silpol » from archive - Journal of Cleaner Production - Degrowth and public health in Cuba: lessons from the past? -
"Abstract After the collapse of the Communist Bloc in the 1990s Cuba experienced a severe economic crisis. In its drastic reduction in fuels, its negative economic growth data due to declining production and consumption rates and in its adaptations to shrinking resources and to local and labor-intensive production modes, this so-called Special Period had elements of an experiment in degrowth. Looking at economic, social and agricultural reactions to the crisis, this paper identifies a consistent commitment to social services, a shift in agricultural methods and a high level of social capital as main reasons for this outcome. Balancing this result with negative implications of the crisis, notably the lack of political freedom and of long-term sustainability, the paper seeks to draw lessons for future degrowth scenarios. Highlights ► The economic crisis in Cuba in the 1990s as case study for possible future transitions towards degrowth. ► Positive results: public health and human well-being can be maintained or improved when prioritized. ► Unsolved problem: how to reconcile fundamental restructuring processes with democratic principles. Keywords Cuba; Economic crisis; Special period; Public health; Urban agriculture; Social capital" ‎- silpol