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Sunday, January 30, 2011

What our Fathers did not tell us about the Economy– Economic liberalism is post-Soviet Russia

above: 'progress' in the new Russia

In this submission by Russian political economist, Boris Anisimov (translated from Russian to English), the author considers the pitfalls of economically liberal capitalism as experienced in post-Soviet Russia. While command economies could be deeply flawed, it seems the indecent haste in adopting a Western economic model in Russia has involved an abandonment of those insights from the Marxist tradition which remain crucial. For our Western readers this contribution provides an appreciation of a perspective we are rarely exposed to…

by Boris Anisimov   (edited by Tristan Ewins)

In my previous articles, I have expressed quite unequivocally my indignation that market fundamentalism had been accepted by emerging economies as the official economic ideology. As years go by, it becomes evident that the reckless opening of developing, and thus still fragile economies was serving the purposes of countries which have many decades, if not centuries, of deliberate protectionism to their names.

For this post, I am going take Russia, my home country, as an example again, but what I am going to address now relates to many developing countries and even to some of the developed ones.

The younger post-Soviet generations raised by TV commercials and glossy magazines appear to be at a loss as to what is happening to the global economy. As they grow older, a large portion of them begins to realize that, with the way things are going economically, their adult life will be no picnic at all. The temporary euphoria of the boom years has faded, but no new hope has come. Most young people do not see any light at the end of the tunnel, and this hopelessness acts as nationalist street gangs' best recruiter.

The economic reality does not match the elegant theories meticulously translated from English-language economics books. Economists recognize the existence of the massive gap between the prosperity of the economically-advanced countries, and the utter devastation of their own economy. But as they attempt to identify the underlying causes, they fall back on the same theories that made that devastation possible in the first place. The years of new post-communist economic propaganda have certainly left a trace, but very few realize that this trace only leads to destitution.

The ironic thing is that some of the answers to today’s most fundamental economic questions these young people of my generation might have can be found in what our fathers eagerly put on the shelf of history: i.e. political economy. In Soviet times, political economy was sometimes compromised in supporting the government of the day - and, as a result, was unsuitable for meaningful economic analysis. The numerous economic crimes committed in its name have discredited political economy in Russia. The desire for material possessions and comfort combined with unceasing, aggressive advertisement of consumerism fostered a new culture unwilling to heed the lessons of the past.

In that frenzied strive to pull themselves out of poverty and despair, our fathers forgot to pass to us the knowledge that they did possess back then, but considered irrelevant because they did not know how to improve their lives with it.

So these are some of the things about the economy that our fathers did know but did not tell us:

1. Our fathers did not tell us that no market can be 100% free. Even though, with reservations, some markets back in the days were close to that ideal, most economies have never become free of any governmental influence. Look at 19th-century Britain, considered by some the “cradle of free-market capitalism”, where the government did not interfere with market forces directly, but was the generator of a significant portion of the solvent demand on local markets by means of spending up to a quarter of the country’s budget on the famous Royal Navy. I hope it is clear what financed numerous orders with local entrepreneurs and craftsmen and made up for embezzlements by navy and treasury officials – the plundering of colonies did.


2. Our fathers did not tell us that market is only a mechanism for distribution of material and financial resources within the economy, not a panacea for economic problems nor a condition for economic development. Markets work when there are resources to distribute, not when an economy is resource-barren.


3. Our fathers did not tell us that any development of a capitalist economy is only possible with massive concentration of capital. Only countries that see significant inflows of material and financial resources for an extended time can show ‘miracles’ of economic and social development. Technically, it does not matter where that capital should be coming from: foreign demand for local products, investment from other countries, an issue of money backed with national debt, foreign debt, the plundering of colonies, etc. No economy whose capital is being drained out has a chance of pulling itself out of the gutter. If the local solvent demand is low and does not generate sufficient profits, while access to foreign markets remains limited, such an economy is doomed to debt slavery and living from hand to mouth by selling raw materials.

4. Our fathers did not tell us that capitalism requires constant growth. If no further growth is possible for whatever reason, capitalism starts falling apart at the seams and looks for ways to expand by force regardless of how many thousands of human lives that expansion is going to ruin.

5. Our fathers did not tell us that a bourgeois democracy is a democracy of the rich only. Figuratively speaking, the poor are never invited to the party in the first place. It is fat cats that make decisions in corridors of power, in corporate offices of industrial giants as well as on trading floors of stock and commodity exchanges.


6. Our fathers did not tell us that social development is based on economic development and comes with a hefty price tag - which the impoverished masses cannot afford. Reforms get easily stalled when there is no one willing to foot the development bill. Besides, it turns out that mentality comes with a price tag too. It is not enough to adopt a new law or start one more bureaucratic initiative to effect positive changes in the way people think. Revolutionary ideas and innovative breakthroughs will require a substantial economic foundation and enormous expenditures. A civilized society with the rule of law and respect for a fellowman's property rights is never possible if it is only a minority that has any property and rights.

7. Our fathers did not tell us that political freedom does not guarantee prosperity It is one thing to have one's freedoms inscribed on an official piece of paper decorated with coats of arms and sprinkled with cheesy democratic slogans. But to exercise one's freedoms is quite another thing - especially when you are mired in abject poverty. The mighty golden calf opens up doors that will forever remain shut for the less fortunate. (Editor; I assume by this the author is suggesting some kind of corruption) Paying your way through red tape solves things faster, connections with the right crowd protect better than a court ruling, and expensive PR compaigns usually generate higher turnouts at polling stations.

8. Our fathers did not tell us that “business” and “economy” are not the same thing. The economy is a system developed by society to provide for their material and some spiritual needs, while business is merely the art of money-making and is only interested in financial returns at any cost. In prosperous times, businesses eagerly take what the economy can offer in order to thrive and proliferate. But when hard times come, businesses do not give a damn about the economy nor the society with its material and spiritual needs. They still care for returns, and that is true for both small and big businesses.


9. Our fathers did not tell us that debt can be an effective way of postponing crises of over-production by stimulating fictitious demand, which I define as solvent demand beyond the natural limit of consumption, i.e. beyond one’s means. As credit rates fall as a result of boosted money supply, the economy continues to grow and everybody is happy – until the next crisis breaks out.

Boris Anisimov

Boris Anisimov is a Russian political economist and writer

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25 comments:

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  6. But none of these ideas are new. Indeed, they were central to the CPSU’s programme. Boris’ (allegorical) father (who must have been at least twenty when the Soviet Period ended and Capitalist Restoration began) must have known that. If he and others simply dismissed it because they thought everything State socialist was wrong, they were deeply shallow thinkers.

    Nothing remotely progressive has emerged from capitalist restoration in the former state socialist economies. Russia has largely reverted to its 1917 state - authoritarian rulers assisted in oppression of the masses by a thoroughly reactionary Orthodox Church. The only real difference is that this tiny elite now consists of the new capitalist class rather than the old aristocracy.

    The collapse of the former Soviet Union was marked by a dramatic rise in mortality and morbidity. "In Russia crude death rates rose from 10.7 per 1000 in 1989 to 15.8 per 1000 in 1994. Comparing Europe in 1500 with Europe in 2000 will not show the effects of the free market: society and technology were fundamentally different. But Russia in 1994 had the same technology, the same urbanisation, the same infrastructure as Russia in 1989. What changed was that a centrally-planned regime collapsed, and a liberal market system replaced it."

    Even The Australian noted "In the course of the Yeltsin era, per capita income fell about 75%, and the nation's population dropped by more than 2 million, due largely to the steep decline in public health." Note that the premature deaths continue.

    Such immiseration, plus the looting by the gangster clique that supported the Yeltsin government has produced, according to the latest Forbes report, 60 Russian billionaires (oligarchs), tens of thousands of new millionaires (minigarchs), and of course the middle-level standover types (the nanogarchs).

    Bear in mind that socialism is an ideal. Very few of those who’ve fought for it will ever have believed it to be perfect – but they rightly believed that it was better than they were ever likely to have under the existing system. A large majority of Russians (like many former DDR citizens for the GDR) regret the end of the Soviet Union, not because they pine for "communism" as an abstract noun but because they lost a secure and worthwhile way of life. Rather than seeing collapse as "inevitable", they see three causes: the way Gorbachev (who previously as a manager appeared ineffective if not actually incompetent) carried out his political and economic changes; a power struggle in which Yeltsin overthrew the Soviet state in order to get rid of Gorbachev; and would-be kleptocrats, the nomenklatura.

    Reality says the Soviet Period had many important lessons, and reality is not interested in our convenience. Stalin was not the USSR, nor were the crimes that he committed during his period in power the only significant event of the period; it was also a period of many great achievements, for which Stalin is similarly entitled to claim the credit.

    Nor did the debates in the Western Left of the time seem to be much of an improvement on the standard that applies now, or define any useful alternative to the paths followed by the USSR and PRC, either then or now.

    Note one fundamental contrast in attitude between Yeltsin (/Reagan/Thatcher/Bush/Blair) and Lenin - the former had absolutely no interest in the socio-economic impact of their policies, whereas for the latter that was the only real reason for the Revolution in the first place.

    A good deal of the post-1991 escalation of geopolitical violence by the US derived in part from its hubris and its triumphalism as well as force of habit. European integration and the Euro were driven by similar hubris for similar reasons – and will have similar consequences.

    History has not ended. We should therefore object to the black armband view of Soviet history.

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  7. Non capisco quale sia il problema della prima maglietta Mike, l’arsenal ha la divisa rossa con maniche bianche.

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  8. la prima delusione proviene dalla prima maglietta!!!!!!! bella ma identica a quella della stagione 2006-2007

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  9. ÇOCUK MONT 'A HOŞGELDİNİZ !

    2012 - 2013 sezonu Çocuk Mont modellerimiz yepyeni renk ve modellerle tamamlanmıştır. Çok yakın zamanda satışa sunulacaktır.

    Firmamız 0-14 yaş erkek ve kız çocuk grubuna yönelik Çocuk Mont üretimi yapmaktadır. Gerek kendi ürettiği gerekse ithal ettiği ürünlerle kendimize olan güvenimiz sonsuz. Bu sene yine sizlerle olmaya devam edeceğiz.

    Daha fazla ayrıntı ve bilgi için iletişim numaralarımızdan lütfen bizimle irtibata geçiniz.

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  10. ÇOCUK MONTU FİRMA PROFİLİ

    Çocuk montu üretimi alanında on yıllardır hizmet veren firmamız her geçen gün daha yeni model ve renklerle adından daha çok söz ettirmeye devam ediyor.

    Gerek yerli gerekse ithal kumaşlarla işinin ustası modelistlerimizle gece gündüz çalışarak mükemmel Çocuk montu kreasyonlar oluşturmaktayız.

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  11. BEBEK MONT'A HOŞGELDİNİZ!

    2012-2013 yılı bebek mont kreasyonumuz tamamlanmıştır.

    Ürün kataloğumuz ve ürünlerimiz hakkında detaylı bilgi almak için online satış linkine tıklayabilirsiniz. bebek mont Toptan satış için lütfen bizimle irtibata geçiniz.

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  12. BEBEK MONT'A HOŞGELDİNİZ!

    2012-2013 yılı bebek mont kreasyonumuz tamamlanmıştır.

    Ürün kataloğumuz ve ürünlerimiz hakkında detaylı bilgi almak için online satış linkine tıklayabilirsiniz. bebek mont Toptan satış için lütfen bizimle irtibata geçiniz.

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  13. Bebek montunda 20 yıldır hizmet veren firmamız en kaliteli işçiliği en uygun fiyata sunma politikasını ilke edinmiştir. Perakendecilere, Yardım kuruluşlarına, vakıflara yardımsever iş adamlarına bu güne kadar sorunsuz şekilde hizmet veren firmamız bebek montu alanında adından söz ettirmeye devam ediyor.

    Hem yurt içinde hem de yurt dışında ihaleye giren şahıs veya firmalar, bizlerle iletişime geçin. Bir haftada 5000 mont üretme potansiyeline ve hali hazırda 10.000 stoğa sahibiz. Sizlerle çalışmaktan mutluluk duyarız.

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  14. Genel itibari ile Türkiye piyasasında dolaşan Bebek montları ya çin işi ucuz işçilik ama buna nazaran göz alıcı renkler ve modeller veyahut iç piyasa için üretilmiş içi komple polar dışı su tutmaz soft kumaştan üretilmiş anorak tarzı Bebek montları veya yine yurt içi piyasa için üretilmiş gereçekten kaliteli Bebek montlarıdır.

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  15. Firmamız hemen her çeşit Ucuz Bot toptan olarak üretimini yapmakta ve piyasaya sürmektedir.

    Hali hazırda 40.000 toptan bot stoku ile alanında lider firmalar arasında ilk sırada gelmektedir. Gerek yardım kuruluşları için ürettiği promosyon botlar gerekse en modern tasarım ve kalıplarla yapılan özel işçilikli kreasyonlar ile bu senede çok ciddi bir şekilde piyasaya girecektir.

    Global dünya şartlarında ayakta kalmanın zor olması ve işçilik maliyetlerinin ülkemizde diğer ülkelere nazaran daha fazla olması nedeni ile Ucuz Bot sektörünün en önemli sıkıntısı ucuz ithal edilen ürünlerdir.

    Hiçbir sağlık kaygısı düşünülmeden yanlızca maddi menfaatlere bağlı bu ucuz işçilikli ürünler ne yazık kı ülkemiz Ucuz Bot piyasasını da olumsuz yönde etkilemektedir.

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  16. Erkek montu denilince akla ilk gelen firmalardan birisi olan firmamız gerek yurt içi ve gerekse yurtdışı Erkek montu piyasası alanında kendine hakettiği yeri almıştır. Hemen her modelde ve bedende Erkek montu üretimi ve hemde ithalatı ile siz değerli müşterilerimize en iyi hizmeti amaç edinmekteyiz.

    Bu sene de birbirinden şık, birbirinden havalı Erkek montu modelleri ile yine sizlerleyiz. 50'ye yakın yeni sezon modellerimiz ile sizlere kış aylarının soğukluğunu hissettirmeyecek ve sıcak bir dokunuş canlandıracak yüreğinizde elbet..

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  17. ERKEK MONT HAKKIMIZDA

    Firmamız özellikle ithal ürün erkek mont alanında hizmet vermektedir. Her sene yaklaşık 50 modelde çalışan firmamız bu senede en havalı erkek mont modelleri ülkemize getirerek en uygun fiyata satmayı amaçlamıştır.

    Bu sene erkek mont fiyatları belirgin olarak artabilmekte olup bunun başlıca sebebi ithal ürünlere uygulanmaya başlayan vergi dampingidir.

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  18. Sitemizde hemen her türlü toptan mont satışı yapılmaktadır Firmamız toptan mont,
    toptan çocuk montu, yardım amaçlı promosyon mont, ithal mont ve siparişe
    göre her türlü mont grubunun imalatını ve toptan satışını yapmaktadır.

    ReplyDelete
  19. TOPTAN BOT'A HOŞGELDİNİZ!

    Yardım kuruluşları, yardım gönüllüleri,ihaleye giren firmalar,

    Toptan bot alanında 25 yıldır hizmet veren firmamız en kaliteli işçiliği en uygun fiyata sunma politikasını ilke edinmiştir. Yardım kuruluşlarına, vakıflara yardımsever iş adamlarına bu güne kadar sorunsuz şekilde hizmet veren firmamız toptan bot alanında adından söz ettirmeye devam etmektedir.

    Gerek yurt içinde gerekse yurt dışında ihaleye giren şahıs veya firmalar ! Arayın konuşalım. Bir haftada 5000 bot üretme potansiyeli ve hali hazırda 10.000 stok ile sizlere hizmet etmeye devam ediyoruz.

    ReplyDelete
  20. 3d çizim Çalışmalarımızda istenilen desenleri, damaskları ve ışık sistemlerini sizlere arzu ettiğiniz detaylara kadar sunarak gerçek bir sunum imkanı sağlamaktayız.

    3d çizim ve dekorasyon çizimlerde mekanınızın ve projenizin son halini görüp daha uygulamaya başlamadan değişiklik yapabilir, projeyi hayata geçirmeden önce nasıl görüneceği hakkında karar sahibi olabilirsiniz.

    Özellikle taslak aşamasındaki projelerinizi hem müşterinin mekanı daha iyi algılamasını hem de fikirlerinizi daha iyi ifade etmeniz açısından ve işin devamı için 3d çizim bağlayıcı etki sağlayacaktır.

    Mimari cephe tasarımı, mimari sunum, 3d modelleme, iç mekan modelleme, 3d çizim, 3 boyutlu bina ve ürün modelleme, giydirme cephe tasarımı, 3d kat planı, photoshop’ta 2d kat planı hazırlanması, mimari ve teknik animasyon, mimari görselleştirme ve mimari modelleme konularında profesyonel hizmet vermekteyiz.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Zigon Sehpa evimizin, ofisimizin dekorunda fazla da başrolde olmayan ama olmadığında yeri doldurulamayan aksesuarlardır. Orta sehpa, bulunduğu mekanın dekoruna göre farklı tasarımlarda ve değişik malzemelerden üretilebilmektedir. Sehpa, tasarımlarına ve kullanım alanlarına göre zigon sehpa, orta sehpa olarak anılırlar.

    Zigon sehpalar üzerine bir porselen tabak, mumluk, vazo veya bir çiçek buketi ile ile şık bir görünüme kavuşur. Evlerimizi dekorasyon açısından daha iyi gösteren mobilya olarak en iyi çeşitlerden birisi de zigon sehpalardır.

    ReplyDelete

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