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Low Productivity: We Are Not So Bad

Low Productivity: We Are Not So Bad

Thesis about noncompetitiveness of modern Russian economy and low labour productivity in our country is for already many years axiomatic truth which doesn't require comments. However, the scale of our backlog from the developed countries and its major factors as it is seen, till now are being considered incomplete and one-sided.

Shadow Economy - Is Also Economy

First of all, the majority of researchers repeat "mistake" of McKinzy"" which experts right after default presented results of the detailed branch research describing enormous backlog of the Russian labour productivity from the Western. On one of the discussions the quietest Peter Karpov asked the only question which buried the research: whether the real or only official volume of an output is being considered while calculating competitveness?


The matter is that official statistics, as a rule, considers real number occupied on the enterprise and legal volume of products made by them, for some clear reasons "not noticing" products produced by the ones working informally. It is clear, that ignoring of the "left" products reaching in some branches (for example, alcoholic) significant share of manufacture, brings to proportional and unreasonable understating labour productivity.


In general our backlog from the developed countries and especially from new "workshop of the world" - China - certainly, is enormous, but nevertheless is not like it is seen at not absolutely correct comparisons on a microeconomic level.


Islamic Terrorism - Is Not the Factor of Labour Productivity in Russia


At macroeconomic estimations and comparisons economists, as a rule, get into other statistical trap, calculating labour productivity by simple division of made gross national product into quantity occupied in economy (or of volume of industrial production on number occupied in it).


It is natural for any expert who has mastered four arithmetic operations, - however, it does not consider the fact that cost expression and gross national product and volume of industrial production of Russia depend to a very big degree on world prices for raw materials exported by our country and first of all for hydrocarbons.


The world price of oil is defined by huge quantity of factors - from climatic changes to acts of international and regional terrorists - who are united only by one: any of them has no relation to labour productivity in Russia. However, on its size calculated by the traditional ways they influence perhaps more strongly, than quality of work of the Russian workers.


Therefore we should not be pleased either with the increase in labour productivity conterminous with price increase for oil, nor with its decrease coinciding with cheapening of "the blood of the Russian economy": neither the first, nor the second thing has relation to real productivity.


Not Advance Salary Growth but Return to Rationality


In the sphere of macroeconomists is accepted to mourn in occasion of the fact that salary growth advances labour productivity growth and to count the moment when these "scissors" will start to cut positive tendencies in the Russian economy reducing financial business opportunities.


Thus it is, as a rule, totally ignored that salary growth is considerably smaller on volume and less undermining business on dynamics, than the growth of bribes and requisitions more and more actively extorted from business by representatives of the state. It won't be exaggeration to say that corruption became an original basis of modern Russian statehood, the base of the mode created during last seven years and passed in to a stage of avalanchely accruing power racket, at which money are being extorted not for this or that help but just for the fact of their existence.


All-out corruption which has considerably exceeded even revelry of the 90th years constrains development of the Russian business (and gives enormous preferences to foreign capitals which pay less as they are under protection, not under impact of their states) and does not allow it to expand manufacture to the extend it could and would like, having modern volumes of petrodollars.


It's really corruption that restraint the development of economy retarding and undermining it, making salary growth rather high and frightening. It is necessary to consider that in conditions of the most severe shortage of in the slightest degree qualified representatives of practically all not only engineering, but also working trades, caused by practical destruction of the Russian education system by reforms (higher and, especially, professional and post-secondary), present salary growth is quite small evoked first of all by the corruption and vanity of the official trade-unions.


It is necessary not to forget also that real incomes grow much more slowly than formal salary growth as the last in many respects simply mask legalization of incomes of workers, their proceeding in process of development and legalization of manufacture, feedout from "shadow sector".


On the other hand, rather high rates of salary growth should not cover their insignificant level. According to the Levada-Center, corresponding well with official statistics (in that part in which it is carried out) that is a rarity for sociological interrogations, 12% of population of our country suffer shortage of money for purchase of meal, 31% - for purchase of clothes, 41% - on purchase of durable goods. Thus, the level of misery in Russia makes 12%, a level of poverty - 85% (including beggars), while the share of "middle class" even having grown during the last five years, makes only 15%.


Consequences of social disaster magnificently called "reforms" are better seen to doctors-pediatricians. The main specialist-expert pediatrician of the Ministry of Social Development and Public Health Services Alexander Baranov announced at meeting of heads of maternity and child welfare services and services of social safety of population of subjects of the Russian Federation that during the years of reforms average growth of the Russians has shortened to 1,5 centimeters. Besides 80% of the Russian children have deficiency of weight and each fifth child has low weight. Power opportunities of children decreased on 21% among girls and 18% among boys.


Demographic crisis is caused also by social reasons: because of them the average Russian family wishing to have 2,5 children in practice has only 1,5 children.


Thus in Russia not illiterate jobless people are poor, as all over the world, but working educated people. It is lasting catastrophe rather reminding a man-made genocide and its termination demands essential increase in a level of incomes of the Russians. It is impossible to restore practically destroyed by reforms labour motivation staying lower than even in stagnation times without the raise of incomes.


Competitiveness Is Not Harmless


However "to raise a level of incomes" - does not mean to distribute the saved up money: it won't be enough to live for a long time and to satisfy everybody and distribution of money over level which is made up by three real (and not official) living minimum brings up dependence and destroys labour motivation better than gloomy poverty and subsistence farming which feeds millions Russians.


To raise a level of incomes is necessary to create new workplaces and, accordingly, to start to produce new goods. And it means qualitative change of position of Russia in a global competition: to produce the goods which are sold now in our country by foreign manufacturers or to think up and start to produce qualitatively new goods which are not being produced by anybody else.


In any case to provide steady growth of incomes and well-beings (outside the borders of poverty - are enough to spend the money saved up by the state) is necessary dramatically change global financial flows to the benefit of Russia.

It is clear, that it is exclusively difficult from the technological point of view and demands settlement of huge quantity of special economic problems - restoration of the property right, bridling of arbitrariness of monopolies, modernization of infrastructure, reasonable protectionism, revival of technological progress (stopped in our country in 1989), restoration of educational system, etc


However, besides everything mentioned, there is also basic complexity: restoration of competitiveness of the Russian economy means, aside from not too essential exceptions, reorientation of global financial flows in favour of our country. It is clear that it will cause the most alive and sincere protest from those who as a result of it will lose incomes - first of all from global corporations and the developed countries of the West.


Their natural discontent can even have more destructive character, than their politics in relation to our country in the end of 80th - the middle of 90th years and to become independent, besides own defects of the Russian bureaucracy, factor of system deterioration of relations of Russia with the West.


It does not mean, certainly, that we or international public should remove from the agenda the requirement of diversification, modernizations and increases of competitiveness of the Russian economy; it means only that making these demands we should understand their meaning and consequences.

Only in this case we can pass forthcoming time of objective worsening of relations together - and with minimal outgoings.

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