Markets Aren’t Created by Mandates

So this is a strange lede …

As many legislatures around the country have finished their work for the year, fewer than one-fourth of states have taken concrete steps to create health insurance marketplaces, a central feature of the federal law to overhaul the U.S. health-care system.

Cuba Moves Toward Markets

What is happening in Cuba? Long-term loans of farmland, for one:

The Cuban government, in its most dramatic reform since Castro took over for his ailing older brother Fidel three years ago, is offering private farmers such as Fuentes the use of fallow state lands to grow crops — for a profit.

The most interesting sentence of this great story:

They are paid in cash, which Fuentes appreciates, and they are not told what to plant.

Seems such a basic thing, so I wonder what self-described socialists honestly think on the following question: Do you have to believe that farmers need to be told what to plant in order to be a street-credible card-carrying socialist?

If central planning means anything, doesn’t it mean someone in a position of authority over the farmer telling him, if nothing else, what to plant? If people shouldn’t be trusted to arrive at the most socially beneficial price for a good, why would they then be able to produce the most socially beneficial amount of corn/wheat/vegetables?

Is Raul Castro perfecting socialism? Is he abandoning it?