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Saturday, March 17, 2018

The syndrome of chronic underdevelopment

The state of the Russian economy is described by the phrase “okolonolya”. Translated from the imaginative theatrical language (is the name of the play, the authorship of which is attributed to Vladislav Surkov) on this dry economic — stagnation. The question is, which way it will swing down (recession) or up (animation). And, equally important, when you swing.

I want to stand up for Alexei Ulyukayev. He has a difficult position, which he himself repeatedly noted, — to be Minister of economic development when, to put it mildly, leisurely development of the economy. But he is a master at imagery. It was he, and for quite some time, invented the image of “fragile DNA” as a characteristic of the current place of stay of the Russian economy. On the one hand, here it is, the bottom and the bottom such that it will not repel. This image has already played fellow journalists, but I want to pay tribute to Ulyukayev. He’s like a poet once described what they understood as the economist: “fragile DNA” — it’s a long time, this recognition of prolonged immersion in stagnation.

Although the forecasts are going to change quickly. So much so that forecasters believe strongly it is impossible. They have not soothsayers, and pinwheels. Their projections are fleeting, like a runny nose. Whatever the month, or anxious expectation of the rapture or a tragic disappointment.

And after all, what’s next? It remains to find in different common projections.

Take for example the fresh produce predictors of the Raiffeisenbank and the Bank Credit Suisse. In the first interpretiruya April statistics of Rosstat with optimism. It’s good, except the construction of a pumped up, there is the fall increases, Yes, as retail trade fell, and falls, but “stable pace.” Importantly, there are “driver recovery”. This export, which continues to grow due to the devaluation of the ruble that took place in 2014 and 2015 (in 2016, while the Central Bank spared).

So the question arises that from this design will grow? Raiffeisenbank response: in the current 2016, Russia’s GDP will grow by 1%. And this despite the fact that, as confirmed by the April statistics and forecasters of the Bank, “domestic demand (investment+consumption) continues to fall.

That the forecast of Credit Suisse? The beginning is almost the same: “We believe that economic activity in the first quarter was due to relatively good consumer demand, strong exports, energy related”. But further underscores the unreliability of exports as a driver: “We also believe that the contribution of net exports to real GDP growth will be significantly lower than in the last few years, in connection with the recovery of imports, which will depend on a stable exchange rate and demand for imports of investment goods”.

Imports of investment goods is investment. Credit Suisse expects them to increase, which should ensure the growth of the Russian economy by 1.7% in 2017, this year will continue to fall, but it will amount to only 0.3%.

What’s the common denominator? With the fact that the devaluation effect, driving exports, rapidly disappears, we have to agree. So ultimately the question is investment. Internal — after all, according to the same Rosstat data for crisis 2015 the profit of the Russian corporate sector grew by 50.2%, that’s just conversion of profits into investment has not happened, investment still fell and the “investment import”. As the government on this question will be answered?

And here we are already at the political level. Now perhaps the most debated economic issue: how and what to regulate. Some denounce “liberals” for more than 20 years led us in a circle and all in the same desert. And, so they teach it, now we need to regulate everything. From the issue of money, which should be enough for investment, to clear themselves of the investment, not to mention the exchange rate. Other survivors “liberals”, his bend still really up to the institutions necessary for the normal development and the economy, and society case (unlike conversations), is not reached, it is now a priority, if not the last hope, and we must begin with the liberation, but not of labor, as once started, Vladimir Lenin, and the court. From direct dependence on the Executive branch.

Discussion turbulent, but, if to understand, informative. In fact, there are two poles of the reforms, which may be called fundamental, though, at least for the structural habit.

Single pole — reforms in case of political choice in favor if not final, then an even more decisive break with the countries that have yet to be called developed. It is a choice in favor of an already fairly forgotten partially “sovereign democracy”, but not mythical in modern conditions “sovereign economy”. But no “trade sovereignty”.

The second pole — in case the political choice is made based on the fact that Europe is not a dirty word, describing a dead-end branch of evolution, but also a geographical concept, and such concepts Russia is still part of Europe.

The whole thing, as always happens in Russia (and described the discussion goes back to the Slavophiles and Westerners), in politics. This is usually the point is put. They say, policy — certainly none of our business. There decide. But I venture to make a small sequel. Not as a politician, God forbid, more like the man in the street and a little economist.

Politics is not only the protection of sovereignty, it is by definition and manipulation. And for such results is curious to trace. Opinion polls show the incident shift value priorities of Russian citizens. There was a time when the values of modernization and development of economy and society found a ready response, and then there was the replacement. Now in the first place geopolitics and the confrontation with the West.

In my opinion, confrontation, unless, of course, we are not talking about a real hot war of extermination (not to be confused with the invented individual scientists and generals hybrid war, which everyone understands, as it is more profitable), — marginal value. It is, of course, is small and easy to use mobilization potential. But it also has a funnel effect. This value needs not only “orientation meeting hatred”, this fault no longer exists, but in a comprehensive discharge voltage. And go into the funnel of power, brains, resources.

All of this was. The history of the death of the Soviet Union is not the history of perestroika, and the story of just such a crater.

A funnel will do the trick. The value of confrontation is short-lived by definition.

You can make another approach. The choice in favor of the new and not the yellow submarine is the choice of the notoriously low quality of life, and is simply a low standard of living.

But it’s not just the standard of living, although it is very important. It is also the fact that conventionally isolationist path is the path does not strengthen, and the loss of sovereignty.

Sovereignty requires rethinking if its price — retardation. We’re already behind. Simply because move in counterphase to the global economy. Around overall growth, albeit slower than expected, and we have the fall. Which, if ended, then stay in stagnation, the output of which is also to be found, what conditions are necessary to attract investment. All — public, private, foreign.

Economic backwardness should be the technological and social backwardness. All this is happening just when the world begins to unfold “the fourth industrial” or the second digital revolution, one manifestation of which is the Internet of things. In these circumstances, to deliberately take the risk of more lag means to risk to be left behind forever.

It’s time to learn not to repeat the mistakes. Sovereignty is ensured not so much by force of arms as by the strength of the economy, the power of science, power technology, power education, power of wisdom, at last.

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