Неэргодическая экономика

Авторский аналитический Интернет-журнал

Изучение широкого спектра проблем экономики

The Idea of Time in the Science of Economics

The focus of this article is the methodological understanding of time in the science of economics. According to the author, this concept has undergone great changes, and the construction of an adequate economic theory is impossible without the correct understanding of the time factor. However, the difficulty lies in the fact that time has a huge number of diverse hypostases.

The science of economics has a very solid history. We are talking about not only the duration of this field of knowledge but also the wealth of its scientific ideas, as well as the rises and falls of economic thought. However, if we try to study all this wealth in retrospect, we will most probably get caught up in it before we understand the inherent logic of science itself and the line of its development. The majority of works on the history of economic thought are constructed in such a way that they allow the reader to touch on some of the insights into humanity, but the insights themselves, no matter how significant they are, have no “methodological core” to coil around. As a result, economics often looks like a mass of diamonds, and we fail to find the thread linking them and, thus, to understand the general line of the development of economic thought.

Meanwhile, the notorious “core” is peeping out now clearer than before. And this core is time.

Strangely enough, the phenomenon of time itself has never meant much to economics and, even more so, has never been an Ariadne’s thread to help us understand better what humanity has already done. Everyone is still interested in specific economic ideas but not in their background, which is, in particular, time. This is, at the very least, strange.

Let us attempt a short historical digression into economic theory through the prism of the time factor. By no means are we pretending to reach either an in-depth completeness or detailed chronology. Our objective is to show the main landmarks in the science of economics’ understanding of the role of that “temporal ether” in which we all swim from the moment of birth until our dying day.

 

The main line of economic analysis: from statics to dynamics

 

Before considering in general the tremendous panorama of the evolution of economists’ concepts of the phenomenon of time, we stress that one should not look for smooth and consistent patterns here. On the contrary, this evolution was rather intricate and stratified, simultaneously moving in many directions; and scientific thought would constantly run a few steps forward and, then, fall back. Therefore, let us focus on conceptual milestones and not on dates.

If we look at economic theory in retrospect, we will easily identify a clear enough trend: all studies proceeded by widening the temporal horizons of analysis. We may say that the science of economics evolved from the analysis of trivial statics to that of dynamics and, if we may say so, to superdynamics. Let us develop this thesis.

Scientific economic analysis proper, which utilized quantitative methods, started to develop only in the middle of the 19th century. It was then that economists began constructing rather sophisticated quantitative patterns of interrelated economic variables. Formalization of economic knowledge was a qualitatively new stage of economic thinking in which numerous isolated facts were generalized into a systematic form. A wave of deductive generalizations arose during this period, resulting spontaneously in the first formulations of economic laws. This formalization of economic knowledge led to the growth of the universality of various economic generalizations, which helped reduce them to the level of laws. Actually, it was a period when economists made a great leap from a purely contemplative ideology, with its corresponding “here and now” imperative, to the intellectual tradition with large-scale generalizations according to the “always and everywhere” pattern. Even at this stage, we can see economists expanding the time boundaries of their knowledge and leaving behind primitive, immediate empiricism.

Having started to formulate universal laws, economists, in fact, tried to remove the shackles of time from their conclusions in order to be able to extrapolate into past and future situations of whatever sort. Nevertheless, the phenomenon of time acted as a hostile force to be subdued. Doing this was possible only by identifying timeless dependences, which took the form of eternal laws.

Starting from this moment, economic thought split into two interrelated branches of analysis. The first may be qualified as formalistic (mathematical); the second, as humanitarian (content). The humanitarian branch was less strict and logical but capable of running a few steps forward and covering larger swathes of time in its analysis. The formalistic branch could not afford this liberty of expanding analytical horizons, but it digested very methodically what was close by and reduced all economic speculations to such a level of logical consistency and strictness that they literally started “ringing.” Subsequently, these two divisions continued to coexist, but the mathematical branch usurped the leadership and turned into the main trend.

It so occurred that the humanitarian branch primarily studied economic dynamics, increasingly expanding its boundaries, while the formalistic wing moved into the direction of economic dynamics proceeding from the statics of phenomena under study. It is within the framework of the mathematical branch proper that we see the evolution in expanding the temporal horizons of analysis. Let us review this process in detail.

Here we may single out two large landmarks, which, in turn, may be divided into several stages. The first landmark is the analysis of economic statics proper, when time was not yet present in theories and models. J. Hicks, in particular, defined economic statics accordingly as a certain section of economic theory where the researcher is not interested in stating the time. Occupying the domain of economic statics, we assume that the producer uses so many productive factors to produce so many goods. However, we are not asking when these factors are used and when the goods are finished [1].

Static theory is heterogeneous and is divided into two general sections: common and comparative statics. In the first case, a synchronous process section is studied. All values are assumed to be fixed, i.e., frozen in time, and the statics are analyzed in a refined and “pure” form. Of course, all variables of such theories and models correspond to a certain moment in time, but it is not related to either the past or the future, and thus time itself shrinks to a dot that is not evident from the analysis. Accordingly, we may call such static analysis “dotted.” Instrumentally, all patterns of common statics are based on elementary mathematical tools.

Although models and theories of common statics are historically the simplest and oldest, they still exist in the science of economics in one form or another. For example, the theory of credit risks still actively employs such constructions, which, moreover, yield interesting results. The paradox of higher risks for projects with larger collaterals is a good example of this [2, pp. 44, 45]. Static constructions are successfully used in economic activities too. For example, there are many methods of assessing credit risks based on static models [2, p. 23]. We may also name the specialty problems of assessing the nominal tax burden, which are solved with simple procedures of weighing tax rates [3]. Many econometric studies use not temporal, but spatial (territorial), static sampling. This, for example, is true of B. Balassa’s already classical effect, according to which the ratio of the exchange rate to a foreign currency’s buying power decreases as per capita incomes grow [4].

It is clear that such patterns of common statics now look primitive and are not within the framework of the main analytical trend. As a rule, they either appear as additional tools of more complicated patterns or deal with the practical needs of economic agents. Nevertheless, they are worthy of being mentioned as a certain stage in comprehending economic reality.

The models and theories of so–called comparative statics are a logical continuation of common static constructions. The introduction of comparative static methods into economic analysis was due to the use of more sophisticated mathematics, primarily infinitesimal analysis. The use of higher mathematical elements in economic constructions, allowing a leap forward in the development of economic theory, is labeled the marginalist revolution. From this moment, economics began to be increasingly stocked with geometric interpretations, which employed various curves. Reasoning in terms of derivatives gave the chance to study different processes and phenomena with account for the unequal sensitivities of some economic variables to changes of others.

The ideology of comparative statics is still on the credit side. The theory of the firm, theory of consumption, and general theory of equilibrium are based on it. An example of interesting results here is a well–known provision of the theory of the firm that the optimal output of a business is reached when the prices of the goods produced equal marginal costs [5]. Another example is a study into the impact of the value–added tax on producer behavior with regard to the price elasticity of market demand [6].

Yet no matter how good comparative static models are, they continue the line of “dotted” analysis. They omit time, and the very capability of analyzing some variables during the variance of others is based on the study of optimal solutions of the corresponding static models. The essence of comparative statics is that a certain stable ratio is disturbed by one variable. As a result, the remaining variables change their values too. The goal of comparative statics is to derive a “new” ratio between the changes of all variables relative to the initial point. Thus, comparable static analysis contains changes of economic variables, but these changes are unrelated to time. Roughly speaking, no one is interested in when these changes began, when they stopped, and how long they lasted; only the values of the changes incurred are important and nothing else.

Comparative static analysis is, in fact, a “semidynamic” ideology and the first step toward the study of dynamics. It is absolutely clear that all changes of economic variables occur in time despite comparative statics’ omission of the time factor itself. In this sense, the method of comparative statics is very symptomatic for the development of economics showing that it was unable to shift at once from static patterns of analysis to dynamic ones. This shift needed a certain intermediate link, and theories based on the method of comparative statics served as such a link. We may put it this way: we could not switch from “untimeliness” to time at once. The science of economics and its toolkit had to “digest” the oncoming transition.

Further constructions of economics marked the second milestone–the analysis of economic dynamics proper. Hicks defined economic dynamics as a field of economic theory where every quality should correspond to a certain time [1, p. 216]. At this stage, economists pay special attention to how changes within certain temporary boundaries tell on the interrelation of factors and products.

However, here too, it was impossible to produce all the constructions that potentially belonged to dynamic analysis. First, dynamic constructions were attempted in relation to the modeling of capital accumulation and interest accounting. Perhaps here, different time periods were first lined up, while interest was the nexus between different time “pieces.” Simultaneously with such constructions, primitive dynamic models began to appear, similar to P. Samuelson’s model of price dynamics based on an equilibrium detection mechanism. In such a model, price variations depend on the supply–to–demand ratio, all variables assuming a meaning for a specific moment of time. However, this was not the end of it, and models were improved by expanding the temporal horizons of analysis. The above–mentioned Samuelson model was replaced with F. Drash’s model, in which price changes depended not simply on the supply–to–demand ratio but on this ratio during the whole previous period [7]. In other words, the price formation model acquires a distinctive “market” memory, which not only links the past to the present, but also the future to the past and present.

Later on, intertemporal relations were studied in greater detail. Models of economic growth and consumption used the integral criterion of usefulness maximization. Theory thus accounted for the role of planning in decision-making. In other words, looking to the future predetermined today’s human behavior. This point is critical, since we obtain a bilateral intertemporal relation: not only does the past determine the present, the future effects it as well. While the first time arrow, aiming from the past into the present, seemed quite natural, the second arrow, aiming from the future into the present, still appears to be something original. Moreover, time, which integrated utility, varied in such models: it either assumed a specific value or equaled infinity. Thus, the time horizon became, so to speak, unlimited.

The problem of discount was gaining momentum along with this. All values of long time intervals started to be correlated with the corresponding discounting functions. The science of economics finally postulated that the same economic variable has different “forces” at different periods, which should be taken into account in full–fledged analysis.

The classical models based on the synthesis of the past, present, and future are cross–generation models and the models of adaptive and rational expectations. These applied econometric models also use notions as the “depth” of system memory. For example, a system may take into account a state of affairs that existed three, four, or even more years (months, days, etc.) ago.

The logical consequence of dynamic analysis was the emergence of numerous cycle and oscillation theories. Interestingly, as a rule, the general patterns of cycles appeared first (graphic and verbal-logical) and only then their mathematical models. That is, humanitarian thought took the lead over the formal and mathematical here too. The creation of the theory of cycles marked economists’ awareness of the existence of qualitatively different phases and stages of system development, which, on the one hand, are the effect of the time factor and, on the other, are interrelated or “glued” onto one another by time itself.

The real apotheosis of the awareness of the independent role of time was the formation of a new ideology of economic theory, which views all economic phenomena in short-, medium–, and long-term aspects. It developed that, at different time horizons, absolutely different economic mechanisms and laws hold. A typical example is the process of exchange rate formation, where absolutely different patterns and laws that cannot be reduced to one another are clearly seen at short–, medium–, and long–term distances [8, p. 57]: each temporal “layer” exists by itself, abides by its own laws, and operates with its own facts. We must, let us say, use the models of exchange trade and currency expectations to forecast currency rates in a short–term period with a temporal quantum of one day or less, or the theory of capital assets and models that account for foreign–trade flows in a medium–term period with a temporal quantum from one month to one year, or the theory of parity of buying power and models of the efficiency of foreign–trade transactions in a long–term period with a temporal quantum of up to one year [8, p. 58]. The integration of the three temporal layers within one general theory is impossible.

It is clear that the division of economic dynamics into short–, medium–, and long–term periods is in many respects conventional. In addition, there is no clear–cut gradation into temporal layers: as a rule, an individual breakdown exists in each case. Nevertheless, this concept of a certain “temporal dichotomy” in economic processes is revolutionary in essence, because it is clear today that time is an independent force in economic analysis. It fully predetermines the choice of the range of mechanisms and laws that are to be applied to this or that temporal interval. It is noteworthy that analytical controversies still occur in economics when the fact of temporal dichotomy is ignored or processes are incorrectly divided into short–, medium–, and long–term ones.

Institutionalism in its present form is probably the next and the last landmark in expanding the temporal boundaries of analysis. This field occupies a special place in economics. On the one hand, it opposes the main line of analysis with its powerful modeling tools and, on the other, complements and enriches it, especially if we are talking about the newest institutional models and theories. The quantitative and qualitative aspects of the development of an economic system integrate with each other, and this was possible only due to the “prolongation” of the temporal interval of analysis conducted. Institutionalism deals not only with a certain aspect of economic dynamics (short–, medium–, or long–term) but with the lengthy evolution of the system when the “face” of the economy–its institutional and technological foundations–changes many times. We may call such temporal paths historical or civilizational, because they contain multiple qualitatively different socioeconomic epochs.

The genesis of institutionalism is of special interest, since it emerged in the bowels of the humanitarian line of economic analysis and therefore had long been opposed to the mathematical branch of theory. However, today, it in fact has already merged with the main economic stream, having acquired a mathematical form in many of its offshoots. Moreover, the scientific community has completely accepted and positively evaluated institutionalism. However, this happened only at the end of the 20th century. In connection with this, methodologically, the question “why was institutionalism accepted so late?” is very interesting.

Strangely, the answer to this question has a “temporal” meaning: because the methodology of institutionalism has served as a tool for “prolonging” the time scale of economic analysis, economics has not considered such temporal horizons before. In a sense, the community of economists should become ripe enough to analyze such large–scale problems and vast temporal horizons. It does not at all follow from the above that the historical aspect of economic problems was alien to the economists of the earlier period (a classical example is K. Marx’s theory of socioeconomic formations). The problem at hand is different: before, their patterns did not take on such a perfect mathematical form.

Clearly, it would be wrong to talk about a full integration of institutionalism into the analytical mainstream. Contradictions between them still remain, although a tendency toward synthesis is obvious. We are interested in different things: the mainstream of scientific thought uses the problems of not only dynamics but also superdynamics (history), and economists are now swimming in the unlimited vistas of the temporal ether.

 

Time as an economic resource (“time is money”)

 

We have considered above only one aspect of the evolution of temporal concepts in economics, which is related to the innovative expansion of the “sphere” of the temporal ether, the increase in its range of operation, and the awareness of its multilayered nature (qualitative heterogeneity). This aspect is very important, but it is not the only one. The ideas of time have evolved in another direction, namely, that time has been used as a major economic resource. We may say that a distinctive materialization of time has been taking place, equalizing it with common material goods, commodities, and services and thus increasing its economic heaviness.

We can find an analogy of this aspect of understanding time in economic theory in the theory of relativity. Classical physics treated time as an all–pervading ether alongside the three spatial coordinates. Changes in the spatial coordinates occurred in time; that is, time was a certain primary parameter of physical reality, although in some cases it acted on an equal footing with spatial characteristics. Relativity has completely changed this view, having introduced time as an independent coordinate and thus started to investigate a four–dimensional world. According to the new theory, all processes were still proceeding in time, but with time itself now interacting with other coordinates, creating a space–time continuum. Similarly, the notion of time as a separate resource appeared at a certain stage in economic theory. Instrumentally, this meant that time turned from being a passive parameter into an active economic variable, which in turn was changing and intricately related to other variables.

It is most likely that the idea of viewing time as an economic resource formed much later in science than in business. Indeed, the slogan “time is money” came into general use during the making of modem capitalism. Already at that time, humanity was aware of time capitalization and its involvement in the general market turnover. This idea entered economics after a certain delay.

Later on, time qua resource was not only included in the analytical weave but also became a specific resource basis of theory as a whole. Perhaps, the first sound attempt to reduce all processes and phenomena to the temporal factor was Marx’s reduction of the economy to working time: all processes (value and surplus value creation, exploitation, etc.) were expressed in units of working time.

Later, time was introduced into the theory of consumption, where free time (recreation), which had its subjective usefulness, appeared along with working time. Since an increase in recreation means a decrease in working time and earnings, the theory of consumption tracks a clear relation between goods consumed and recreation. The role of time as the most important economic limitation not only to production, but also to consumption, was clear already at this stage.

A new theory of consumption, constructed by G. Becker, made the next step forward in involving time in economic turnover. People’s free time began to be viewed as a resource for household production of different target goods. To enjoy music, fiction, etc., an individual should spend a certain amount of free time. We may say that consumption was reduced to free time at this stage of the development of economic theory. In thus–enriched economic theory, the aggregate time fund (working time plus recreation and sleep) becomes the leading locomotive force of the whole economic turnover, including the processes of production and consumption.

Becker’s theory, despite its naturalness and seeming obviousness, appeared very late. Why did it not emerge earlier? Again, the answer is simple and has a temporal meaning: before, economists did not dare to prepare time by capitalizing it. Only relatively recently have analysts dared to speak about the price of time (let it be a certain “shadow” price, but still a price) and its productivity [9]. Only in the latter half of the 20th century were the corresponding terminology and adequate analytical tools developed to refine speculations about the market of time and incorporate them into elegant theoretical patterns.

At present, attempts are being made to integrate free time into the general theory of economic equilibrium by introducing one more specific market, which sets the demand, supply, and price for free time. Here, the “coordinate” function of the time factor is especially vivid: along with the n of commodity and cash markets (we may say, n coordinates), we introduce the additional (n + l)th market of free time (the additional coordinate), and, thanks to this, all markets are closely related among themselves [10, p. 1021]. Such an approach allows to show that the time market can serve as a balancing element of economic equilibrium, and without its participation it is very difficult to form the right idea of many complex economic processes. In particular, the state of the free–time market (the availability of surplus demand or surplus supply) is at the basis of the functional differences between the capitalist and socialist economic systems [10, p. 1023].

Time is now viewed not as ether, in which all processes take place, but as something independent and visible. It has acquired objectification and topicality, being itself dependent on many economic variables and mechanisms. Other factors form the structure of the aggregate time fund, influencing all other processes. Thus, time has become an independent “resource coordinate” of the economic market in economics, also retaining the function of temporal ether.

 

Temporal disturbances and time heterogeneity
(“time is more expensive than money”)

 

Another line of the evolution of temporal concepts was the awareness of the irreversibility of time. We may say that economics has been gradually working out the notion of the “time arrow.” At this stage we also see a clear analogy with the development of physics. For example, I. Prigogine’s ideas about dissipative processes and the irreversibility of physical time have been practically fully extended to the economy.

A classical example of the irreversible role of time serves the latest institutionalism, which reveals the relations between the institutional (legal) environment of a country and the behavior of an individual and an economy in general. The institutional framework serves as the limit of human behavior and thus helps determine this or that activity. At the same time, actions of economic agents lead to changes in institutions themselves. Thus, the tangle of direct and feedback relations emerges and spins forward along the time scale, yielding quite certain results. If we change the initial institutional conditions, the tangle will untwist with a totally different result. This circumstance, in particular, explains the fact that some countries are poor, while others are rich. It is the difference in the efficiency of institutional systems that were formed back at the end of the Middle Ages that, according to D. North, explains the differing levels of economic achievement of the North American and Latin American states: the former adopted the more progressive and efficient English institutional model and the latter the centralized bureaucratic system of Spain and Portugal [11]. Consequently, the choice of initial conditions brings, with the flow of time, very different and irreversible results.

It is noteworthy that North’s book Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance is largely off–putting and even frightening, because it vividly shows the complexity of the process and mechanism of economic decision making. Any differences, including tiny ones, in such a supercomplex system can in the long run lead to great differences in the final point of a historical period.

Thus, institutionalism and its historical approach show that time is not a regular parameter of an economic system that can change in any direction. To the contrary, time can change only in one direction–in the direction of augmentation; a reverse movement is as impossible as a return to the past.

It dawned on economics that movement in only one direction along the time arrow does not save us from problems, since time differently influences economic variables depending on the direction of their movement (up or down). At present, the fact of the temporal asymmetry of N. Kondrat’ev’s long business waves has been empirically and theoretically substantiated. For example, for the four–phase Kondrat’ev cycle of 55 years, the duration of its phases is 10, 14, 16, and 15 years [12]. A similar asymmetry exists in the reflexive cycle of G. Soros: the rise of an economic parameter (for example, a stock price) in the financial market takes place slowly and gradually, while the fall occurs quickly and catastrophically; the rise period exceeds the recession period in duration [13, p. 114]. Something more interesting is observed when the reflexive cycle is applied to history: in some cases, changes in the real environment that are too slow cause crises; in other cases, ones that are too rapid do [13, p. 153]. Typical examples are the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which took place because of the too slow adaptation of the ideology to reality [13, p. 150], and the financial crisis of 1998, caused by too-rapid shifts in ideology.

A more vivid deforming influence of time is seen in the theories of institutional and technological traps based on the notion of hysteresis. The latter implies an asymmetry of the influence of one variable on another depending on the direction of change of the first variable (an increase or decrease) [14]. The hysteresis effect is especially frequent in economics. For example, if taxes are raised too high, thus stimulating the process of tax aversion, a reverse reduction of taxes to the previous level will most probably not liquidate the withdrawal of the taxpayer into the shadow that has started.

Such examples vividly prove the fact of time irreversibility; therefore, it is expedient to maintain that economic theories that include the action mechanism of direct and feedback relations have led to the formation of an entirely new ideology in terms of the time value, which can be expressed through the following aphorism: “Time is more expensive than money, because money comes and goes and time only goes.” The role of lost time has probably finally crystallized at this stage of the development of economics, marking a new attitude to the time factor.

In the case of the hysteresis effect, we encounter the “ethereal” property of time, when economic processes proceed dissimilarly with changes in the direction of the time arrow. The “resourceful” quality of time is no less important and interesting when a change in the temporal parameter completely changes the further flow of history. This, for example, is the process of a firm leaving the state of an institutional trap when the duration of the planning of its activity predetermines whether it will leave the trap or stay in it [15]. Similar regularities also operate when an enterprise leaves a technological trap, making a principal decision to change its production technologies [16].

The considered conclusions of the theory of institutional and technological traps may be reformulated as follows: too much optimism on the part of an economic agent, expressed through looking to the very remote future and constructing long-term strategies, may fundamentally change its present position and, consequently, the future itself. In other words, the history of individual economic agents and society as a whole splits depending on what value of the planning horizon they use.

There is one more aspect of the theory of institutional and technological traps when we consider society as a heterogeneous system consisting of multiple economic agents. According to these theories, some agents switch to new economic conditions, while others remain in the former state. As a result, an interesting process occurs: one part of the economy flows forward, and the other stands still until it is wiped out by scientific–technological and institutional progress. The following analogy is appropriate here: several whirlpools are formed in the middle of a river with a turbulent stream; separate grains of sand enter into them; and everything flows forward, while the grains spin in the same place. Like these grains of sand, which are beyond the control of the stream, individual firms and countries sometimes become independent of time, forming zones of stability in the “time ether” and blocking the positive forces of evolution.

 

The formation of scientific ideology: closing a methodological cycle

 

The economy always has certain critical values of various variables and parameters that “split” the system into two functional modes: one effect acts on one side of the critical point, and the opposite, on the other.

It is clear that all the variables and parameters of an economic system are constantly changing. Consequently, the value of the critical points and the place of the economic system relative to these points change with the flow of time. An obvious conclusion follows: universal recommendations for all economies at all times are impossible.

At first sight, this conclusion is quite natural–but it is not so. As stated above, at the very first stage of its development, economics adhered to the primitive methodological imperative “here and now.” Economists mainly dealt with sets of facts and did not strive to deduce far–reaching consequences from them. All the following development of science to this day has been according to the more progressive methodological paradigm “always and everywhere.” The establishment of universal principles and basic laws has long remained the essence of the science of economics. And yet this period has come to an end, today the former methodological principle of “here and now” having taken the upper hand. Economists have realized the changeability of the economic mechanism and, consequently, the conventionality and relativity of economic knowledge. Today economics is withdrawing its claims of the fun- damentality and imperishability of its results [17]. A return to the old methodological doctrine is taking place but, of course, on a new basis.

The move to the study of specifics and not of some common regularities has its historical roots and important instrumental consequences. Historically, the roots of the modern “here and now” paradigm lie in the collapse of the world socialist system. It became clear that science could not foresee the consequences of this shift, at least because these consequences were fundamentally different in different countries. Today, the necessity to make important macroeconomic decisions concerning how to use these or those tools of state regulation initiates an immersion into specifics. It turns out that the answers to these questions to a certain extent depend on the stage of the development of the economy under review.

As for the toolkit of economics, it has greatly changed too and continues to change. We already see a tendency to neglect serious mathematics in economic studies and, consequently, the formulations and demonstrations of complex mathematical theorems. This neglect of the main tool of economics is due to a low practical value of traditional economic theory. Research and models directly aimed at practical interests are more appealing. From this point of view, there are two visible shifts in the applied toolkit: computer modeling of the economy is gaining momentum, with its refined reproduction of all relations of a specific system and active experiments with derived models, and nonlinear econometric modeling is developing with regressive dependences based on specific data that imply nonlinear relations between variables [18]. Both toolkits have long been known and mastered, but now we are witnessing their rebirth.

The “temporal analysis” of the science of economics is also of a purely ontological value, since it allows us to touch on the most mysterious and essential problems of socioeconomic being. J. London wrote that “matter and force are the everlasting mysteries, manifesting themselves in the twin mysteries of space and time. The manifestations are not mysteries–only the stuff of the manifestations, matter and force; and the theater of the manifestations, space and time” [19]. The comprehension of the phenomenon of time will, perhaps, help us understand better the economic universe.

 

References

 

1. J.R. Hicks, Value and Capital, 2nd ed. (Oxford. Univ. Press, London, 1965; Progress, Moscow, 1993).

2. A.E. Bogdanova, Credit Risk Control (IMEI, Moscow, 2000) [in Russian].

3. E.V. Balatskii, "Reproductive Cycle and Tax Load,” Ekon. Mat. Met., No. 1, 11 (2000).

4. V.A. Volkonskii and A.I. Kuzovkin, “Price Disparities in Russia and Worldwide,” Probl. Prognoz., No. 6, 11 (2002) [Stud. Rus. Ekon. Dev. 13, 568–580 (2002)].

5. M. Intriligator, Mathematical Methods of Optimization and Economic Theory (Progress, Moscow, 1975) [in Russian].

6. L.E. Sokolovskii, “The Value Added Tax and an Enterprise That Maximizes Profit,” Ekon. Mat. Met., No. 4, 587(1992).

7. E.V. Balatskii, Transient Processes in Economics (Methods of Qualitative Analysis) (IMEI, Moscow, 1995) [in Russian].

8. E.V. Balatskii, “Factors Responsible for the Formation of Exchange Rates: Pluralism of Models, Theories, and Concepts,” Mir. Ekon. Mezhd. Otnosh., No. 1 (2003).

9. R.I. Kapelyushnikov, “Gary Becker’s Contribution to Economic Theory,” in G. S. Becker, Human Behavior: Economic Approach. Selected Works on Economic Theory (GU VShE, Moscow, 2003) [in Russian].

10. E.V. Balatskii, “Leisure as a Factor of Economic Equilibrium," Vestn. Ross. Akad. Nauk, No. 11 (1999) [Herald Rus. Acad. Sci. 69. 531–536 (1999)].

11. D. North, Institutions. Institutional Changes, and Economic Performance (Cambridge, 1990; Fond Ekonomicheskoi Knigi “Nachala,” Moscow, 1997).

12. S.V. Dubovskii, “Kondrat’ev’s Cycle as an Innovative Economic Pendulum with Social Consequences,” Ekon. Mat. Met., No. 1 (1994).

13. G. Soros, Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism (Public Affairs, USA, 2000; Nekommercheskii Fond Podderzhki Kul’tury, Obrazovaniya i Novykh Informatsionnykh Tekhnologii, Moscow, 2001) [in Russian].

14. V.M. Polterovich, “Institutional Traps and Economic Reforms,” Ekon. Mat. Met., No. 2, 8 (1999).

15. E.V. Balatskii, “Functional Properties of Institutional Traps,” Ekon. Mat Met., No. 3 (2002).

16. E.V. Balatskii, “Economic Growth and Technological Traps,” Obshch. Ekon., No. 3 (2003).

17. E.V. Balatskii, “The End of Science According to G. Horgan,” Naukovedenie, No. 3 (2002).

18. E.V. Balatskii, “On the Nature of Economic Discoveries: Past, Present, and Future,” Naukovedenie, No. 2 (2002).

19. J. London, The Little Lady of the Big House (Macmillan, New York, 1916).

 

 

 

 

Official link to the article:

 

Balatskii E.V. The Idea of Time in the Science of Economics// «Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences», Vol. 75, No. 2, 2005. pp. 156–162.

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The goal of the article is to evaluate different projects of reforming the income tax in the Russian Federation. To carry out this evaluation, the authors developed a three-parameter model which makes it possible to do calculations of the expected effects from different tax reform scenarios. The model is based on the idea that the best reform project simultaneously reduces the assets ratio, increases budgetary revenue and does not pose any risk of the reform’s non–fulfillment. The information array of the research is statistical data on the population’s income distribution. To neutralize distortions, the authors calibrated initial statistical data on distribution in the high–income group (the tenth decile) of the population. The risk of non–fulfillment was assessed through an expert poll. The developed model was used to test four income tax reform projects: those developed by the Government of the Russian Federation, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and the Party “Just Russia”. The application of the model allowed the authors to determine that the best project, according to three parameters, in the project of the Government, which preserves the flat income scale and raises the rate from 13 to 15%. According to the authors, it shows that there are no rational alternative suggestions on the introduction of a progressive income tax scale. They have also found out that the projects of all the political parties that support the introduction of a progressive income tax scale in Russia dramatically overestimate the growth in tax revenues from the implementation of their suggestions due to incorrect calculations of the distribution of the population’s incomes in the tenth decile group. It is concluded that currently there is no consensus between the Russian opposition political parties and the expert community. This prevents them from working out a single and well–developed income tax reform project. The authors believe that at present Russia needs a balanced project of introducing a progressive income tax with multi–step corrections of this tax over an extended period of time (10 years or more).
В 2010 году в России была издана на русском языке книга Стивена Льюкса «Власть: Радикальный взгляд». Хотя в международном политологическом дискурсе данная монография давно стала классической, в России ее идеи до сих пор не получили широкого распространения. В связи с этим в статье сделана попытка не только дать краткий дайджест идей американского ученого, но и рассмотреть ряд современных примеров, которые могут быть плодотворно проинтерпретированы в терминах концепции Льюкса. Помимо этого, делается попытка осмыслить некоторые следствия усиления феномена власти в информационном обществе, где возникают широкие возможности для манипулирования общественным мнением. Для этого проводятся параллели между концепцией трех измерений власти С.Льюкса, доктриной имплозии Ж.Бодрийяра и теорией дефицита внимания Д.Дзоло.
В статье показано, что за последние десятилетия феномен инфляции претерпел большие изменения, превратившись из монетарного явления преимущественно в немонетарное. Прикладные расчеты полностью подтверждают этот вывод применительно к России. Сильная зависимость инфляции от огромного числа немонетарных факторов требует разработки новых подходов к ее моделированию и прогнозированию. Новая доктрина предполагает переход от моно–инструментальных модельных комплексов к поли-инструментальным аналитическим системам. В рамках нового аналитического тренда авторы предлагают специализированную систему прогнозирования инфляции, включающую лицо, принимающее решения, аналитическое ядро, состоящее из сопряженных между собой эконометрической модели и нейронной сети, и аналитического интерфейса, включающего систему учета пороговых событий немонетарной природы и систему учета волатильности факторов инфляции.
Яндекс.Метрика



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