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Books by Grigory Yavlinsky
Economics and Politics in Russia
The Center for Economic and Political Research (EPIcenter)
Nizhni Novgorod-Moscow, 1992

1.2. Principles.

An Answer to a Possible Objection

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One can certainly put forward an argument that passions, not the mind, rule real life. When some nations in Russia (through their leaders) are saying, "We want to become independent, because we want to have our flag at the UN. Why should we be second to the African countries?" or "Any government of our own is better than even a good central government" - all this means passions. (Passions are not reasonable, but this does not mean that we should disregard them, or that they cannot motivate people).

However, this is not always the case, and if so, then the universal character of the above statement will be undermined; in any case, it requires the inclusion of additional conditions. (By way of example, there is the case of the introduction of a single currency in the European Community, or the free-trade pact between Mexico and the US. The given proposals were screened through serious research, and only after that were decisions taken).

But apart from being argued empirically, the given statement requires clarification. In what sense do "passions" or "interests" rule social life? And is it only they that rule it? If yes, than life is not a cosmos, but a chaos, and is not subject to cognition and regulation. If "interests" are -driven by laws and rules, than not only cognition and prediction are possible, but also (if some additional conditions are provided) influence on life. Because when Tatarstan, Chechnya or Tuva wish to separate from Russia, when Yakutia or Bashkorstan demand additional economic rights, when the Nizhni Novgorod Oblast asks the government to broaden its rights in privatization of cargo transport and petrol stations, they do not claim that they want this, all their interests lie there, and all other talk is out of place here. Usually they instead provide various concepts and arguments to prove their thesis. The Centre is accused of taking too much from them, and if these resources remained in the regions, people would live better, or privatization of the indicated entities is an inevitable result of successfully developing privatization of trade. It is not a matter of whether the arguments are proving (or will prove) to be right (though the facts show that they are not completely right), the matter is that no arguments are provided at all.

A characteristic feature of the present epoch is that one is required to provide reasonable grounds and, moreover, to act in accordance with them. If the Ukrainian coupon is depreciating faster than the rouble, than it does not matter

for how long we insist that the Ukrainian "interest" lies in the circulation of its own currency and that its economic policy be absolutely independent - instead, we will have to admit the real state of affairs, and pursue the way of integration and coordination of economic policy.

Now we can specify the above statement. Reasonableness exists as a norm, but it is often (but not always) missing as a positive fact. Certainly, "reasonableness" exists only as a possibility. It is highly probable that it is missing at present.

"Reasonableness" does not exist when:

- the scientific awareness of society is incapable of providing answers to the questions, and the respective social forces are incapable of coordinating their actions with scientific discoveries;

- for various reasons, certain social forces refuse to follow common sense (today this happens in our country even due to mere ignorance).

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