Posted by: bkivey | 16 March 2010

Life in a worker’s paradise

While noodling around on the internet I came across this little gem. It’s a photograph and list of what makes up a Cuban adults monthly ‘market basket’ of rations that they are allowed to obtain at the state-run grocery stores. While this particular information is from 2007, I couldn’t find anything of a more recent vintage that suggests any great changes. The monthly  allowance is:

3.8kg of rice (15 portions, 205 cal/portion, 3075 cal/total)

283g of dried beans (black, 2 portions, 186 cal/portion, 375 cal/total)

2.3kg of sugar (brown, 767 portions, 11 cal/portion, 8467 cal/total)

113g of coffee (portions vary, 1cal/oz. brewed)

about two cups of cooking oil (96 portions, 40 cal/portions, 3840 cal/total)

10 eggs (fried, 10 portions, 92 cal/portions, 920 cal/total)

a bag of salt (0 cal)

a bar of soap

a tube of toothpaste

226g of dried pasta (4 portions, 75 cal/portion, 300 cal/total)

226g of sweetened cocoa (8 portions, 113 cal/portion, 904 cal/total)

1.8kg of potatoes (24 portions, 58cal/portion, 1392 cal/total)

30 bread rolls (dinner roll, 30 portions, 84 cal/portion, 2520 cal/total

bottle of dishwashing liquid

crackers

283g fish (Atlantic cod, 3 portions, 89 cal/portion, 267 cal/total)

226g chicken (4 portions, 86 cal/portion, 344 cal/total)

500g inexpensive meat products (lunch meat, 18 portions, 99cal/portion, 1782 cal/total)

The website only lists the items; I obtained the portion sizes and caloric values here. The bottom line is that in the socialist worker’s paradise the state will supply you with enough food to take in about 800 calories a day. This is well below the 2500 calories daily that a healthy adult male requires and far below what is required if you’re hacking sugar cane all day. While it is entirely possible to buy additional foodstuffs at non-state grocery stores, prices at those stores are reported to be about 20 times of those in the state-run stores and with an average per-capita GDP of $9700 USD it is unlikely your average worker is buying a whole lot in them.

One might think that obesity would not be much of a problem in such a society, and one would be right. In fact, as this study demonstrates, there aren’t a lot of fat people in Cuba.

So wha’t the point of this post? Well, other than the illustration of some interesting information, if one lives in a society in which food is cheap and plentiful, one should be damned thankful. The fact that there are a disturbing number of fat Americans is not due to ‘social injustice’ or a ‘broken food system’, it’s due to people making poor choices.

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