Markets, Productivity, and Happiness in a Historical Perspective

The Specifics of Research Methodology on Productivity in Kyiv School of Political Economy

Lopukh Kseniia, Kyiv National Economic University named after Vadym Hetman

The interpretation of the essence of productivity by scientists of the Kyiv School of Political Economy (Mykola Bunge, Dmytro Pikhno, Afinogen Antonovych) is based on an interdisciplinary approach. It allowed to analyze productivity from the individual perspective and from the perspective of society. Productivity is one of the elements of the system of political economy. Economists from Kyiv School considered productivity in close connection with needs, ways to fulfil these needs and productive forces. The main attention is drawn to the study of productive and unproductive activities. Bunge disagreed with A. Smith’s interpretation of productive labor. The latter believed that productive labor, which is embodied in the material product, could last a long time. But, this it does not work as tool of meeting needs. Bunge agreed with J.-B.Say who gave a broader interpretation of production, including services into productive labour. Bunge disagreed with Say on the identification of individual and wealth. He explained that the costs incurred for the education and training of individual are not capital. Therefore, Bunge adheres to the position of F.List and distinguishes between material values and the creation of productive forces. These forces are a) personal forces (including mental, moral, spiritual and physical development of individual; the ability to manage own activity and ensure the use of labor results; respect for work; and b) state and people’s forces (success of science and arts, laws and social organizations, development of industrial sectors and might of a state). Any activity aimed developing these forces is productive. Pikhno considered as productive physical and intellectual work aimed at achieving any useful goal. At the same time, he considered unproductive work, if the goal was not achieved, or an excess of useful work was just wasted. He explained that each economic activity is maintained by some technology and economic conditions because there are certain standards of labor required. All technical and economic improvements are aimed at lowering these standards, i. e. making work more productive. In addition, productivity and quality of work are influenced by the “art of work” (a combination of physical strength, skills and knowledge), labor intensity and ancestral characteristics of work (education, talent and abilities). Antonovych emphasized that knowledge, freedom and property are one of the most important ethical conditions of labor productivity. They are in an organic relationship. Freedom is inconceivable without property, and knowledge without freedom and property cannot have normal practical application. The more obstacles a person overcomes on the way to meeting needs, the more freedom is needed for work. The productivity and the increase of ways fulfilling needs depend on individual freedom.


Keywords: Kyiv School of Political Economy, productive forces, productive labour, Bunge, Antonovych, Pikhno, Ukrainian economic thought

Please Login in order to download this file