Having noted last week that the US manages to squeak one position ahead of Cuba in international health rankings, Brian Beutler discerns the "hidden rationale for our mixed up Cuba policy," namely that "if we were to open up trade with Cuba, they would likely will surpass us on the WHO list of international health care systems, which would make both Michael Moore, universal health care, and communism look good."
No doubt true. That Cuba has managed to construct a middling health care system in the midst of a totally crapped-out economy serves as a reminder that while Communism is a very bad political and economic system, it does have certain benefits. Specifically, adopting Communism either eliminates outright or else eliminates the attractiveness of a huge swathe of the professions that smart, highly-educated people tend to undertake. This has the effect of making it much easier to recruit smart, highly educated people to be tenth grade English teachers or basic doctors and nurses. This is part of the reason why the USSR, for all its very many problems, managed to be really good at teaching little kids reading and basic math -- getting a job doing that is much more relatively attractive in a Communist system than in a liberal one, so you can get better personnel on the job. Of course, that relative attractiveness is achieved largely by making everything awful (note incredibly old car in the photo above), so it's not a strategy I'm inclined to endorse, but still, there it is.
Photo by Flickr user Dr. Poulette used under a Creative Commons license