History as a factor in economic development

The importance of history as an academic discipline in modern political and economic activity was discussed by experts at the 11th Gaidar Forum at RANEPA. An expert discussion entitled Applied History: Divergence Lessons, brought together Charles Calomiris, Professor at Columbia Business School; Andrei Belykh, head of RANEPA History Research Laboratory; and Roman Konchakov, Head of the Economic History Department at RANEPA.

The discussion was started by its moderator, professor at New York University in Abu Dhabi Georgi Derluguian: “For better understanding of the subject, I would like to indicate that by divergence we mean a split that occurred in the world over the past 200 years – into the West and the East, or into two opposing parties: the rich and the poor.” The topic is very relevant at present and definitely has applied value, Georgi Derluguian noted.

Charles Calomiris, Professor at Columbia Business School, who spoke immediately after Derluguian, touched upon the theory of banking services. He also cited statistics indicating that, from 1830 until the end of the 19th century, only 10 global crises were recorded, while over the past 40 years, their number has increased 10 times.

Andrei Belykh from RANEPA, spoke about digitalization in the Soviet Union. The expert’s report included three parts: the history of digitalization in the Soviet Union from 1925 to 1985; the difficulties faced; and the experience that can be used at present. “The turning point was 1969, when the decision was made to develop the Soviet computer industry along the Western path,” Andrei Belykh said. The main difficulties faced were development of a technological base, a system of relations and a different thinking.

The discussion was continued by RANEPA historian Roman Konchakov who said it is very important to understand the history of the regions in order to evaluate Russia’s role in the global divergence. “Divergence is a macroeconomic event, of course, which determined the state of the world. But it also includes smaller processes, such as the smaller European divergence, regional divergence,” the expert noted. He spoke about a project to study economic dynamics in the Russian regions based on reports from regional governors since 1804. He said economic errors are important factors in the process of the country’s development. “But building an effective policy is impossible without taking into account the regions,” the expert said.

Andrei Belykh summed up the discussion: “Let's hope that leaders who want to take good advice will hire good historians.”

Antonina Malakhova

The 11th Gaidar Forum, Russia and the World: Challenges of the New Decade, held at the Presidential Academy on January 15 and 16, 2020, focuses on discussing national and global development goals and finding practical answers to the most pressing challenges of our time. The forum is attended by Cabinet ministers of the Russian Federation, members of the Federal Assembly, governors of Russian regions, major international experts, and representatives of foreign states.

11th Gaidar Forum Organizers:

The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA);
The Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute);
The Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

Forum partners:

General partners: Gazprom, Gazprombank. Strategic partners: Coca-Cola, Mastercard, Russian Railways, Pharmstandard group, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Novartis Group, MSD, ACIG Group, EF Education First. Partners: Prosveshcheniye Group, EY, Huawei, RVC, Russian Agricultural Bank.

General information partners: Rossiya 24 TV Chanel, TASS, RBC, Business FM; strategic information partners: Kommersant Publishing House, Interfax, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Invest Foresight online business magazine, RIA FederalPress; main information partners: Anews.com, Gazeta.ru, Lenta.ru, News.ru, Profile; international partners: RT, Thomson Reuters, Sputnik, EFE, Cision, Pan Pacific Agency; information partners: Snob media project, PRIME economic news agency, RNS, Expert magazine, Parlamentskaya Gazeta, Polit.ru, Radio Ekho Moskvy, PRO Business TV channel, FINAM.RU agency, Davydov.Index, Strategia magazine, Ekonomika i Zhizn newspaper, ECONS.ONLINE website, Gosudarstvennaya Sluzhba magazine, TV BRICS.