This paper discusses the Cuban stand in the socialist controversy on material versus moral incentives, placing emphasis on the role of economic, political, and ideological factors. The controversy is of fundamental importance for Marxist- Leninist theory, as well as for the implementation of such theory in socialist countries. Actually, the reference to “incentives” conveys the impression of a narrower scope than the controversy has been in reality. Internally, the type of incentives chosen affects crucial economic areas such as the method of planning, the allocation of resources, the distribution system, the use of money, the organization of the enterprise, and even the criteria for appointing managers. In the political sphere, the incentive decision affects political control, mass mobilization, people's participation in the decision-making process, and the degree of consensus.