The Higher School of Economics has published studies on the beginning of 2016, according to which 52% of Russians trust the economy with state planning, whereas before they were 49%, and the confidence in the market model for 2015 fell by 10%, from 36% to 26% . 80% of Russians are convinced that food prices should be set by the state, not the market, services should be state-owned, the state must build roads, provide jobs, build kindergartens, schools, clinics and perform other important functions affecting citizens.
Business citizens do not trust, considering the income of the owners unfair. 40% of respondents believe that it is impossible to achieve mutual understanding between the rich and the poor in Russia. And people do not see the attempts of business to solve social problems.
The less respondents are satisfied with their financial position and life in general, the lower their position on the scale of material well-being, the higher the nostalgia for the Soviet past and the less they trust in business. "During crisis periods, the number of supporters of the Soviet system is increasing," the HSE study, considered to be a "stronghold of liberals," affirms.
About what lessons of state planning we must endure and why we are increasingly recalling the Soviet era, in an interview on the eve.RU the writer, essayist, researcher told stories economic policy of Russia Andrei Parshev.
Question: How do you think the results of the HSE study reflect reality?
Andrey Parshev: The polls themselves should be treated with some doubt, because the methodology is not always disclosed, it is not reported how and who was interviewed. But perhaps the main problem in this area lies in the fact that we have so many people do not know exactly what the structure of our economy is, what the balance is between the state economy and the one based on private entrepreneurship. Quite often, some large companies are considered to be state-owned (for example, Gazprom), although the role of state participation in some companies is not always clear, and it is not clear whether it takes business decisions at all.
Often, many believe that we still live in a state economy. This is easy to check by familiarizing yourself with the structure of the economy and companies that are heard. This is one side of the issue. The other side of the question is that the state often interferes with the work of some private companies, and we can with great difficulty set up a clean experiment, compare what the results of the work of private enterprises and state-owned are.
But if we talk about the essence of the issue, that is the basic problem of our model of economy. The fact is that the privatization process itself in 90 proceeded on the basis of an idea that was inspired by the masses and accepted by society, that everything is done to make the economy efficient, while under state administration it was allegedly ineffective. As a result, the state economy was handed out in private hands, and without compensation, for obvious reasons - the new owners simply did not have the money to pay for the assets received.
It is not entirely clear why this began to manifest itself only now, but the fact that this model does not work was understandable literally during the first 10 years after the start of reforms. The system does not work! If we compare with successful economies, for example, Chinese or some other, then we will see that the Russian economy, namely the private sector, did not create anything significant. This is clearly seen just on the shelves of our stores, anyway - food or manufactured goods. Not to mention the markets. There are no products there.
And therefore, naturally, the question arises as to what to do next, because everyone understands that if no one works and does not produce anything, then, in fact, there is no place for wealth and well-being. You can't get rich just by selling Chinese goods to each other. In principle, this awareness exists, and I even think that an honest survey could show more than 52% for state planning, but sometimes this question is answered with something else in mind. For example, those who somehow settled in this new economy, in general, they understand that it may not end very well, but the changes frighten them.
Question: Still, if we talk about the study, what do Russians see as advantages of state planning, what do you think, and where could such a model of the economy be useful?
Andrey Parshev: The planning technique and the corresponding planning software are incredibly developed in successful economies. Moreover, it is not just developed, the corresponding planning software was limited for distribution to other countries. The planning process itself is the most important, and all developed countries are engaged in this. What can be the mechanisms for the implementation of plans in a market economy is a separate issue, but, for example, somewhere closer, somewhere further from the Soviet planning system was a model for the Japanese after the war, which gave impetus to development - everyone knows perfectly well. Planning is necessary, and planning in physical terms, and this is a very significant point.
Question: But we also have negative lessons from state planning?
Andrey Parshev: Here we must separate the real negative lessons from propaganda. In addition, I believe that there were some conscious or semi-conscious actions against the Soviet economy in order to discredit the model of government.
Question: What do you mean?
Andrey Parshev: It is worth starting a conversation on this topic in any team - a discussion about coupons, cards, etc. immediately begins, and no one says that this is generally a feature of the economy of Gorbachev’s times, not even Brezhnev, although there were certain drawbacks also.
And the propaganda directed against the state model of the economy was very pragmatic. Those who hoped to divide this state property had to introduce the idea that “it works very poorly”, therefore, it must be “distributed to private hands,” and then “it will work well”. It is not worth believing that the beneficiaries of the distribution of Soviet property talked about the shortcomings of state planning.
But there is one thing, and I must say, this is a very painful topic for our society, because a satisfactory solution has not yet been proposed. The problem is that tight control over prices in our planning system, pricing, retail prices (and you remember that the price was cast in meat grinders or combings right in the production process) automatically leads to a shortage problem - partial, for some types of goods , in some time periods, this is due to the fact that demand is difficult to plan, it sometimes migrates from different industries, in different areas, categories of goods, and in addition, it is necessary to very strictly control the purchasing method obnost population. This is a difficult task, it is both economic and political.
The political problem is related to what is responsible for the price. Who is to blame if prices have risen? Greedy capitalist. In the case of a state model, the state is to blame. This is not good for obvious reasons. This is the main problem of state planning and state control over the economy.
Question: Why, despite the stereotype that “under the State Planning Committee in the country it was bad and nothing was enough,” do people still look at that time with hope?
Andrey Parshev: But people are not fools and can compare. In general, the possibilities of any propaganda (and in this case we are talking about propaganda, that “everything was bad there”) are great, but not unlimited.
Question: That is, this reaction is not just in opposition to the current situation, but there are objective reasons for recalling positive Soviet times?
Andrei Parshev: Of course, these are objective reasons, and for a number of points. First of all, there are some factors disturbing people. Probably the first of them is unemployment, the scale of which is carefully disguised now, but in fact the situation is close to catastrophic. If we subtract the number of taxpayers from the number of able-bodied people, we will get a huge figure. They were softly called self-employed, but, as a rule, they are simply unemployed or interrupted by some kind of odd jobs. And in a situation where you need to have at least some kind of salary, it is no longer about getting rich or having your own business.
The second factor, perhaps less important, but also of importance, is, of course, the system of state standards for products, and it is always annoying and annoying when there is not real sausage, not real chocolate, and there is no normal bread to taste. and it smelled like bread - we all know that too.
Such things, of course, affect public sentiment. But so far, this does not manifest itself in the electoral field, because there is no any integral program of returning to the state model.
If now there was a political force that would say that we have an economic program, according to which there will be all the advantages of the Soviet economy, but there will be everything in the stores, then such a party would have won the elections with great success. But in a sense, our politicians are honest people, and so far there is no such program.
Question: Even if the HSE voices the results of the study “for the State Planning Commission,” will the liberals in power themselves hear these results and draw any conclusions?
Andrey Parshev: HSE - this is the economic bloc, they will probably hear, they all know it. The economic sections of the presidential address are prepared by people related to HSE. The situation is clear, the authorities finally began to ask economists what to do in this situation? But liberal economists, apart from the mantras about the invisible hand of the market, cannot say anything, but our economy has not come so far as science.
Question: In the study, the authors simply refer to the crisis, they say, it was he who caused more dissatisfaction of citizens with the market. And often in the media, a crisis is declared to be the result of influence on Russia from outside, but is it really who is to blame for the crisis?
Andrei Parshev: Our people understand the threatening actions of the West to our address and separate them from unfavorable economic conditions. And any of our citizens, regardless of the level of education, understands perfectly well that if we sell only oil and gas, and they have fallen in price three times, then we, of course, these three times have become poorer. The problem is that we have created just such a model of economy. As far as it is introduced to us from the outside and is a product of the activities of our managers, this is already a debatable issue, in any case, everyone understands that it is the economic model born in 90 that is the main cause of the current crisis.
In my opinion, simply the realization that the current model of the economy does not work, in society there may be, it was quite long ago in such a depressed form, but now it manifests itself even more, possibly due to the fact that the leaders of our state, they say that a new model is needed, propose to create alternative models for the development of our country.
Question: And which model would be acceptable?
Andrei Parshev: The fact is that for “capitalism” we call this system “capitalism”, an option was chosen that is not suitable for us, liberal capitalism. In our country, it can work, but provided that the model is protectionist, protected from competition from more developed economies, and it is this model that those who control our economy absolutely do not want to try. Perhaps, a protectionist model will be tried out, that is, high import duties on high-value-added products, difficulty or prohibition of the export of raw materials in order to stimulate their own processing of raw materials and the production of high-level products. And the state model of the economy is: Gosplan, Gossnab, OBKHSS. Let's see what will happen to us in the coming years.