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Alienation in financial area: modern Russian dimension
Author: Alexey Zaletnyy, Ph.D in Economics and in Philosophy, Senior researcher of the Faculty of Economy of Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonossov(Moscow, Russia)
Abstract. The aim of the present article is to draft a visible image of economic alienation as it appears nowadays in financial area.
JEL: A10, F65, F66, J50, P14; P16; P26.
The aim of the present article is to draft a visible image of economic alienation as it appears nowadays in financial area.
There are four major manifestations of an economic alienation in Russian financial area which are examined in this article.
First, it is so-called ‘double alienation’ meaning that employees are 'alienated' from visible results of their activities and, in turn, owners (including so-called tycoons) are 'alienated' from their ownership. There are no assets which are eligible to be called ‘the capital’ or ‘Das Kapital’ meaning the Marxist sense of this notion because entirely all assets are targeted to be expatriated from the Russian Federation.
Second, it may be called ‘extra-economic forcing’. Nowadays, in Russia ‘exit bars’ for employees of some region- and even nationwide companies include the pleading himself/herself guilty on some corporate abuses as an only exit opportunity to an employee.
Third, a devaluation of labor force may occur as professional growing of employees becomes more difficult, so that, employees are 'alienated' from their skills, capacities. On the one hand, a looker-for-a-job is de facto forced in many cases to accept any kind of job offer regardless to whether it fits to his/her skills. Mr. Paul Krugman noticed in his columns in The New York Times in early 2012 that the lack of choice between different employers for employees (as well as financial restrictions of access to higher education) are huge bars on the way of innovations as labor force is being stripped of its professional skills by such way. On the other hand, proving his/her ‘goodwill’, due reputation especially in writing becomes almost impossible to any employee. The negative service record of an employee is no longer an indicator of his/her personal features. At the same time, every corporate abuser whose service record is also negative can now portray himself/herself as a victim of some corporate standoff, etc. Reputation, ‘goodwill’ ceases to be an asset. Honest employers are faced to a newly-emerged obstacle while seeking their expected staff. Thus transactional costs of hiring grow. The third manifestation of an economic alienation can be qualified as some kind of a byproduct of a ‘financial de-globalization’. Assets which were transferred by bankers from Russia into seeming-to-be-safe harbors – off-shores etc. (sometimes, for example, instead of repaying corporate debts) are not in real safety as they are from time to time confiscated by state authorities of these 'harbors' because their state authorities need 'debenture-less' assets rather than the same assets, mainly monetary, on the banking accounts from which they can be removed by their 'owners' at any time. The examination-in-details of an ultimate destination of expatriated-from-Russia assets is beyond the topic of this article. But it is also a manifestation of a 'de-globalization': such 'apologies-for-investors' tightly depend of authorities of a country-investee and are in-fact ready to perform all their requests in order to avoid confiscation. Thus there can be such 'localization' as an incarnation of a 'de-globalization'.
The fourth manifestation of alienation is a non-transparency of a financial sector in the Russian Federation (and overseas as well). Some former high-rank executives of worldwide investments bank started to destroy this ‘custom’ of non-transparency (former Goldman Sachs’s employee, namely former head of one of regional sectors of that bank, Mr. Greg Smith who published his article in March 2012 in ‘The New York Times’ about the domestic ‘cuisine’ of his former employer can be considered as an indicative example).
It’s obvious that overcoming of alienation in financial sphere (as well as in other spheres of Russian economy) includes elimination of all the four abovementioned manifestations.
1.Frayer L. Spaniards who grew up in boom years now set their goals low // Los Angeles Times. 01.IV.2012.
2.Krugman P. Ignorance Is Strength // The New York Times. 08.III.2012.
3.Krugman P. Not Again With The Pivot // The New York Times. 05.III.2012.
4.Smith G. Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs // The New York Times. 14.III.2012.
 See, e.g.: Krugman P. Ignorance Is Strength // The New York Times. 08.III.2012; Krugman P. Not Again With The Pivot // The New York Times. 05.III.2012. See also.: Frayer L. Spaniards who grew up in boom years now set their goals low // Los Angeles Times. 01.IV.2012.
 Smith G. Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs // The New York Times. 14.III.2012.
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