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Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes

“Neither is it always certain that, in the splendid situation which we aim at, those real and satisfactory pleasures can be enjoyed with the same security as in the humble one which we are so very eager to abandon. examine the records of history, recollect what has happened within the circle of your own experience, consider with attention what has been the conduct of almost all the greatly unfortunate, either in private or public life, whom you may have either read of, or heard of, or remember; and you will find that the misfortunes of by far the greater part of them have arisen from their not knowing when they were well, when it was proper for them to sit still and to be contented.”

-Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

– Abraham Lincoln, First Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861.

“A bold and aggressive plutocracy has usurped the Government and is using it as a policeman to enforce its insolent decrees. It has filled the Senate with its adherents, it controls the popular branch of the Legislature by filling the Speaker’s chair with its representatives, and it has not hesitated to tamper with our Court of last resort.”

– James B. Weaver, 1892 Populist presidential nominee.

“Corruption dominates the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress and touches even the ermine of the bench. The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of these, in turn, despise the Republic and endanger liberty.”

– National Platform of the Populist Party, 1892

“Modern methods of drawing up balance sheets not only make it possible to conceal doubtful undertakings from the ordinary shareholder, but also allow the people most concerned to escape the consequences of unsuccessful speculation by selling their shares in time when the individual businessman risks his own skin in everything he does…”

– Vladimir I. Lenin, Imperialism, 1917

“Speculation may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the position is serious when enterprise becomes a bubble on a whirlpool of speculation. When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill done.”

-John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936

“In no other field [than public finance] has the intrusion of metaphysics done so much harm as here.”

– Gunnar Myrdal, The Political Element in the Development of Economic Theory, 1953

“Commercial and financial crises are intimately bound up with transactions that overstep the confines of laws and morality…. The propensities to swindle and be swindled run parallel to the propensity to swindle during a boom…. And the signal for panic is often the revelation of some swindle, theft, embezzlement or fraud.”

– Charles Kindleberger, Manias, Panics, and Crashes, 1978

“Derivatives are financial instruments whose values depend on the value of other underlying financial instruments.”

– Wikipedia

“Our future is threatened by the artificial economy of wild financial speculation that neoliberal globalization has encouraged to such an extent as to make it insufferable for that very system speculating in stocks, bonds, national currencies or anything that can generate profits. Massive amounts of money are used to generate more money and multiply it without a production backup, without building new factories, with absolute disregard for real trade in goods or services. Such an artificial economy has turned the world into a large casino where everyday bets reach 1.5 trillion dollars, equivalent to the total value of the world economy gross product in over 15 days.”

– Fidel Castro, August 21, 1998

“Economists will have to become experts in gambling and guessing games, because the economy has become a casino. Economists today have become employees in the casino of the world economy, and it is very important for these employees to know how the casino works. We already know that three trillion US dollars are involved in speculative operations every day.

I remember that in Copenhagen, during a summit meeting on social problems, a rather prestigious European leader I met told me with despair about the 1.2 trillion US dollars involved in speculative operations every day. In the ten years that have passed since then, that figure has grown to three trillion dollars a day, while on the other hand, total worldwide trade operations amount to only around eight trillion dollars a year. That means that every three days there is a greater flow of money for speculative operations than that needed to cover world trade for a whole year. What kind of economy is that?

So you have to be an economist, an expert in political science, an expert in gambling, and on top of all that, an astrologer, in order to interpret events.”

– Fidel Castro, February 15, 2002

“Not everyone here will share my thoughts. Still, I will respectfully say what I think. The existing world economic order constitutes a system of plundering and exploitation like no other in history. Thus, the peoples believe less and less in statements and promises. The prestige of the international financial institutions rates less than zero. The world economy is today a huge casino. Recent analyses indicate that for every dollar that goes into trade, over one hundred end up in speculative operations completely disconnected from the real economy.”

– Fidel Castro, March 21, 2002

Nelson P. Valdes is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico.

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