of job title or qualification. The totals do not reflect the fact that these amounts are often from multiple sources of income. Returning to doctors, Cuba is proud of its government-run health care system and its skilled doctors. But even with a raise a few years ago that virtually doubled salaries for doctors and nurses, the highest paid doctors make $67 a month (requires double specialty training), while nurses top out at $40.

That wouldn’t even pay for millennials monthly latte bill.

Roy Filly

About Roy Filly

Please read my first blog in which I describe myself and my goals.
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