How do we build a strong Russian economy? Part of 2
1. Stable exchange rate of the national currency.
2. Providing the economy with sufficient money supply. As we have already said, today we have only 43 kopecks of money supply (М2) per ruble of GDP, and there should be at least twice as much - that is, 86 kopecks (as in European countries).
3. Stable inflation, within 1-2%, not more.
4. Cheap bank loans - 3-4% per annum.
5. And finally, the support of domestic producers, which can also be given a numerical expression (after all, the goal must be measurable!), But we will do it later.
Let's start with the stability of the course. We have already talked about why we need this stability: the whole point is that, despite the sanctions, the Russian economy is very “tied” today to supplies from abroad. And the value of imports in the conditions of a galloping ruble exchange rate changes as dramatically as it is unpredictable. The problem is that our production and agriculture mainly work on the domestic market and receive revenues for their goods in rubles. They also carry out their expenses in rubles, and if they need to buy something imported, they buy dollars for rubles (or they buy rubles for rubles from those who have already purchased the products they need for dollars for resale). As a result, a sharp drop in the ruble exchange rate leads to an equally sharp rise in the cost of imported raw materials and components, transport, etc., because now, in order to buy them, for the same amount of dollars you have to give rubles much more, while prices on their own products remain the same. This brings down the economy of enterprises.
The conclusion from the above is quite simple: we need a fixed exchange rate of the ruble to other currencies (more precisely, to one of them, because their rates change relative to each other) - in this case, the cost of imported products will become planned and predictable. How it works? Suppose there is a plant that produces a tractor and sells them at the price of 7 million rubles. a piece. But in the production of a single tractor, imported components are used, costing 10 000 euros, and the euro / ruble rate is 70 rubles / euro. Thus, in order to produce one tractor, the plant must spend 700 000 rub. for the purchase of imported components - that is, 10% of the sale value of the tractor.
So, we need such stability in which our manufacturer would spend these same 10% sales prices on imported components, not only now, but also in the future. For example, inflation for the year was 5% - respectively, the tractor went up in price from 7 million rubles. to 7 million. 350 thousand. rub. Then we should increase the exchange rate of the ruble to the euro by the amount of inflation, that is, the same 5%. Then the manufacturer, spending 10% of its new sales price, that is, 735 000 rubles, will be able to purchase all the same 73,5 10 euros at the changed rate of 000 rubles / euro. A change in the exchange rate must correspond to inflation — that is the stability to which we must strive.
How to do it? Quite simply: every year we set a fixed exchange rate of the ruble to the euro or the dollar, which remains unchanged for the whole year and which is calculated this way - for example, the exchange rate of the ruble to the euro in the previous year was 70 rubles. per euro, the planned inflation for this year is here (again, for example) 5%. Accordingly, we set the course for this year in the amount of 73,5 rubles. per euro. Everything! In fact, the formula will be a little more complicated, but this is not fundamental - the essence and meaning of managing a fixed rate is almost completely reflected in this example.
And what is surprising - both today and 10 years ago, we had and have everything we need to have such a ruble exchange rate. In addition to the understanding that we need it, of course.
It is possible that those readers who are familiar with the science of economics are already preparing objections, because from the point of view of the latter the fixed rate of the national currency is undoubtedly evil. Economic science tells us the following: free exchange (conversion) of currency is a self-regulating mechanism, which is designed to prevent currency deficit. And really - in theory, it turns out that if all of a sudden the demand for a currency exceeds supply, then there is a deficit at a fixed rate - there is simply not enough currency for everyone to buy it. But with free conversion, the case is completely different, the price of the currency will increase, some buyers will not be able to pay for it a new price and refuse to buy it. Accordingly, the demand will decrease and come into balance with the proposal. Here, of course, you can argue that at least that’s true, and that anyone who wants it will still not receive the currency, but supporters of the modern “economics” are ready to reply to this — those who could pay more for it will receive the currency, that is, those whoever earns more on his products, and that means “the invisible hand of the market” rationally transfers the resource (currency) to the hands of those who do better business (since he earns greater profits).
All this is true.
But the thing is - the Russian Federation has a huge big advantage over many other countries. There is such an economic indicator, the balance of foreign trade balance - it represents the difference between the values of exported and imported products and services for a year. If the state sells more than it buys, the balance of foreign trade is positive, and the currency remains at the country's disposal. Otherwise, the balance becomes negative and for foreign trade operations it is necessary either to use the previously made “stash” or to attract foreign currency loans.
So in the newest stories Russia, at least since 2000 year, the balance of foreign trade is positive. Is always. In other words, the influx of dollars, euros and other pounds there to our country is much more than their outflow - it was also in relatively successful periods (for example, 2010-2013, when the country more or less got out of the crisis 2008 g, but I haven’t yet boomed into the pit of 2014 d), and into the crises themselves. In a period of high oil prices - and in a period of low. And this, in general, speaks of one thing: the current levels of our consumption of imported goods with a large margin are provided by currency receipts from sales - first of all, of course, oil and gas, which constitute the lion’s share of our exports. That is, if we now take and fix the exchange rate of the ruble against the dollar or euro at the current mark, then there will be no shortage of currency.
When the state has a balance of foreign trade tends to zero, that is, the number of sales abroad is comparable to the number of purchases, then a fixed exchange rate can actually entail a shortage of currency. But in the Russian Federation this will not happen. More precisely, of course, anything can happen, but for this to happen either a huge drop in revenues should occur (which is unrealistic, since the same West is completely unwilling to abandon our hydrocarbons), or a substantial increase in imports - but for now do not be afraid too.
The fact is that with the existing level of wages and incomes of enterprises, there is a limit to the imported goods that we (enterprises and individuals) can acquire - beyond this we will not gain anything. Let us explain this with an example.
For example, given today's income level, the population of a certain city in our country buys 1 000 imported televisions per year at an average price of 1 000 dollars. So, in terms of a fixed exchange rate of the ruble against the dollar, neither the number nor the average cost of purchased televisions can increase until until the income of the population grows - and only when they grow up, will people want to either buy TVs more often (which will increase the number of sales), or switch to more expensive and high-quality models (which will increase their average cost), and maybe another immediately. But the fact is that until wages and other forms of income (in rubles!) Grow, there will be no additional need for televisions - people will not have the money to buy more TVs or more expensive models. and the ruble exchange rate has nothing to do with it. The same is true for enterprises - with the available production volumes of sales and profits, they are able to buy imported products (raw materials, machinery, transport, etc.) within certain limits and nothing more. In order to buy more, enterprises need to start earning more, that is, to work better and more efficiently than they do now - and this cannot happen immediately after the introduction of a fixed ruble exchange rate.
In other words, if today we fix the ruble rate against the dollar or euro at the current level, then we will not see any rush demand for currency or import growth - simply because those rubles that we are earning right now will no longer so we still have nothing to pay for additional TV, refrigerator, Mercedes or a rolling mill. Additional need for import can arise only when enterprises and people have additional income, and this is still far away.
But if the fixing of the ruble is useful for us and does not threaten anything - but why would we then not return the ruble to the gold standard?
What kind of fluctuations can we talk about if the domestic ruble is today and tomorrow, and a certain state equivalent gold equivalent will always be worth - well, for example, two and a half thousandth grams of gold (today's rate is approximately 2 600 rubles per gram)?
Someone, again, will say that this is impossible - they say, setting a gold standard, we must have a gold reserve that would ensure our money in circulation, and since there is none, then it will be complete nonsense - there will be not so much money economy, and as much as we have gold. This will lead us to collapse. But in fact, setting a gold standard, we do not need so much gold at all to provide every ruble in circulation. The funny thing is that by and large, for the introduction of the gold standard does not need gold! In fact, the gold standard is a statement at the state level: “from now on and forever, if someone wants to buy 1 ruble, he must pay the cost of 0,0025 grams of gold for it - in any currency!”
Nobody wants to buy rubles for such a price? And what is this sadness to us? All foreign trade contracts we conclude in dollars or euros, but not in rubles. That is, the prices for oil and gas today are not at all tied to the exchange rate of the ruble - they are set in dollars and euros, depending on market world prices, and we get paid for them also in dollars and euros. Then the exporting company sells a significant part of its foreign exchange earnings, changing it into rubles - and what is bad, if instead of the constant uncertainty associated with the galloping rates, the exporting company will change the proceeds from its oil at the “gold” rate, and the importing company - at the same rate to buy dollars sold by the exporter?
Here, HSE graduates can remember another thing: when a country moves to the gold standard, using paper and non-cash money, it essentially undertakes to exchange money at any time for anyone who wants it for gold at the established rate. And it is here that the second objection against the gold standard consists precisely: “Well, how will everyone rush to change money for gold, what will happen to our gold reserves?”
In fact, such a statement of the question is completely meaningless. We have many companies that need working capital - money to support their current activities. That is, they need to ensure the supply of raw materials and materials, they need to pay wages to workers and employees, transfer taxes and fees, etc. etc. - enterprises need money, and not gold bars in the subfield.
Do many of the citizens need gold instead of money? For us, money is the same medium of exchange, that is, we need food, clothes and other things that we need, and if we have excess money, then we’d better take it to the bank - let it be any percentage on deposits dripping. In general, there would be very, very few people who would prefer to keep their money not in a card or in a bank, but in the form of a gold bar under a pillow.
Accordingly, the question “What will happen if suddenly all ruble owners require the state to give them gold?” Is akin to “What will happen if all banks suddenly demand to return their loans and give nothing in return?”. The economy, of course, will collapse, only a situation in which all banks will immediately demand to return loans back without their renewal is absolutely impossible, and therefore there is nothing to say about it.
So, we see many benefits from the gold standard, but ... still it is unacceptable for our country. And why? The thing is that we need stability relative to foreign currency, not gold, and alas, the gold standard of such stability cannot give us. Just because gold is just a commodity that also grows and loses in value, and instead of stability, we get the same galloping exchange rates relative to the ruble - of course, not as “wonderful” as we have now, but also very, very significant.
Here, for example, the dynamics of the cost of an ounce of gold in the world market.
So, for example, in September 2012 g, this ounce cost 1 745 dollars, and in July 2013 g only 1 286 dollars, in other words, the price of gold in this period fell almost 1,36 times - it would be so much more expensive for the dollar against the ruble the indicated 9 months, if during that period we set the gold standard for rubles!
It should be understood that the introduction of the gold standard will provide us with somewhat less galloping courses than we have now. But our task is not to exchange the awl for a little more functional soap in our situation, but to stabilize the exchange rates for real! Here, of course, someone can recall Witte’s experience and the experience of the USSR, but in those years when the Russian (Soviet) ruble was equated to gold, many other countries also used the gold standard, which ensured stable exchange rates relative to each other. But now this is not the case - most countries, on the contrary, have abandoned the gold standard in favor of free conversion, and our sole transition to the gold standard with such currencies does not equal the ruble.
Therefore, we do not need a gold standard - we need a fixed exchange rate relative to the chosen currency.
Here it is necessary to note one more moment. Graduates of the HSE well and a lot of talk about the invisible hand of the market, which puts everything in its place, that the free pricing of currency in the best way ensures its distribution among those who want to buy this currency. But here's the bad luck ... The fact is that not only those who need this currency to carry out production activities or to import imported goods into the country for the purpose of resale participate in currency trading. The mass of those who do not produce anything and do not import any goods into the country participate in currency trading: call them currency traders, and I will call them speculators because the result of their work is ... nothing - they earn on currency exchange differences without producing any goods and services. Take, for example, an intermediary firm selling some kind of equipment - it also seems to produce nothing, but is it? She advertises the product, is looking for a buyer, she usually settles various issues with him about the transaction, and also delivers the equipment, etc.: that is, she sells her services to those who need them. The currency trader does not do anything like this - he bought it while the course was lower, sold it when he got taller - nobody needs it but himself. This, of course, is only about speculative transactions — a situation where a trader (dealer) works in the interests of a client who trusts him in acquiring currency for production or trading — that is completely different.
So all would be nothing with these speculations, while their volume was relatively small, but at some point the cart was far ahead of the horse. Exchange rates were determined not only (and it seems, not so much) by real supply and demand, but by the results of such speculation. But why should we? Because "the whole enlightened world does this"? So he does a lot of this, with which we disagree and what we will never enter here.
What is good about a fixed exchange rate is that if it doesn’t completely kill, it drastically reduces financial speculation. How to play on the exchange rate change, if the rate is essentially unchanged? In general, as we see, the fixed exchange rate of the ruble has some advantages, but one should not think that its introduction is a simple matter.
First, you need to choose a currency in relation to which we will fix our rate. Because, for obvious reasons, the ruble exchange rate can be fixed against a single currency, but not all at once, and here it is important not to make a mistake.
Second, we need to establish an initial course that suits us. The easiest way, of course, is to set it at the level of the actual current one. But it would be right to do so — to determine the priority sectors in the development of Russia, to evaluate at what rate of the ruble against the chosen currency they will receive the best conditions for development and establish it. Again, if you make this choice, you should find out which industries will suffer from the input rate and, possibly, provide some compensation for them.
And finally, the third .... The third is the very reason why the fixed ruble exchange rate offered by the author with all its advantages can NEVER be accepted by the current government of the Russian Federation.
The attentive reader has probably prepared a malicious question, which sounds like this: “Well, author, you're right - right after the introduction of the fixed exchange rate of the ruble there will be no rush demand for currency, its deficit will not arise. But then what? As a result of the measures proposed by you, the Russian economy will gradually increase, the demand for imported goods will increase, and if now the foreign trade balance is still in our favor, then there will come a time when imports come closer and then begin to overtake the size of exports, because, no matter how cool, In the foreseeable future, our enterprises will expand due to the filling of the domestic market - we cannot count on massive access to world markets. And then what?"
This is a completely correct question. The fact is that a fixed exchange rate of the ruble will be effective exactly as long as our exports exceed imports, and then problems begin. That is why one of the state’s priorities in regulating the economy should be a combination of support for export-oriented enterprises (that is, such enterprises whose products are ready to buy for foreign currency) in conjunction with import substitution policies. In other words, on the one hand, the state should contribute to the development of its own production, replacing the products that we previously bought abroad. Just do not rush to build another Skolkovo with the “high” goal of “catching up and overtaking Intel” - oddly enough, in fact we buy a lot of things that we could do without any problems, starting with seed potatoes and fertilizers, for example . On the other hand, the state should help enterprises that are able to sell their products abroad. In other words, in order to use all the benefits of a fixed exchange rate of the ruble, the state must begin to manage two things: the mass of currency coming from export earnings and its foreign trade balance, ensuring that its balance remains positive. How? We will discuss this issue in more detail in the “Domestic Producer Support” section - but this will be later.
In other words, if we want to get a fixed exchange rate for the ruble, we must be prepared for the fact that at some point the balance of foreign trade may decrease dramatically and we will need all of our income to prevent a currency deficit. For this, the state should take such a step unpopular with our establishment as the restoration of a monopoly on foreign exchange earnings. In other words, all foreign exchange earnings should be concentrated in the hands of the state. After all, what is happening now? How does the oligarchy withdraw money abroad? By and large, he doesn’t take them out - he simply does not return them home. That is, a certain foreign laying company is being made, which receives revenues from the company's foreign trade operations from a real buyer - but only money necessary for covering production costs is received from the Russian Federation, and the profit remains “laying” - so, actually, billions of dollars of our capitalists abroad are formed. It turns out interesting - we have a positive foreign trade balance, but not all the currency from the transaction returns home. In addition, another problem arises - the profit of our export-oriented enterprises is artificially underestimated, the budget does not count taxes ...
And what consequences does this have for our “elite”? Brzezinski’s words: “since 500’s billions of dollars of the Russian elite are in our banks, will you figure it out: is it your elite or is it already ours?” Have already been harassed, but they have not become less fair.
In general, such a situation can not be considered sound and useful for the country from any point of view. But to change it (that is, to oblige the state to realize foreign exchange earnings, to prohibit the use of offshore companies, to consider their use as malicious tax evasion on a particularly large scale, etc.) means to press our “elite” in its “inalienable” rights, and she, of course, will never agree to this.
By the way, the attentive reader can again note: “You, the author, write something strange. It seems that the priorities you set are characteristic of a market economy, and suddenly - bang - a fixed ruble exchange rate, a monopoly on foreign exchange earnings, a rejection of speculation ... What are you going to call us back to the USSR? ”
And why not, dear reader? We lived in the USSR and are well aware of its shortcomings. Now we live under capitalism (I must say, pretty wild) and we see very well how far its realities are from the “dairy rivers with milk and honey” that seemed to us in the late Soviet era. So why not take and combine two systems, if possible using the advantages that each of them possesses? Why don't we create a socially oriented state with a strong, competitive economy?
To be continued ...
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