Money, Banks and Finance in Economic Thought

Universality in economics. The comparative analysis of Russian and European economic thought of the XVIII and early XIX centuries/

Chaplygina Irina, Lomonosov Moscow State University

The comparison of Russian economic thought of XVIII and early XIX centuries with the European economic theories of the same period allows to reveal one important difference. This is the lack of the idea of the natural laws and more generally the conception of universalities in Russian intellectual tradition. The weak influence of ancient philosophy and Roman low can be seen as a cause of this feature. We assume that this is an important point, allowing not only to explain some of the specific features of Russian economic thought, but also to demonstrate the relativity of rhetoric of European economists. Universal rights vs rights as a personal gift; universal truths or objective laws vs interests and practical tasks, pure science vs political science, rational method vs descriptive one – there are a part of controversies emerged from this difference. The widespread of mercantilism rhetoric, superficial borrowing of classical ideas, the strong influence of historical school, that couldn’t be explained only by political preferences, demonstrate that the idea of objective universal low was hardly assimilated in Russian tradition. Classical economic systems, of Smith or of Marx, have been reinterpreted for particular political purposes, sometimes controversial. That demonstrates that this theories didn’t perceived as a logical continuity. As a result the particular mode of thinking was emerged. Not about the truth and logical contradictions, but about the expediency and a conflict of interests. Therefore, it is so difficult to rid discourse from the influence of economic policy issues and the corresponding presentation style. And a comparison of even mercantiliste texts, RUssian and European, illustrates these differences.


Keywords: methodology, universality, mercantilism, Russian economic thought, XVIII century, pure science