OPTION ONE: Please respond to the following: 1) What are the characteristics of the Mondragon cooperatives that you find most different from businesses with more familiar organizational forms? 2) What assumptions seem to underlie the Mondragon? 3) What do you think about these characteristics and assumptions?
OPTION TWO: The chapters on Che’s thinking about work reflect his sense of urgency that the basic nature of work needed to be transformed, especially the relationship between work and the means of survival/life. Consider the equation from Session 7: Work = Pay/money = Survival (or better) This transformation was, Che believed, an essential part of the movement toward the New Man/New Society. As part of this process, he believed very strongly in the vital role of voluntary – unpaid – work. He himself worked in the evenings and on weekends on construction projects and harvesting sugarcane. 1) Summarize Che’s arguments a) in favor of voluntary work and b) his ideas about wages. 2) What do you think of his arguments? (NOT what do you think about Cuba, about socialism in general or any other topics which are interesting but not the point of the assignment).
to refer –
Behavior and Soclol Issues, Fall/Winter 1992, Vol 2, Number 2
DESIGNlli!G A HUMANITARIAN CULTURE: AN ANALYSIS OF THE CUBAN EXPERIMENT'
Maria E. Malott Malott & Associates
ABSTRACT: In a period of about 30 years, tbe Cubans dramatically improved tbeir wall-being aud attempted to develop the ultimate hwnanitarian society, one where people's actions are main)ymotivated by tbe well,belng of humanity, witbout support of individual material incentives. An analysis is made of tbeir efforta to keep sight of tbe wall-being of humanity as tbeir ultimate goal aud to OITange cultural contingencies that generate behavior competible witb that goal. It is argued that (a) such a humanitarian society will not evolve randomly witbout tbe intervention of cultural desigoers; (b) netursl contingencies often generate behavior incompatible with the well-being of humanity, therefore, the development of a humaultarlau society requires tha desigo and implementation of performance-management contingencies; (c) a society geared to tbe wall-being of humanity must not be confused with a society free of aversive control; and (d) to use money as an incentive in addition to moral incentives does not necessarlly oowtteract the development of a humanitarian socieo/, the important issue is the contingent relationship between performance and incentives.
I am not a commtmist nor a socialist; I make my living as an organizational behavioral co,nsultant for capitalist profit-making organizations, and I was skeptical of the Cuban regime .. However, my view of Cuba changed after visiting Havana with a group of behaviorists in 1991 (Morrow & Work, 1991). Several features of the Cuban culture inlpressed me and inspired this paper: (a) the success Cuba has had in inlproving the well-being of the Cuban people; (b) the debate on moral incentives vs. material incentives; and (c) the large number of pay-for-performance systems implemented in what is considered a commtmist/socialist welfare state. These features are somewhat independent but also somewhat related. From a behavioral systems-analysis perspective, I will consider the inlplication of these features of the Cuban experinlent.
While several features of contemporary Cuba inlpress me, I am not addressing the inlportant and controversial issues of the relative strengths and weakness of the commtmist, socialist, and capitalist systems; totalitarianism and democracy; various judicial systems; or freedom of speech and the press. These inlportant concerns are beyond my area of professional expertise and beyond the scope of this paper.
Please address further correspondence to: Maria E. Mallot, 8971 West KL Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49009.
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THE WELL-BEING OF THE CUBAN PEOPLE
Although Cuba has been criticized on many grounds, few objective observers would deny that the well-being of most Cubans has dramatically improved since the revolution of 1958. In about 80 years, the life expectancy of the Cubans increased from 62 to 76 years and now is the highest in Latin America, similar to that of the United States. Mother mortality decreased from 118 to 81 per 100,000 births. Infant mortality decreased from 60 to 10.7 per 1,000 births (Castro, 1991; Rodriguez, 1988; World Population Profile, 1989). Although the infant mortality rate has decreased significantly in all Latin American countries, todey Cuba has the lowest infant mortality rate among them (Sheahan, 1987). It is even lower than the United States (12.6 per 1,000 births; World Population Profile, 1989).
In today's Cuba, still a third world country, there is no malnutrition, slthough 80% to 40% of the people in the cities and over 60% of the people in rursl areas were malnourished before 1959 (Benjamin, 1990). In contrast, malnutrition in the third world continues to be the number-one killer of young children (Benjamin, Collins, & Scott, 1989). It affects as many as 500 million people in the world (Sadlk, 1992) and between 80 to 100 million people in Latin America (Castro, 1991).
Although 18% of Cuba's rural population used to die of typhoid and 14% of tuberculosis (Benjan'iin et a!., 1989), they no longer die of these causes. Now, Cubans die of causes similar to those in developed countries – heart diseases, malignant tumors, cerebrovascular diseases, and accidents (Santana, 1987; Tablada, 1991a). It seems plausible to attribute at least part of Cuba's success in achieving good health statistics to its concurrent attainment of a large health-care profession: Cuba has more medical doctors per population than any country in the American continents, including the United States and Canada (Comite Estatsl de Estadisticas, 1986).
The rate of illiteracy has decreased from 42% before 1961 (Rodriguez, 1987) to 1.9% in 1991. At the present time the rate of illiteracy is 17% in the rest of Latin America. Cuba's rate of illiteracy is even lower than that of the United States and is comparable to those of the industrialized countries of Germany and Japan (Tablada, 1991a).
Possibly some of Cuba's success in achieving a high literacy rate is due to its concurrent achievement of educations! participation: Approximately hslf the children between six and eleven years of age were not attending school in the 1950s, but nearly all are today. Between 1958 and 1976, the percentage of workers with secondary education increased from 8.1% to 25% and the percentage of those with semi-specialized or higher education increased from 8. 7% to 9.4% (Acosta, 1987). After Argentina, Cuba has the highest ratio of professors to students in Latin America (Comite Estatsl de Estadisticas, 1986).
Cuba has one of the lowest rates of violent crime in the world (Benjamin et a!., 1989). There are no beggars in Havana today, although there were at least
DESIGNING A HUMANITARIAN CULTURE
5,000 in 1958 (Benjamin et al., 1989). "There are 30 million homeless children in Latin America's streets" (Castro, 1991, p. 55). Of the 430 million inhabitants of Latin America, 260 million people live below the poverty line. However, according to Tablada "not a single Cuban lives in such conditions of hopelessness, hunger, and disease" (cited in Staff, "1,000 hear," 1991, p. 4).
At least some of Cuba's success in eliminating such extreme poverty might have resulted from Cuba's concurrent elimination of unemployment: In 1958, 12.5% of the adult population was unemployed (Zuaznabar, 1989); 700,000 working Cubans were out of work for most of the year. But there was almost no unemplayment in Cuba (Steif, 1983) until the economic crisis that began with a decrease in oil shipments in 1990. Nevertheless, those whose hours have been cut and those whose jobs have been temporarily suspended still receive a partial salary, pay lower rent, receive free health care and education, and are assured of equal food supplies. In the rest of Latin America, from 30% to 40% of the work force is unemployed or underemployed (Castro, 1991).
KEEP1NG SIGHT OF THE ULTIMATE GOAL
Improving the well·being of humanity was the goal Cuba's leaders claimed inspired the revolution. (Malott & Garcia (1987) argue that this goal should be the ultimate goal of all human systems.) Cuba's leaders promised to abolish hunger and misery and reduce economic and social inequities: "Our fll"st goal is to assure that no one goes hungry, then see that everyone eats daily. Afterward we should assure decent living conditions for everyone. This would be followed by free medical assistance and education" (Guevara, 1964/1969c, p. 236). In spite of many economic, political, and social difficulties, the Cubans have not abandoned these goals. Be~amin et a1. (1989) stated it this way:
But we should never lose sight of the fact that the Cuban revolution declarod, from the outset, that no ~ne should go malnourished. No disappointment in food production, no failed economic take-off, no shock wave from world economic crisis ·has deterred Cuba fioom freeing itself fioom the suffering and shame of a single wasted chlld or an eldarly person ignominiously subsisting on pet food. No other countcy in this hemisphere, including the United States, can make this claim. (p. 189)
I experienced these sentiments in some casual encounters during my visit, suggesting that the well-being of humanity might not only be a goal of the Cuban leaders but that of the Cuban people. For instance, I met a Cuban in the street who responded to my disappointment at not fmding a single photocopy machine anywhere in Havana by saying, "there is no reason to be upset because now this country has priorities other than paper. We have to take care of our energy crisis and basic needs fll"st; then we can think about photocopy machines." I found similar reactions from a newspaper salesperson, a taxi driver, a person wandering in a park, and professionals from the University of Havana. Of course, there were
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exceptions, like the few people near the hotel who wanted to buy dollars in the black market, showing no concern for the Cuban economy.
The Cuban leaders seem to have lived up to their promises of not abandoning the goal of the well-being of their people. However, like most human systems, sometimes the leaders have followed steps inconsistent with this goal. Cuba's health system is one of the best state-run health systems in the world (Health, 1990), and its success in providing medical assistance and improving hygiene standards is undeniable. However, mortality rates due to heart disease (fwst cause of death), malignant tumors, cerebrovascular disease, and pneumonia (Santana, 1987) have significantzy increased This is probably related to the consumption of tobacco products. Todsy it is well known that tobacco causes higher risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, angina, and other health hazards. It is also known that smoking is the most preventable single cause of death (Pritikin & McGrady, 1979; U.S. Surgeon General, 1989).
Cuba produces more tobacco and cigarettes per capita than any other country in Latin America, though not nearly as much tobacco per capita as Belgium, and not nearly as many cigarettes per capita as the United States, Canada, Korea, and European countries like Yugoslavia, Germany, Belgium, and Bulgaria (Comite Estatal de Estadisticas, 1986). The decrease in tobacco crops from 6% to 8% between 1946 and 1980 resulted from crop diseases and weather difficulties (Beliamin et al., 1989), rather tban a connnitment to the well-being of humanity. Although Castro stopped smoking as example for the Cubans, he did not stop the manufacturing process. Cuban tobacco not only harms the health of its people but also the health of the world: Tobacco exports have significantly increased since 1958, and now tobacco is Cuba's second most important agricultural export crop (Stubbs, 1987). (Similar analyses could be made of Cuba's production of refmed sugar and rum.)
Furthermore, the pursuit of long-term humanitarian goals does not prevent the Cubans from experiencing other systems pitfalls, like deficient delivery of services, massive inefficiencies and waste, and lack of basic goods (Fletcher, 1991; Zimbalist, 1990). I was shocked that I could not find iodine in several pharmacies in Havana. And when I did find it, it took half an hour to buy it, although there were eight employees at the counter and three clients in that pharmacy. I was also amazed to see several shops. with block-long lines of people, waiting for single products (e.g., ice cream, rum, coffee, and pizza); or to eat cold meals almost every dey in one of the best hotels in Havana because there was not enough gas. Also it was nearly impossible to get a taxi in Havana; our group had no choice but to walk forty blocks one dey.
Cuba's problems are far more complex than a question of prioritized goals; they involve complicated political, managerial, and distribution issues the ans1ysis of which is beyond the scope of this paper. (For details on the nature of economic
DESIGNING A HUMANITARIAN CULTURE
difUculties in Cuba, see Fitzgerald, 1989; Mazarr, 1989; Ritter, 1990; Zimbalist,
MORAL VS. MATERIAL 1NCENTIVES
For the Cuban leaders, improving the well-being ofhUll1lUlity not only involves providing basic resources to all but it also involves transforming human beings and their social relations (Tabl!tds, 1989, 1991b). 'l'hese leaders sought the development of the so called communist man, the new man (Le., the humanitarian person for whom the betterment of others would be an important reinforcer that controls much of his or her actions). Such altruistic persons, who behave according to a humanitarian ethic, would be the basis of the so<:ial system. Guevara said, "A socialist economy without conuilunist moral values does not interest me. We fight poverty, but also we fight alienation. A fundamental aim of Marxism is to eliminate material interest, the factor of 'individual self-interest,' and profit from man's psychological motivations" (cited in Tablada, 1989, p. 215).
For more than SO years, Cubans have been debating the pros and cons of · moral and material incentives. Moral incentives "connote workers being motivated by a concept of goodness for the commonwealth… Material incentives take the form of wage and salary differentiation, piece-rate payments, bonuses for meeting certain goals, and profit sharing" (Zimbslist, 1989, p. 66).
Wben designing cultural contingencies, the distinction between incentives and contingen<:ies is often ignored. Incentive is "the reinforcer or aversive condition that follows a response" (Malott, Whaley, & Malott, 1998, p. 162). Two conditions m•e needed for an incentive to control behavior. First, the incentive must be both sizeable and probable. So, even though violating industrial safety procedures could produce severe injury (sizeable incentive), the negative incentive of injury does not control safe behavior effectively because injury rarely follows unsafe behavior. Second, the incentive must be contingent on behavior. Therefore, we should not expect pay bestowed independently of work performance to affect that perf01'Dlllllce. (For a similar analysis, see Gilbert, 1978; Morrow, 1988; Rakos, 1991; and for empirical demonstrations, see Kelly & Stokes, 1982; Pierce & Risley, 1974.)
Incidentally, it is in connection with moral incentives that the term social consciousness is used (Ulman, 1991). The popular use of this term implies that awareness (Le., stating verbs! rules) causes people to behave in ways compatible with the well-being of the culture. Though awareness might be needed for some rules to govern behavior, it is not sul:llcient. The critical element of control is the contingency. Different contingencies control what people say (i.e., awareness) vs. what people do (Skinner, 1969).
The term moral incentives implies that actions that help humanity would be automatically or intrinsically reinforced, and actions that harm humanity would be automatically or intrinsically punished. "'ntrinsically controlled behavior is simply
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behavior maintained by consequences that are the natural and automatic results of responding" (Dickinson, 1989, p. 2). By intrinsically I mean that engaging in humanitarian behavior would be sufficiently reinforcing in itself, such that no additional, performance-management contingencies involving material incentives would be needed. And engaging in behavior that hurts humanity in itself would be sufficiently aversive as to decrease that behavior.
Here is the question that summarizes for me the debate over moral vs. material incentives: Can we build a society in which its citizens' actions are "intrinsically'' motivated by moral incentives (i.e., the well-being of others), without need for additional material contingencies? In trying to answer this question, I will frame my position within what Malott (1992a) has called the three-contingency model of performance management. This model involves an analysis of three types of contingencies: natural contingencies, performance-management contingencies, and theoretical contingencies.
ARRANGING EFFECTIVE CULTURAL CONTINGENCIES
Can a random configuration of naturally occurring contingencies cause people to behave in a manner compatible with the well-being of others? I believe not: Natural, direct-acting contingencies of reinforcement and punishment often cause people to act in ways that are counter-productive to long-term humanitarian objectives even though they value those objectives (Malott, 1984, 1986, 1988; Malott et al., 1998).
Direct-acting contingencies involve sizeable, probable, and immediate outcomes tllat directly reinforce the causal response. 2 For instance, eating (behavior) will be reinforced by the consumption of food (an immediate, sizeable, and probable outcome), if that person is food deprived (establishing operation).' For such a person, it is "natural" to eat the food when available and to Ignore the well-being of others. Also, experimental data show that the opportunity to engage in aggressive behavior acts as a reinforcer for an organism exposed to aversive stimulation regardless of the well-being of the species (Hutchinson, 1977; Skinner, 1969). The point- is that so-called "human nature" (i.e., behavior controlled by natural, direct-acting .contingencies) does not always generate behavior geared to the well-being of humanity.
Direct-acting contingencies must be distinguished from those that are not direct acting; these include outcomes that are too delayed, too improbable, or too small and only of cumulative significance. (See Flgnre 1.) Though the outcomes of these contingencies do not directly reinforce or punish the causal response, the contingencies could control behavior. When they do, they are called indirect-acting contingencies. They involve delayed, though sizable and probable outcomes. With
DESIGNING A HUMANITARIAN CULTURE
verbal human beings, a delay does not prevent the contingency from effectively controlling behavior, even though that contingency does not directly reinforce or pnnish that behavior.
DIRECT-ACTING NOT DIRECT-ACTING I Outcomes are: sizable, probable,
I INEFFECTIVE I Outcomes are:
small and improbable (work __ ,.._well-being)
Figure 1. Analysis of behavioral contingencies.
When contingencies do not control behavior, they are ineffective. They are ineffective because their outcomes are improbable or too small (although perhaps of cumulative significance) (Malott, 1992b; Malott & Malott, 1991; Malott et a!., 1993). Most truant workers would probably show up to work reliably if one day's absence meant the end of humanity. But usually, working a whole day (behavior) will have an insignificant effect on the well-being of humanity (outcome). By itself this contingency is so ineffective that it will allow procrastination to the point that work attendance might never take place. It is relatively easy to get people to lend a band during times of crisis; but it is relatively hard to get those same people to reliably do the daily chores needed to keep things functioning well.
Furthermore, this ineffective contingency will compete with direct-acting contingencies (direct-acting contingencies are effective by defmition), like the one specified in the following rule: Going to work today (behavior) will cause the
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worker much effort (aversive outcome). This direct-acting contingency would decrease the likelihood of going to work.
Altruistic values (i.e., being reinforced by the well-being of others) should be distinguished from contingencies that generate altruistic behavior. It is difficult to get people to value the well-being of humanity, and that is what most organized efforts in Cuba have been geared toward. But like most people, the Cuban leaders seem to have failed to recognize that the natural contingencies involving these values are ineffective, even though the people may greatly value the well-being of humanity.
What can cultural leaders do when the natural contingencies are ineffective in causing people to work toward the well-being of humanity, or when the natural contingencies support behavior incompatible with the well-being of humanity? Cultural leaders should plan and implement effective performance-management contingencies that cause people to behave in altruistic WlYS• They should also continue to identifY the well-being of humanity as the ultimate goal of the culture and prevent its members from losing sight of it.
Therefore, the evolution of an altruistic culture requires the systematic intervention of cultural leaders (Malott, 1988; Malott, Shimamune, & Malott, 1992), like Skinner's (1948) planned society, Walden Two, and unlike the contingencies of survival (Skinner, 1969) that occur randomly (Guevara, 1965/1969<1, 1960/1969b; Malott, 1988, 1992; Skinner, 1958, 1978).
An instance of an effective, indirect-acting performance-management contingency is the following: In 1971, Cuba's compulsory work law was issued in an attempt to solve the problem of absenteeism. This law 'specified that workers guilty of absenteeism were to be deprived of vacations, excluded from certain social benefits, and in severe cases, transferred to labor camps" (Zimballst, 1989, p. 70). Then the following contingency relationship might have been in place: Going to work one more day (behavior) prevents the worker from losing a vacation (outcome). This contingency is effective, as was seen in the early 1970s, when absenteeism decreased and therefore productivity increased. This performance -management · continge~cy complemented natural ineffective humanitarian contingencies.
The occurrence of voluntary work has been used in defense of the effectiveness of moral incentives and the superfluousness of material incentives, and has been also a topic of discussion among behavior analysts (Holland, 1978; Rakos,
DESIGNING A HUMANITARIAN CULTURE
1991; Ulman, 1988). According to Tablada (1989), Guevara started voluntary work in Cuba, though Lenin first raised its importance for communist societies. Voluntary work was done outside regular work hours for no pay, which seems to have proven that work toward the well-being of humanity could be maintained, without material incentives.
As part of the rectification period, 4 mini-brigades were revitalized again in an effort to encourage voluntary work. In 1987, Castro pointed out that more than 20,000 mini-brigade members eldsted in Havana (Castro, 1987). Waters (1991) said "Tens of thousands of men and women threw themselves full-time into the challenge of building hundreds of child-care centers, apartment complexes, family doctors' office-homes, polyclinics, schools, bakeries, sports facilities and more" (p. 21).
If people can produce as much as they do in the mini-brigades with no pay, what are the performance-management contingencies? What are the direet-aeting contingencies responsible for causing people to work? In other words, what controls going to work on Sunday morning, when the worker much prefers to sleep in, and when missing one day of collective work would have only a negligible impact on the well-being of humanity? The Cubans have been effective in establishing colleetive, voluntary work as a value. So, an important motivating variable for the worker's participating in the mini-brigades might be the prevention of social sanctions or social disapproval from comrades.
The following contingency relationship might be in place: If the person works today in the mini-brigade (behavior), he or she will avoid the comrades' criticiam (outcome). A rule describing this contingency acts as an establishing operation that generates an aversive condition, like guilt. That aversive condition ends (outcome) when the worker goes to work (behavior). This direet-acting escape contingency might effeetively control some humanitarian behavior.
One could argue that a different rule controls behavior: If a person works in the mini-brigade (behavior), his or her comrades will show gratitude (outcome). However, such a contingency would not be as effective at getting the worker started as the previous one because he or she could keep on postponing until it was too late. There is no deadline involved in getting appreciation from others. But there is a deadline involved in avoiding criticism (today). (See Braam & Malott, 1990, for an analysis of how deadlines set up aversive conditions.)
In the case of pay contingencies, we should ask this question: If a sugar-cane worker does not get paid until the end of the week, what controls his cutting cane right now? A similar direct-acting escape analysis could apply to this situation. Cutting cane now (behavior) will prevent losing the opportunity to earn money (outcome). The statement of a rule describing such a contingency relationship can generate an aversive condition that ends by compliance.
Motivation of a moral nature may be controlled largely by direct-acting escape contingencies. Furthermore, often the issue of working for the well-being of humanity gets naively confused with working free of aversive control, but these are
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two different issues. We can build a culture where people work for the well-being of others, but that would most probably include effective aversive contingencies.
Life need not be aversive, even though social control includes direct-acting escape contingencies based on fear and guilt. In doing tasks that benefit the well-being of the culture, our behavior could contact a wealth of reinforcers. My analysis only implies that mild escape contingencies may be needed to get us to do what we ought to do. But even with the inclusion of direct-acting escape contingencies, life can be full of happiness and pleasure.
Glenn (1989) and Ulman (1989) observed that cultural contingencies and contingencies of reinforcement involve different levels of analysis, and· that they should not be used interchangeably. 5 I agree, but I would add that the difference is that contingencies of reinforcement are direct-acting, while cultural contingencies are indirect-acting or even ineffective analogs to contingencies of reinforcement; direct-acting contingencies of reinforcement and punishment support effective cultural contingencies (Malott, 1992a; Malott et al., 1992, 1993).
For instance, consider the cultural contingency analyzed above: Going to work (behavior) prevents the worker from losing a vacation (outcome). This situation is a prevention contingency because the response prevents losing a reward And this situation is also an indirect-acting contingency because the outcome of losing the vacation is too delayed; therefore it does not directly control going to work. Prevention of losing a vacation would have no influence on behavior without the support of a direct-acting contingency. That direct-acting contingency involves the statement of a rule, such as this: "If the person fail to work today, he or she will lose his or her vacation." Escape of the aversiveness generated by that rule does control going to work.
DEVELOPING AN ALTRUISTIC SOCIETY
What would it take to build a culture where people's actions are mainly motivated by moral incentives? We need at least three conditions. First, we should have a value system that establishes actions that help humanity as intrinsic reinforcers and actions that harm humanity as intrinsic aversive .conditions. The Cubans have partly succeeded in this. Secondly, another requirement is intellectual honesty – the ability to evaluate whether one's actions are compatible with the well-being of humanity. Such an ability prevents rationslizing what we do as being for the sake of humanity, when these actions are really detrimental (Malott et al., 1993). Lastly, a fmal requirement is guilt or aversive conditions when behaving in manners incompatible with moral values. Escape from such aversive conditions can only be achieved by compliance with moral rules. These direct-acting escape and
DESIGNING A HUMANITARIAN CULTURE
punishment contingencies must compete effectively with other direct-acting contingencies that generate behavior harmful to humanity.
For Guevara, moral incentives would intrinsically …
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