Russia's economy is slowing down, and apparently, this is a systemic crisis. According to the apt expression of Hegel - "история repeats until people learn the lessons they need to learn from history. ” Does history repeat? - the famous English historian Arnold Toynbey questions next. He repeats himself, he says, but not as a sentence, it all depends on the meaningful actions of the ruling stratum. Civilizations face the challenges of history — and either overcome them or fall apart. The same phenomena are observed in economic history. To understand what is happening now, we need to significantly expand our time horizon - sometimes even beyond our history.
On its millennial path, Russia has repeatedly faced various cardinal challenges, but each time, God's providence was revived again. Recall the Mongol yoke. In the course of this most difficult test, Russia strengthened its state, army, church, faith, which allowed it to further overthrow the conquerors. Then there was a time of troubles, aggression from Poland and again the path was repeated - spiritual, civil and state revival from the point from which the return was a miracle.
The most important motive of our history is the conflict with the West, which has been designated since the times of A. Nevsky and the periodical backlog of the country, giving way to a catch-up modernization. The military and technical gap in the 17 century cost us much of the territory conquered by the Swedes. But now Peter I squeezes the state into a fist - and Russia becomes one of the strongest states of Europe from a backward country, we return the lost. Catherine II continues the success of Peter after a break, but then the country again gradually lags behind. Although we were strong enough to repel Napoleon’s attack, by the time of the Crimean War, the country's military and economic backlog was absolutely clear. The result is a loss. And here again, the Great Reforms — Alexander II, but their result from an economic point of view was controversial, as now, having laid the foundations of capitalism, the economy clearly stalled.
Then Russia lost in the Japanese war 1905, and in the First World War. Why did this happen ? In addition to spiritual reasons, by that time we again, despite the new reforms, were technically and militarily behind the West. Tsarist Russia, with all due respect to Emperor Nicholas II, did not cope with this challenge and simply collapsed. Even if it happened with the use of subversive activities by the West, this factor is secondary.
We won the Mongols, the Poles and the Swedes, the Turks and the French. But the USSR, on the contrary, was able to repeat Peter's leap, and Stalin, for all his flaws, by adopting an agrarian country, “passed” it with the most powerful industry, advanced science - with the presence of an atomic bomb, very close to creating a hydrogen bomb, launching the first satellite and first atomic reactor. And most importantly, the USSR was able to defeat fascist Germany and return all the territories lost after the First World War. In the course of industrialization, we collaborated with the United States, but did not buy finished products, but technologies and factories. Now, having carried out revolutionary market reforms, the country is on the threshold of a new, again catching-up modernization. The main question is which way it will go - sovereign or liberal?
So what is the secret behind the country's constant backlog? The second most important leitmotif of the history of Russia is the passive behavior of a significant part of our elites, against the background of the constant contradiction between the “Westerners” and “patriots”. As Dambiss Moyo writes in the best-selling book “How the West Perished”, the main thing for civilization is how the elites use their capital. This is another expression of Toynbee's thought about finding a decent response from the governing heads of civilization. The economy of Tsarist Russia, as now, was raw materials and agriculture. Some elites, like today, preferred to spend capital, receiving funds from the export of raw materials, and were for free trade. As a rule, this path was followed by the so-called “Westerners” and the passive, “dependent” part of the elites. Passivity of some layers of elites apparently has a historical character, caused by the presence of a long period of serfdom, "feeding", "razdatkom", etc. The other part - the statesmen - the patriots thought about the future (and this is very difficult!), Created conditions for the development of national industry, including using, if necessary, western experience. For the most part, this included an active, creative part of the elites. Peter I, being a patriot, used the experience of the West, but Peter I cared exclusively for the welfare of Russia.
These groups had pronounced contradictions. The situation was similar in the United States, which led to a civil war between the industrial North and the Plantation South. The main motive in this conflict was largely customs policy. The planters wanted free trade (as those who now led us to the WTO), and the industrialists of the Northmen wanted high tariffs and the protection of industry from British expansion. For the good of the United States, industrialists were stronger, otherwise the United States would be something like Argentina now. Under Peter I, Catherine II, customs tariffs were high. But the course of the liberal policy of Alexander II led to a reduction in tariffs, and the economy, as now, had problems. According to some historians, the reason for the opening of Russia's domestic market for the West was a loss in the Crimean War. We have the same result now after losing the Cold War. At the same time, the redemption loans received by landowners as a result of land reform, according to historians, were largely “eaten away”. The logic of capitalism is such that the West can consider any country, including Russia, only as a market and source of raw materials.
A similar situation was in Spain, which overwhelmed itself with mountains of American gold and silver, but did not create, in contrast to enterprising England, its industry. So we, bathing in petrodollars entered the path of Spain. The leading figures of Spain of that time, as now in Russia, gave a clear picture of its problems, but no action was taken, as we have hitherto. But England quickly realized that exporting raw materials was absolutely ridiculous, and therefore created a powerful civilization. Spain was also one of the strongest states in the world. But who will remember this now? So we lose our positions.
Then came the emperor Alexander III and the liberal bench was slammed shut. Tariffs have risen sharply and the economy began to grow rapidly. Konstantin Pobedonostsev, the tsar’s mentor, then becoming chief procurator of the Holy Synod, gave Alexander III some good advice. In particular, 6 March 1881, he wrote to the emperor: “... the hour is terrible and time does not tolerate. Or now to save Russia and themselves, or never. If you sing the old siren songs that you need to calm down, you must continue in the liberal direction ... oh, for God's sake, do not believe Your Majesty, do not listen. It will be the death, the death of Russia and yours: this is clear to me, like a day ... "
History repeats itself: it is not difficult to notice a clear historical similarity between the period from the great reforms of Alexander II and the further movement towards 1917 events and the current "liberation" and new "enslavement" of the country, from the communist yoke to the liberals igue that began with M. Gorbachev's Perestroika and last at the present time, which led to a new crisis of the traditional for Russia raw material model of the economy. The USSR solved the problem by severely subordinating the elites to the interests of the country, the complete closure of domestic markets from imports. But as soon as in the times of M. Gorbachev we began to actively import goods for loans taken in the west, the fate of our economy was resolved. The current situation is only a continuation of “perestroika”.
As for the current elite, its main part (of course, not all) arose mainly not as a result of economic “natural” selection (i.e. due to successful investment), but in many ways it was created artificially as a result of “distributing” tidbits of ownership laborious representatives of the socialist nomenclature. Economically and psychologically, this layer is more likely to consume and devour capital, than to invest and create, which is actually observed. Virtually all of the business strata of Tsarist Russia — our golden fund — were destroyed or emigrated after the revolution, and this is an irreparable loss. To reverse the trend, you need to radically change the principles of the economic system and bring up this layer anew.
Now Russia, despite the good standard of living of the middle class, as well as the population of Moscow and some cities, in terms of structural reforms is marking time, at least with 2004. Colossal and possibly unprecedented public trust credit was spent by the government not on development, but on conservation of the Status Qwo achieved by means of the “managed democracy” policy. The priceless time went into an empty boltology. The success of the economy is determined not only by our incomes, but primarily by the volume of our own production. The present abundance is based on high prices for oil and raw materials.
Look at the advertising signs of leading brands, are Russian names visible there? Alas, in our stores, domestic goods are also not so much. And to be buyers, we need to be manufacturers. But production is degrading, there are problems with effective employment, which our economy cannot create. What are we doing in Moscow - sitting in offices and sorting out pieces of paper - and this is life and work? And what are people doing in stagnant regions that look almost like after the war? That is why the country is quietly dying, drowning grief in a glass of vodka.
But history cannot be deceived, Russia is challenged, either it will be finally economically enslaved by the West, as it happened in the period before the 1917 revolution, or it will push off from it and will play its game. History repeats itself. Cooperation and enslavement should not be confused - these are different things. But I'm afraid to rise and be reborn, we need to see the whole horror of the abyss into which we can fall. And most likely from the point when the conflict with the West will be transferred from the conditionally hidden to an explicit phase. Let us recall the Mongol enslavement, when we were imposed a tribute and all issues were decided in the Horde; Moscow, given to the Poles in troubled times, then to Napoleon, and then burned down; the ruin of the country and the loss of vast territories after the First World and Civil War; Let us recall the accelerated advance of the fascist army almost to the heart of the country — Moscow, and then an unexpected offensive, and then victory. We retreated, but a turning point came and an understanding came: we still can! But aren't the risks of a radical renewal of elites too great? After all, only this is close to them for understanding.
What is the main reason for the slowdown in the economy? The crisis of the global economy, poor investment climate, low productivity? Russia, as a self-sufficient country, with the right economic policy, foreign markets are not a decree (see China’s experience - it still has 7% growth). For production to work, it must be profitable. But since the beginning of 2000, the ruble has been almost stable, while our domestic prices have risen against the backdrop of a stronger ruble and rising domestic costs from 1999 almost 3,8 times (according to official inflation data). As a result, our production has become uncompetitive. A similar reason for the loss of competitiveness existed on the eve of the pre-crisis 1998, when the economy also lay in ruins. The situation is aggravated even more by the full opening of our markets (recall the tariff policy of Alexander II).
And our dear money? The refinancing rate is 8.25% with an economic growth of no more than 2%. The rate in terms of stagnation should be less than the growth rate. For comparison, the US rate of the Fed is 0.25%, GDP growth is 2.25%; Japan - rate-0.1%, GDP growth - 1.8%; EU - Rate-0.5%, GDP - decline by 0.4%.
Now we will hold another historical parallel. In order to attract foreign investment under Nicholas II, Russia moved to the gold standard, and attracted large loans to purchase gold. This strengthened the position of the ruble, but led, as now, to a monetary deficit within the country. If Peter I pursued an active monetary policy, and Catherine II printed paper rubles in any quantity necessary for the country's economic turnover, then with the introduction of the gold standard (as now with the currency board), despite the growth of the economy and the population, there was no such possibility. Foreigners invested in Russia, and no less actively bought it. Huge payments on foreign loans plundered the country, she had to take out everything that was possible (the famous “undernourished, but we will take out!”). Domestic demand and consumption were insufficient. All this also set the stage for the revolution.
And now we are stepping on the same rake. The growth of the money supply should be roughly the sum of the projected inflation and the projected growth. As of 1.09.2013, the M2 money supply in the Russian Federation has grown by only 5% since the beginning of the year. As of the end of September, inflation was 4.72%. What remains on the growth of the economy - 0.3%? If we want the growth of 5% with inflation of 5%, the growth of М2 should be more than 10%. Even economists at Bank of America and HSBC have already said that our Central Bank behaves like Scrooge McDuck, although the economy is almost in recession. So where are we going - to a guaranteed crisis? Then there will definitely be no inflation. And buying the rest of our economy will be even easier.
But smart people came to 1998, including E.Primakov, who found the classic way out — they devalued five times and began to actively increase their money supply, without which the entire economic growth of 2000's would be simply impossible. Another secret of the “economic miracle”, in addition to the increase in oil prices, is the active growth of the money supply during this period (during 1999-2007) by an average of 40% per year, which resulted in almost a threefold level of monetary security of the economy (monetization level - M2 / GDP ratios - from 15 to 40%) with a threefold drop in inflation from 36 to 12%. Inflation cannot be defeated by money hunger, it is treated only by active economic development. To create growth conditions, it is necessary to raise the level of monetization to the level of developed countries - i.e. to 80-100%, but it practically does not grow in the post-crisis period (on 1.01.2013 - around 44%).
Discussion of the problems of economic policy, as a rule, is deliberately taken to the mainstream, where you will never find the right answer. Because economics is ruled not by science, but by pure politics in such a way that its true goals for us are hidden behind an iron curtain, open only to a few. Reigning leapfrog complicates the correct perception of reality. Virtually no measures in the current structure of the economy without a sharp reduction in costs and limiting the import effect will not give. Suppose a miracle happened, we will re-equip our entire economy, while our labor productivity will hardly be higher than outside; and if we leave the exchange and customs policy at the same level - but who will need these products at our internal costs and overstocked foreign markets?
It is necessary to make internal production competitive, for which it is necessary to reduce all possible costs - monetary, corruption, criminal, to have not expensive tariffs, but cheap ones, to develop infrastructure. And in our country absolutely everything is completely the opposite. The country's economy is like a snake devouring itself by the tail. Everyone wants to grab at least something, but there is no moral-rational center that would take care of the common good. In fact, who is now interested in the progress of Russia? Raw material elites receiving dollars for oil and gas? The US and Europe are thinking what to do with their excess capacity and how to push more into foreign markets? And then ours? China, which, although it maintains normal relations with us, is interested only in our raw materials and territories. Everyone is afraid of the awakening of the “Russian bear”, now shrouded in fetters from all sides. The current economic policy is pushing the country into the abyss.
The views expressed by some “right” analysts that slow growth rates are absolutely normal for us are simply absurd. This means that they are ready to conserve our backwardness, with the gigantic level of underinvestment and underdevelopment that we have, with a still huge population. I can assure you that if Emperor Peter I or Alexander III came now, let's not talk about Stalin, they were able to find a way out of the current situation during 24 hours. The country would have earned, and the economy would have developed no worse than the Chinese in its best times, growing at least 7% per year.
And the most important point about the behavior of elites. Our elites do not want to pay higher taxes (on a progressive scale), as they do in virtually semi-socialist Germany (free and openly cheap higher education, a large unemployment benefit, low-cost housing), as it was before 1917. Thus, they want avoid responsibility for the development of the country. And they cannot spend budget money without embezzlement. In the meantime, the elites of Germany do not shine with luxury, but they shine with achievements in industry (although Germany has its own problems - migration does not want to assimilate the population from the southern undeveloped countries). And what we shine? With the withdrawal of capital and the complete concession of our markets to foreigners who are steadily supported by the high real exchange rate of the ruble? Do embezzlers, racketeers, raiders, corrupt officials, businessmen, who do not pay taxes, understand that they are harmful to society, and, in the end, to themselves? Or do they just maximize their capital? Think again, what's wrong with you? What is the price of success in terms of morality and eternity?
At one time, Ivan Kalita took extremely important steps to defeat the Mongol yoke. He began to build temples, transferring the spiritual center of our civilization to Moscow, was able to start unifying processes, brought order to the state, which stimulated the development of the economy and ensured the influx of the population to his principality. But only his grandson Dmitry Donskoy was able to successfully concentrate the forces of the state and defeat the Mongol hordes on the Kulikovo Field. Yes, we could, although it was not the end of the struggle. Despite the economic deadlock, the Orthodox Church is steadily growing stronger, the number of new and restored churches, churched citizens is growing. As Toynbee believed, civilization is reborn only on a strong spiritual foundation.
Elites must invest and pay taxes, otherwise the state will not stand. And the state, despite the inertia of the officials, should not interfere, and even better - actively help in this. Otherwise, it will end in a crisis or a dictatorship, which will suddenly put everything in its place. And if fate sends us a new ordeal in the form of a new global economic crisis, an international or internal conflict, as has happened more than once? In fact, everything repeats, now we completely lose both in the economic war and in the battle of minds, we lose sovereignty. And now it is also possible, as before, to say: there is nowhere to retreat - behind Moscow. But the present enemy is cunning to the impossibility, and most importantly the front has no boundaries, passing everywhere, including within us, and we, as zombies, continue to babble liberal mantras that deprive us of development.
So why not resort to the tried-and-true means - devaluation? Well, how can you - our "partners" will be very unhappy, because they will not be able to give us their gross product. After all, on G20 heard constant spells against the "currency wars." And how will the population react to the inevitable rise in prices? Buying equipment abroad will be expensive, but what about the loans taken in foreign currency for those firms that have only ruble revenues? With a soft and proper devaluation, everyone will benefit, both raw materials, industrialists, people, and banks. The ruling elite until the next election has time to repeat the success of E. Primakov. Just have to suffer. Without labor, sacrifice and service, there will never be success. Who was dissatisfied with the growth of the economy in the period 1999-2007, although immediately after the depreciation of the ruble, everything looked terrifying?
And if you leave everything as it is, then unemployment will grow, the economy can go into a tailspin, and the results of future elections can be as disastrous that no “miracles” can correct them. As for devaluation, everything depends on the specific situation, but there is a proven experience - L. Erhard, the German economic miracle; F.D. Roosevelt, measures during the Great Depression, present-day China, and finally Russia after 1998, all took advantage of the undervalued rate.
The foundation of the new economy, as under Alexander II, was erected, it’s time to think about your national interests. As our great philosopher I.Ilin wrote: “The Russian state power will either be strong or will not exist at all”. Historically, only such power provided the country with goal-setting, unity, achievements and progress. Toynbee believed that the essence of civilization will certainly remind you of yourself. As Horace wrote, “Drive nature through the door, it will fly through the window.” Only a strong hand can consolidate the state and establish order, putting the country on the path of progress, depriving the most powerful individualists of the ability to create lawlessness in society and harm it, subjecting them to public interests in the name of general harmony. For example, FD Roosevelt did this, introducing higher taxes and strict government regulation of the economy. But the United States has become a world leader. And their current problems are associated primarily with the rejection of his legacy.
At one time, ancient Greece could not overcome disunity, as a result, it was replaced by a stronger Roman civilization. In addition, pagan civilizations did not have the spiritual foundation that could ensure their future. On the contrary, during the time of the Mongolian yoke, Russia consolidated, as a result, it became free and became a global player. Other examples are the unification of the nation by F. D. Roosevelt, a fragmented Germany - Otto von Bismarck. As for Russia, now it is not only multiplying, but also actively splitting it. Society is divided into left and right, communists and liberals, there are national and regional contradictions, income inequality is growing. There are no national goals and objectives in the country, ideology is barren, just as the slogan “Every man for himself, be enriched!” Is barren. But “... any kingdom divided against itself will become empty; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand ”(Matthew, 12,25).
In the country there are cardinal contradictions between the interests of the elites and its national interests. Our industrial lobby due to the policy of "open doors" and "lowering" of the national industry "below the plinth" has practically no internal weight. This is reflected in economic, commercial, industrial, monetary policy, as well as military and educational reforms, all of which lead to a lack of development, insufficient investment in an unsatisfactory investment climate and capital outflow. No need to shrug and give consequences for the cause, you need to look at the root. That is why so much is said and done a little, one promises, another comes out. Like Sisyphus, we are all (as if) overcoming difficulties, but from the point of view of our fundamental economic interests, we are marking time, randomly shy away from all sides. That is why many experts can not understand what is happening in the country.
Now the power of civilization is not only in the army, but in industry and science. For a long time in the world there is a constant struggle for the markets of foreign countries. And as the experience of any wars (real and economic) shows, the one with industry and science is stronger. Let us recall once again the differences in this sphere in Tsarist Russia and the USSR. So what are we doing in this area? In Moscow, it was almost destroyed and replaced by business centers, in the regions there are either collapsed buildings or dilapidated factories that barely make ends meet. In this case, we have annually displayed on 55-65 MHR. dollars, while goods are imported into 342,7 billion dollars. Only production can create national wealth, which is perfectly illustrated in the book by Norwegian economist Eric S. Reinert "How rich countries became rich and why poor countries remain poor."
Until then, while the conflict with the West does not manifest itself explicitly, there will be no national policy, because the vector of elites is too strongly directed outside the country. Now the policy of total concessions prevails, which is carried out in the name of the possibility of integrating our elites into global ones. But this is an illusion - no one will ever let us in there unless we achieve it with our strength. Nobody can agree with the USA, they can only use someone for their own purposes, even when they help someone.
And only the Syrian conflict, like the Rubicon, associated with the battle for the possibility of the transit of Qatari gas to Europe against the Russian gas route, forces Russia to go against the West. And even this conflict, in essence, lies in the same external vector of elites - in the struggle for raw material markets. The US is crowding Russia here too, increasing exports of hydrocarbons. Ahead of the disassembly of the oil deposits of the Arctic. And if the US decides to confiscate our bank holdings in their banks, as was done with Iraq and Libya, and there is information that some US senators are already proposing to impose such sanctions? When the secret becomes clear, then the elites will be asked - who are you, the "servants" of the people? Or as Moses asked, descending from the mountain, found Israel in a terrible fall: “Who is the Lord ...?”.
And finally, a second impetus to the changes “from below” can give massive social discontent. But it is not necessary to indulge yourself with illusions - Russians suffer for a long time, but the boiler can explode at any time. So, need a reason. If not, there is no reform.
The only way in this situation is to start the engine of the economy with weak demand, including the slowdown of the external economy - to carry out a sharp increase in investments in infrastructure projects (roads, bridges, airports, electric power industry and housing) and the development of industry. See the US experience during the Great Depression, and now China, which has already launched two programs to develop the country's infrastructure. By the way, now and the United States have begun to return jobs to their homeland - from electronics to clothing production.
This will create a huge multiplicative demand, change the quality of life, increase investment attractiveness. Dmitry Medvedev is right in speaking of economic freedom and the business climate. But in a crisis time, without a stimulus from the state, the economy will turn into a tailspin — an axiom that has been tested many times over and theoretically substantiated by John.M. Keynes. During the crisis, the main thing for the private sector is liquidity preference; there is no investment.
What is the conclusion? We have a western yoke, and it, like the Mongol, must be dropped. And this is a great chance to create a new, flaw-free model of “social capitalism”. Yes, we can - there is no other way, otherwise the fate of our successor, the Byzantine Empire, may await us. But "Moscow is the third Rome, ... and the fourth will not happen!" And as Alexander II said to disgruntled elites: "It is better to abolish serfdom from above than to wait for the people to abolish it from below." Russia and its leaders, if they value what they have and, it is assumed that being reasonable, should not repeat the mistakes of their predecessors made in Tsarist Russia, should find a way out of the current situation. Otherwise, the river of history will wash away the house of cards that they built, even if it is beautiful with its luxury. The wave of liberalization will absolutely inevitably be replaced by a wave of nationally oriented policies. These are the lessons of history.