Edited by Ingo Barens, Volker Caspari and Bertram Schefold
Chapter 15: Patristic Legacies in Russian Economic Thought and their Significance for the Transformation of Russia's Economy and Society
15. Patristic legacies in Russian economic thought and their signiﬁcance for the transformation of Russia’s economy and society Joachim Zweynert THE DISCUSSION ABOUT A ‘RUSSIAN ECONOMIC IDEA’ In the early 1990s an attempt was undertaken to transform Russia quickly into a Western-style society. After it became obvious that this attempt had failed, there has been a movement among Russian elites since approximately the mid-nineties to reconsider their own cultural heritage. Former President Boris Yel’tsin’s demand to develop a ‘national idea’ has recently sparked the noticeably increasing interest of Russian economists in the history of Russian economic thought. However, this interest is not entirely of an academic nature. The authors now doing research in this area hope from the history of Russian economic thought to derive the basis for a strategy of reform which is more strongly related to the country’s cultural heritage. L. Goricheva appears to speak for the majority of them when she puts forth the following maxim: ‘To comprehend the deep roots of the national economy in its entirety (tsel’nost’), to formulate a national economic idea and then realise it – how simple and yet how incredibly diﬃcult this task seems to be!’ (Goricheva, 1996, p. 157). This chapter takes into consideration that the search for a national ‘economic idea’ is to a remarkable extent politically motivated. After a short methodological introduction I shall look at the traditions of Russian economic thought. After that I shall examine the relations between these traditions and the diﬃculties...
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