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Russia's Lagging Behind Western Countries as a Result of the Gap between Age-Old Aspirations of the People and Prose of Life

Vladimir V. Kossov ()

Economics of Contemporary Russia, 2020

Abstract: For centuries, Russia is lagging behind the countries called “the West†. The choice of Switzerland as a benchmark for comparison is justified. In 2016 GDP per capita in the new nations within the borders of the former USSR was 10 points less than in 1886. The Soviet era gains in bringing living standards closer to the West were lost. The close relationship with seven ratings of countries describing different aspects of the standard of living is shown. The main question that the author seeks to answer: “Why has Switzerland, which is poor in natural resources, been significantly ahead of Russia, which is rich in them, in terms of living standards for centuries?†The fundamental difference in the relationship of the government to citizens is the answer to this question. In Russia, for centuries, the system “Ruler – loyal subjects†, and in Switzerland – “citizen – civil servants†. In Russia, the ruler determines what to do, and the loyal subjects follow his instructions. In Switzerland, in a referendum the citizens determine what to do and they do it under the rules written by the civil servants. Higher motivation of people in the free enterprise system determines their higher productivity, and through it, a higher standard of living. In Russia, power is formed by a representative democracy and in Switzerland by a direct one, which is much closer to the age-old aspirations of the people for the will.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.33293/1609-1442-2020-2(89)-132-147

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