Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

“Human capital” as a source for development in Russian economic thought of 2nd part of XVIII-th c.

Chaplygina Irina, State University of Moscow

As it’s well known the Peter’s reform has initiated the comprehensive modernization of Russian society. One of its effects was the revitalization of scientific and investigation activities. As I.Tretiakov noted in his public speech in Moscow University, the sciences came to Russia not earlier than Peter’s epoch. This revival was provoked by direct request of authority for information about existing economic resources as well as by more general demand for rationalization of all spheres of life and for conscious behavior as an important mean that can really stimulate the development of country. During 18 century we can see many projects on information gathering and sharing, initiated by Y.Brus, V.Tatischev, M.Lomonosov, I.Kirilov, P.Richkov, which had different forms (questionnaires, expeditions, publishing projects etc.). In addition, the idea about education and science as an important source for development has widely spread in public literature. Economy itself was mentioned as a rational attitude to the all spheres of social life. So increase of rationalism through the public education was considered as a powerful mean of strengthening economy (N.Popovsky, Tretyakov). And not only through economic education, because economy as a discipline (not yet sufficiently designed) included a wide range of useful knowledge from different disciplines. All these facts can serve as a historical illustration of idea of Max Weber about the role of rationalization in the genesis of industrial capitalism, as well as it correlates to the cameralism idea about improvement of people skills as main source for prosperity of nation. The wide range of disciplines that has been touched upon by this revitalization process is in line with Foucault's idea that the object for regulation of that epoch had no limits.


Keywords: Russia, Human capital, 18th century