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Has Ukraine's economy really undergone reforms? I think, it has. True, these reforms failed to achieve declared targets, the capitalist market economy in the image and likeness of advanced Western economies.
These reforms masked under a code name of SHOCK THERAPY were of revolutionary nature despite being initiated and implemented by the government when the former communist bosses turned upside down the state economic course.
Capitalism could be a new ideological goal of modernizing Ukraine, but no modernization processes took place in Ukraine's society. The bourgeois regime should be relied upon bourgeoisie. However, Ukraine failed to evolve into bourgeois society from both directions, from the top and the bottom of society. Today, after 12 years of persistent capitalization, political figures, as a social elite, are still more influential and important persons than businessmen.
Communist ideas were dumped in the dustbin of history by top officials and major part of population, and we have no new idea to consolidate the nation or, at least, its major part, as in the world leading countries.
It is just this problem that stumps architects and executive managers of transformation of Ukraine's society. Because of a lack of the national idea, a mirror of mass aspirations, it is very difficult to identify the national interests of the state, and, therefore, to set basic benchmarks of domestic and foreign policy, as well as a strategy for their realization.
Usually, politicians lose their presence of mind in crucial situations or go from one extreme to another not only because of being incompetent or
inexperienced in the state management, but because of having no idea of guiding lines of Ukraine's social evolution.
Population faces the same uncertainty. The Soviet people were fully convinced that their goal was the communism, and they strove after it under the leadership of the Communist Party, the intellect, honor and conscience of their epoch. The Communism meant the power of people, common property, planned and stable economy, total employment, queue for free apartments, free education and medical aid, national and social parity, friendship of nations, etc. and finally, full prosperity and freedom of personality.
Today, independent Ukraine has no national idea. This situation is quite discomfort both for the population and authority. The latter feels a gap in formation of the national elite. At the beginning of 1990s it was formed by transforming former communist, soviet and Komsomol bosses into the democratic force; by appointing former party leaders of medium and low echelons, and ousting humanitarian intelligentsia and representatives of higher education establishments by engineers and agriculturists.
At the same time, this process was accompanied with a career breakthrough of administrative and managerial personnel. The main criteria of administrative structure, both regional and central, are an indispensable devotion to higher officials at whatever level and a regional administrative pyramid of local leaders with their squads.
This is the present-day reality of Ukraine.
REFORMS and AUTHORITY
The key factor of efficient state management is concentration of power in hand of a concerted team headed by a leader elected on the basis of law, like Bush and his team in the USA, Schreder & Co - in Germany and Blair & Co - in the Great Britain...
If such a team consists of competent and respectable specialists then we deal with ARISTOCRACY, i. e. engagement of the most worthy and honorable people in government. If the ruling squad is formed of incompetent, greedy and corrupt carpet- baggers then we deal with OCHLOCRACY, the rule of mobsters.
Thus, democracy is associated with some periodical fluctuations in opposite directions, depending on quality of the team, the most dangerous resulting in crises, a quintessence of instability, disorder and chaos.
In Ukraine, destructive trends are reflected in tremendous splash of criminality. As President Kuchma put it in 1994, in Ukraine there exists the fifth power (see: "How to neutralize the fifth power". - "Урядовий кур'єр", August 9, 1994), the power of criminal, overwhelming the legislative, executive and judicial power, as well as the mass media.
A huge scope of Ukraine's hidden economy is a bright evidence of growing criminal business based on the policy and reforms pursued by the anti-popular elite. Moreover, such policy threatens the ideology, moral and ethic principles of the nation. Society has been scattered, traditional social relations have been broken, bright pictures of the capitalistic future have turned into vulgar and cynical caricatures.
Disappointment of Ukraine's population, especially of aged people, is caused by their disillusionment in reforms rather than by nostalgia for commy ideas, as the left opposition believes. Reformers lost people's confidence.
No wonder, numerous ministers and other top officials passed through White House on Bankova St., Grey House on Hrushevsky St., Verkhovna Rada, its committee and commissions... Today, some of them are at the head of large banks, companies, funds, others left Ukraine having grabbed funds from the state treasury. Some of them are imprisoned... True, a few officials fairly and honestly perform their functions, but its a drop in the bucket.
After defaulting reforms we have an alternative: restoration of totalitarian society
(right turn) or strengthening of criminal capitalism of the Latin American pattern, or their symbiosis. The first way is associated with coming back of communists and their allies, the second one - with evolution of ruling mutant liberals. Both ways will provoke glaring social conflicts and hamper the economic growth, with Ukraine being at the tail-end of the world development.
Wasted chance of establishing real democracy and market economy in Ukraine is a noticeable event. Undoubtedly, Ukraine needs both the market economy with privatization and democratic regime with a parliamentary system. The government should explain the people that our country has no alternative for achieving the top of progress at this stage of historical development and should gradually advance towards it, like other post-socialist countries do.
First-wave reformers (early 1990s) declared their goal as struggle against nomenclature dominance, but produced a new bureaucracy and army of corrupt turncoats who had a good fishing in troubled waters. They had us believe that they fought against nomenclature privileges, but, in actual fact, only exaggerated bureaucratic benefits. They promised to ensure blooming physical health of the nation, but boosted alcoholism, demographic catastrophe, and drug addiction. They involved in this fight the most respectable and honorable people. In fact, the policy became not only a means of moneymaking, but a very profitable sphere of capital investments not only for businessmen, but also for mobsters. As a result, unknown figures from nowhere won elections overcoming experienced politicians. It is yet early to tell about full merging of policy, business and criminal, but they show a stable tendency towards it.
CONSERVATISM AS A MEANS OF SOCIAL SECURITY
Only a few wise and well-informed people have changed their mode of life and stand aloof swift dynamics of developments in Ukraine. Conservatism has come into fashion. The matter-of-cause question is whether the Ukrainian humanitarian science can develop a social and economic concept of conservatism to counteract upcoming threats.
The Ukrainian humanitarian science transformed the economic theory into a thing in itself concentrated in hand of small group of economists. For a long while, economy was artificially separated from philosophy and tuned up production. Being sated with numerous technologies it was doomed to failure. While reading Ukrainian manuals of economy we can see that Ukraine's economic conception is cast in western moulds. Our young specialists obtain knowledge which cannot be applied to the present-day economic situation in Ukraine. Thus, from the strategic point of view, we train specialists for western countries at the expense of our budget funds.
Our economic theory permanently protests against conservatism based on the gradual evolution of the economy. This theory reflects the world revolution mania and striving for drastic changes. At the same time, a life cycle of all regenerative elements in advanced countries shows a reductive trend. Many unique goods become out of date right away after being finished, new infrastructures accumulate on the old ones and squeeze them out.
Having realized that it cannot stand such an extreme loading the world community is seeking for a new model of world reconstruction, in accordance with the post- industrialism theory. This model is a social and economic conception of conservatism. The world community prootes conservative ideology by holding round-tables and conferences, as well as by publishing scientific works analyzing conservative gradual evolution and a negative effect of revolutionary transformations. Today, propagation of conservatism is one of the main tasks of the social science.
Ukrainian publications, despite some very optimistic appreciation of the twelve-year reforms and transformations of the national
economy, caution against further remaking of society. Such authors interpret an anthropologic conservatism as an eternal humanistic ideology, including traditions (inheritance and legacy), stability, proper order, authority, freedom and responsibility, natural (not forced) imparity of people, skepticism, etc.
As S. Huntington put it, conservatism is a positional ideology that emerges to counteract a specific historical crisis. It falls back into shadow as crises suppressed. In every individual case conservatism is a reaction to a specific social situation rather than reflection of certain group interests. I agree with his opinion without any reserve.
We live in the epoch of sudden changes in the social and cultural sphere. Today, people are more than sucked in the vortex of accelerating developments, they are catapulting into other worlds. The present-day civilization permanently intensifies transformations of environment, society, mode of life and culture.
Analyzing evolution of concepts and approaches in the sphere of social science an American philosopher and publicist Alvin Toffler predicted that at the beginning of 21st century many ordinary physically and mentally healthy people will suddenly face the future tete-а-tete. Can they adapt to such an increasing pressure of developments, knowledge, scientific technologies and diversity of information? Will it result in serious social and mental consequences? The world community has not listened to his caution.
At the beginning of new century, the dynamics of USA's and, therefore, the world economy is transforming from linear to bifurcation mode becoming more and more unpredictable. Any crisis in the American economy will inevitably spread over the world, especially over the South-Eastern Asia, Latin America, Canada, Russian Federation and Ukraine, resulting in the world economic collapse. Only China has a chance of withstanding due to its huge resources and cast-iron discipline.
Managers of transnational capital flows who dictate international economic and political relations gain their profit from drug and armament traffic, prostitution and gambling rather than from manufacturing goods or rendering services. Their main source of income is stock-jobbing that shakes countries and continents being aimed at fleecing weak countries, like Ukraine.
FOR COUNTERACTING FUTURE THREATS ...
Our generation is likely to be the first ever existing one to feel no ground under its feet. Whatever alternative is unacceptable. We tried to hide from the present-day reality diving in the glorious past or hoping for the better future.
What are the signs of modern Apocalypse?
Firstly, it is destruction of classic rationalist traditions. Outstanding philosophers of the past accepted reason and advisability as the supreme authority in matters of conduct and development of human society. However, today, the rationalism is nearly defeated. People rely not upon the common sense, but upon myths and hallucinations, the Ukrainian reforms being a graphic evidence.
A clear dividing line runs through the globe, 700 million overeating aggressive population with domestic consumer market and annual income of more than USD 25 billion being on the one pole and 5.5 billion hungry barbarians, (including the Ukrainians) having nothing else but their natural thirst for life and numerous offences - on the opposite one.
The formers will never share "golden million" on their free will, whereas whatever effort of the latter to achieve their living standards will result in the environmental and energy catastrophe.
Adherents of globalization consider only one fifth people to be useful and full members of the human society, the rest being dregs of civilization. Implementation of this policy leaves about 5.5 billion population out of the
civilization turnover thereby provoking unemployment, frustration, uncontrolled capital flows, etc.
As the American scientist John Fletcher put it, in a few decades the humanity will control the process of human reproduction. It means, the biologists will create new people in laboratories, by cloning. Recently, they have found a gene of death. It remains only to annihilate this gene by a laser and we will become undying... How many people then will fit into the globe? The mankind will turn into a victim of its own experiments. Illusive predominance over the nature is nothing else but the self- annihilation.
A level of political development of the present-day mankind is compared with a technology of smooth-bore gun production. The world community is characterized with a discordance and rivalry of nations. However, to neutralize a global threat of international terrorism it is necessary to create a consolidated community for coordinating efforts of states, international institutions and developing a new ideology of human evolution.
Let us revert to Ukraine. In the recent years we can often hear people claiming a new ideology. The matter concerns the new official ideology to consolidate the scattered nation which the statesmen will impose their will on. However, the ideology cannot appear by a wave of the wand.
AT THE CROSSROADS: ASYMMETRIC ALTERNATIVE
Foreign patterns are quite attractive and visual, but they do not always apply to our social reality.
The alternative is the mixed economy comprising elements of democratic capitalism, state regulation and democratic socialism (naturally with a human face). However, development and implementation of this optimal model is accompanied with political and social shock, radical transformations of administrative structure and social ideology. I mean not refusal of market mechanisms as a whole, but a turndown of market concept of the economy, as well as revision of values and formation of new elite.
Ukraine needs a strong power. However, masses and upper strata give different interpretations of this strong will. Combination of repression and social demagogy can be used as a means of palliation, but not as a panacea. Absence of democracy does not mean a success of dictatorship. Thus, our main task is seeking for new forms of the social evolution.
SEEKING FOR IDENTITY
Life without idea becomes senseless and chaotic inevitably resulting in social collapse. Ideological and spiritual distress dragging out in Ukraine makes the government to choose the pro-West orientation. It means they should dress Ukraine in economic, political, social and cultural pattern developed, approved and tested by the United States, Great Britain, France, Sweden and other civilized countries. The high living standard is the key factor of making choice in favor of the West.
However, at least, two important factors very complicate implementation of the western model.
Firstly, to cultivate foreign experience in its system integrity it is necessary to create an adequate civilization context, i. e. to create in Ukraine such conditions as in the USA, Switzerland or the Great Britain.
Secondly, to imitate a foreign social system it is necessary to have an adequate state of mind, i. e. the Ukrainians should live and act like Germans or whatever western nation, i. e. strictly meet all established laws and regulations, etc.
The national ideology should be developed by the whole nation and implemented through efficient targeted activities of the government. As the world experience shows, strong, stable and reasonable national ideals are built concurrently from both directions from the top and the bottom.
That is why, one of the main tasks of the national intellectual elite is to encourage the most active population, especially the youth, to think independently about our national identity, spiritual values and other benchmarks of social development of Ukraine. Naturally, the elite itself should be involved in the formation of the national ideal. The only trouble is that the ideals developed by our elite often turn out impracticable schemes which it tries to realize by revolutionary changes.
It is no secret that reforms, democracy and authority put up with political default. People's apathy is not surprising. It is not an ordinary weariness from shock therapy, but a tragic end of society's aspirations for self-government and free business making. As a result, we have a disoriented and paralyzed society governed by a tumbledown authority.
Robbing of a major part of the nation by a ruling clique, civil opposition and internal hostilities hold us away from democracy. They sow a social discord and lead to dictatorship as the only regime to make malcontents implicitly obey the power.
True, it should be noted that for a while now, the government has taken some steps in strategic direction, such as elaboration of medium-term reform program, negotiations on joining the WTO, measures for protecting the leading economic branches, attempts to implement a medium-term forecast, adoption of European choice. Conceptual benchmarks program, elaboration of Conception for scientific and technical development, etc.
However, they have not resulted in the formation of a concrete program for modernization of Ukraine and are inadequate to financial status of the country.
Today, everybody realizes that economic growth in Ukraine should accelerate by 5-6 per cent annually to enhance resources for modernizing economy and social sphere and for rising living standards of population and keeping abreast of other developing countries.
The most difficult task is to come up with swiftly developing Baltic States, the Vysehrad group members and CIS countries insofar as falling behind them Ukraine can loose its influence not only in the Eastern Europe, but among former Soviet Republics.
TO MAKE THE EUROPEAN CHOICE...
Reforms should establish minimum social indices. Human potential should be reliably protected and used for the sake of social progress. However, it is possible if the people are fully convinced of the state's best endeavors to make their life better.
Ukraine still has a chance of getting back on the right track of the national development like European countries, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea have done. We have no alternative since a lost possibility to follow China's path. If we do not want to turn into a backward poor nation who exchanges gold bullion for glass beads we should rationally adopt experience of countries where the common sense prevails over chaos and disorder. First of all, I mean an efficient use of state regulation mechanism.
It should be noted that always and everywhere big capitalists oppose state regulation. However, at least, last 50 years, their protests have been vain. Moreover, as mentioned above, many countries have used the state regulation as an efficient treatment of economic diseases.
State regulation is an efficient instrument for successful development of the economy, especially in transition. If Ukraine uses it then it can rise from the ashes, if neglects we completely ruin production, discourage people from labor and stimulate criminalization of the economy.
Experience of "economic wonder" countries shows that this incredible economic growth was achieved due to the state regulation. It was just the state that adopted and implemented a legislative basis for promoting economic progress being guided not by its own wishes, but by reasonable scientific recommendations. This mission is very
difficult and important, any self-government being out of the question.
We try to enter the market with impoverished people and chaotic productive forces, but forget that the market economy is associated not with poverty and permanent self- sacrifice, but with up-to-date technologies and high labor efficiency. Enhancing of labor productivity should be the basic benchmark of program for the national development of Ukraine. Fortunately, more and more people in Ukraine begin to realize that our current path leads us into a dead end.
Last year, President Kuchma, in his traditional appeal to the Parliament, emphasized the basic directions of Ukraine's economic and social policy in line with which the Verkhovna Rada, Cabinet of Ministers and other state bodies should work. President's statement contains many important theses, the main being our European choice and striving for integration into the European Union. This is truly the right way. However, as the author put it, this choice is a political vector rather than an economic one.
The President's statement is not a diplomatic note. It concerns a large audience, the whole nation, and should give it a concrete picture of government's view of the current situation and ways out.
The President's statement to the Parliament combines many components of social and state life, including policy, ideology, military strategy, culture, science, art and, finally, interests of population, all of them being based on historical traditions of our nation - antipode of liberalism, individualism, slavery and aggression. We are adherents of collectivism, mutual confidence, friendship and fraternity proclaimed by the Orthodox faith.
What must we do according to the President's Conception? We must withstand, survive, preserve and enhance our potential. We should pass a long path for a few decades, while the advanced countries needed some centuries to traverse. We should pass it by own strength, at the expense of own reserves.
We ourselves should form and realize our own national idea. We should restore economic indices of 1988 - GDP of USD 300 billion, salary of USD 300, an 85 per cent share of home-made products on the domestic consumer market. We should keep the path to the European community preserving our spiritual world.
However, this bright future may not come. It may be an absolutely opposite picture - a chaos, dictatorship, wasted natural and production resources, degradation and a long agony.
Thus, we have an ASYMMETRIC ALTERNATIVE. To move upward the top is incomparably harder than falling down. We have to choose.
Translated by Olha Zahorodnia
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