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Cuba's Black Market

The planned economy is failing.

Capitalism is creeping in. Where will it all end?


This Module Contains:

  • General DVD with 2.15 hours of digital footage of life in Cuba.

  • Topic-specific DVD with 3.37 hours of digital footage of Cuba's hybrid economic system and how it impacts Cuban lives.

  • Transcripts of all interviews.

  • Comprehensive background information and summary materials (sample) of the footage, including flowcharts (sample)

  • Cutting-edge curriculum: teaching unit supporting social science standards complete with class activities, grading rubrics, four Power Point presentations, lecture materials, graphic organizers, homework assignments, a video on how to use the footage, and student briefing materials


Blue Car Grill

The Cuban Economy: A Work in Progress. The Cubans, with their characteristic humor, sum up their feelings about state jobs as follows: The Government pretends to pay us and we pretend to work.  Students will examine the pros and cons of the three Cuban economic systems through the lens of Cuban daily life. What makes a Cuban decide to work in the black market, get a private license, or take a government job?   Why did the government move toward this hybrid model, and what are the consequences?  In the long run, is this a stable configuration or will one system inevitably win?




Teaching Unit Overview:  With the fall of communist Russia, Cuba has been forced to allow free-market elements to creep into its command economy – and that’s where things get interesting. Though there are still plenty of state-run industries, the black market – a free-wheeling, capitalist sub-economy - is thriving.  Further, the Cuban government has reluctantly created (and recently expanded) a third, hybrid option – the licensed private entrepreneur.  How does each of these systems distort private buying and selling decisions? What are the unintended consequences of this hybrid economy and how does it impact Cuban moral values?  These questions lie at the heart of any study of economic systems. Students will examine the impact of Cuba’s three side-by-side economies, with particular emphasis on evaluating how they affect Cuban daily life and societal decisions.


Footage Highlights:

  • Licensed private restaurants and eateries

  • Street repair – shoes and Bic lighters

  • The thriving sugarcane juice store

  • Black market sidewalk sales

  • Public and private construction

  • Roving sellers – rural and urban

  • Black market and official jobs

  • Car repair, maintenance, and ownership        

Licensing Fees

One-year, single classroom educational license: $250. Introductory price: $95.

Site license: contact Take 2

District license: contact Take 2