Post Communism and Social Policies -- an Essay

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Post Communism and Social Policies -- an Introduction

Communism and Capitalism are the two terms that have been defining the societies of the world. Needless to say, the understanding of the aforementioned terms is important before we go on to discuss the social policies in different countries. Communism is basically the economic organization is which the ownership of everything belongs to the government. Capitalism is the opposite of Communism. Karl Marx developed communism during the 19th century (Nelson, 2000). In a communist country, the government controls the economy and the people of the country work for the businesses that are owned by the government. The government takes control of the entire production and each person receives his share according to his contribution. The distribution of the resources is also done by the government. People get what the government thinks they deserve according to their needs and abilities.

Post-communism is a term that is used to define the period during which economic and political transformation took place in some countries of Asia, Latin America and Europe, which were formerly communist states. The new governments of these countries aimed to create capitalist economies that were free market-oriented. The countries that have made a transition from being solely communist to capitalist, or at least a combination of two, are referred to as the post-communist nations (Easter, 2012). Papua New Guinea and Cuba are the two post-communist countries that will be the main topic of discussion of this paper.

Another terminology that we need to define before we move on to the main discussion of this report is 'social policy'. Social policy refers to the strategies, legislation, principles and activities that have the potential to affect the quality of living and living conditions of the people of a particular society (Dean, 2006). According to the Department of Social Policy of the London School of Economics, social policy is defined as "an interdisciplinary and applied subject that concerns the analysis of the responses of the societies to the social needs of the people."

The main aim of this report is to discuss, compare and contrast the key characteristics of the social policies that are being implemented in Cuba and PNG.

Social Policies in Cuba

The social as well as the economic policies that have been devised by the post-communist government of Cuba correspond to the fundamental principle that the only set up that is capable of overcoming the problems and conserving the subjugations of the Revolution is socialism. Moreover, the government also believes that in updating the social and economic model of the country, the planning of strategies will be considered as the top most priority rather than the market (Ruz, 2011).

The key characteristics of the social policies that are being implemented in Cuba have been based on a few guidelines. The purpose of these guidelines is the formation and implementation of the policies in such a way that no social sector is ignored.

The first key characteristic of the social policies that are being implemented in the country is the preservation of the achievements that resulted from the Revolution. These achievements include easy accessibility to education, medical attention, sports, culture, recreation, social security for the people who need it and retirement pensions (Sweig et. al, 2013). The aforementioned facilities were thought to be a part of the capitalist or socialist society and not that of a communist one. The social policies of the Cuba also aim at recovering the significant role of labor since it is considered to be the basic means of funding the development and welfare of the society. Moreover, the recovery of the role of labor as a part of social policy also led to increased fulfillment of personal needs and satisfaction of families. The social policies of post-communist Cuba also aim to guarantee the general public the sustained and organized increase in the quality of goods and services that are offered to the public (Sandholtz and Taagepera, 2005). Apart from this, the government is also considering to reconstruct the present policies by taking into consideration the economic possibilities. By implementing the social policies the government wishes to continue the improvisation of health care, education, culture and sports and at the same time abolish or at least decrease the extra costs that exist in the social sector.

The two social sectors that were given the most attention during the formulation of social policies were education and health. As for the preschool, primary and secondary education particular attention was given to the advancement of the quality of education by promoting the process of educating teachers. The key characteristic of this policy also included the improved utilization of the current capacities. The aforementioned is being achieved by the formation of combined centers that provide assurance of the construction of the various levels of education pertaining to the needs of the students. This means that the education system will adjust the size of the education centers and also improve upon the use of the existing workforce. As far as the higher education is concerned, the social policy encourages the students to take up courses that will help them contribute towards the economic and social development of the country (Grandin, 2004).

The health policy of the country lays emphasis on the improvement of the health care service that is provided to the general population. By implementing the policies, the government wishes to save funds by making use of the resources efficiently and by cutting on unwanted costs.

Figure 1 Shows the literacy rate over the past 5 decades. The improved social policies have led to an increase in the literacy rate.

Figure 2 Shows how a non-Communist system can affect the economy of a country.

Social Policies in Papua New Guinea

It has been 37 years since the country's independence. The country transitioned from being a communist nation to a democratic one. However, it should be noted that for an effectively functioning democracy it is important that the voters should be educated (Fish, 1995). This implies that the general public should be literate enough to make a distinction between a good and bad political leader (Skaang, 2006). As for PNG, the social indicators have shown that prevalence of poverty in the country is increasing and the educational outcomes have been declining. The HDI value of the country was 0.466 in 2011, which placed it in the low human development classification. The position of PNG was there was 153rd out of the 187 countries of the world. Keeping this in mind, the government and the social sector have devised policies that aim at reducing the poverty level in the country, improving the basic education status and improve the economic and health status of the women of PNG. The youth of the country is the main focus of the social policies since 40% of the population consists of children of age 15 and below (Sasingian, 2012).

The government has introduced the free education policy. This policy has been introduced to make sure that each individual is provided with basic education, which is his right. Free education is being provided as per the policy at the federal as well as the provincial level. Governor Ipatas was the first one to introduce this policy of free education at the provincial level after which the national government also decided to provide free education. Keeping in view the infrastructure demands of the education system in the province, Ipatas changed the policy of 'free education' to 'quality education'. This is one of the main reasons why Enga Province has one of the highest literacy rates in the country. The school fees are also being subsidized in the aforementioned province.

Apart from the fact that the general public needs to be given free access to education, the government has also modified the social policies so that other crucial components of pedagogy and curriculum are taken into consideration. The government realizes that acquiring skills are as important as education and therefore the individuals are being encouraged to train themselves in skills that are required to modify the society for the better.

Now we shall briefly discuss the health sector of PNG. Even though there are many issues that need to be considered, but one of the most important ones that is being considered by the government is maternal mortality. The government has taken notice of the fact that there are thousands of women who die in the country during the process of giving birth. According to the statistics, the maternal mortality rate of PNG has risen from 370 per 100,000 to 730 in the past decade (Curtin and Nelson, 1999). The health policy, therefore, focuses on improving the poor maintenance of health care facilities since they have the potential to impact the ability to invite and preserve staff that would provide quality health care to the population.

Comparison of the Education Policies in Cuba and PNG

It should be noted here that Cuba and PNG are two countries that made a transition from…

Sources Used in Document:


"World Bank Estimates Microdata" (2013).

Curtin, TR and Nelson, EA (1999)."Economic and health efficiency of education funding policy."Department of Treasury, Papua New Guinea.

Dean, H. (2006). Social Policy. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Easter, Gerald M. (2012). Capital, Coercion, and Post-Communist States, Cornell University Press.

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