Designing a Humanitarian Culture: An Analysis of the Cuban Experiment

Maria Malott


In a period of about 30 years, the Cubans dramatically improved their well-being and attempted to develop the ultimate humanitarian society, one where people’ s actions are mainly motivated by the well-being of humanity, without support of individual material incentives. An analysis is made of their efforts to keep sight of the well-being humanity as their ultimate goal and to arrange cultural contingencies that generate behavior compatible with that goal. It is argued that (a) such a humanitarian society will not evolve randomly without the intervention of cultural designers; (b) natural contingencies often general behavior incompatible with the well-being of humanity; therefore, the development of a humanitarian society requires the design and implementation of performance-management contingencies; (c) a society geared to the well-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 necessarily counteract the development of a humanitarian society; the important issue is the contingent relationship between performance and incentives.

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Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility