Human Capital. Challenges for Russia
В. А. Мау. Human Capital. Challenges for Russia
The search for national priorities
The human capital sectors in the present day
Problems of professional education
Health care in the present day
The future of the pension system
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The debate over national priorities that began when the Communist period of Russian history ended has now almost run its course. A consensus has been reached in our understanding of the crucial importance for the country of those sectors of the economy that are associated with the development of the individual (the development of human capital or of human potential).
This is a great step forward in our social awareness. For one thing, we do need widespread agreement as to what the key issues are for Russia’s economic development if we are to overcome the after-effects of the fundamental revolution that we experienced at the end of the twentieth century. A revolution shatters the value system of a society and it takes much longer to acquire new values than it does radically to deconstruct the old regime.
According to the traditional (industrial society) model, these sectors belong to the social sphere of the economy. But for all the importance of the social dimension, the development of human capital in modern developed countries is known to interact with and depend also upon fiscal and investment considerations and to have political implications. Unlike the end of the nineteenth and most of the twentieth centuries, education, healthcare and pension provision now involve the entire population (as taxpayers and as consumers of these goods). The demographic crisis has added to the complexity of this state of affairs. Funding the development of these sectors has become a dilemma for national budgets and can undermine the financial stability of any developed country. What is more, the funding of these sectors has to be long-term and this has significant implications for any country’s investment resources. Finally, the political and social stability of societies in which the urban population is predominant depends upon the efficient functioning of these sectors.
If human capital is to be developed, financial and structural issues have to be addressed. The extent of the financial problem can be gauged by comparing the expenditure of Russia with that of countries of similar or more advanced economic development, in particular countries of the OECD. Russia spends 1.5 to 3 times less than the OECD on education and 3–4 times less on healthcare as a percentage of GDP.