presentation appears in the May
25, 2001 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Faces the Necessity
To Define Its Mission
Yuri Gromyko represents the Moscow Academy of Culture and Educational
Development. He delivered this address on May 5 at a conference
of the Schiller Institute in Bad Schwalbach, Germany.
friends, dear colleagues! It is a real honor for me to speak from the podium
of this conference, which, according to the program, is devoted in part to
these two great names in human world history: Nicolaus of Cusa and Vladimir
Vernadsky. It is possible to say, that these two names are sacred names for
the Moscow methodological circle that I represent in this hall. This circle
is connected with the name of Shchedrovitsky and, more broadly, with the
Russian philosopher Ilyenkov and with Pobisk Kuznetsov, the brilliant
scholar and initiator of the Russian version of physical economy.
is cause for happiness, and our real advantage, that Mr. LaRouche is not
only an economist, but also a social philosopher of the Socratic-Platonic
type, because for rather many people in Russia, it is clear that
monodisciplinary economic science—limited to the single discipline of
"economics," as such—is a plague on our existing statecraft. Of
course, it is possible to talk about there being a good discipline of
economics and a bad one, but, on the other hand, it is clear that the
phenomenon of monodisciplinary economic science, by its nature, violates the
very possibility of thinking about Russia's future.
important in the legacy of Nicolaus of Cusa is his idea of docta ignorantia
(learned ignorance), the idea of knowledge about non-knowledge, the idea of
reflexive knowledge. This suggests a way of shaping programs to construct,
to explore, and to investigate new knowledge, and the possibility, on the
basis of already-assimilated knowledge, to elaborate new visions and to form
new knowledge. The most important and the most interesting, intriguing
thing, is to understand how it is possible to develop programs for the
elaboration of new knowledge.
many people, it is not evident that the lack of sound policies in Russia is
linked with the absence of knowledge, and the necessity of elaborating
knowledge. For example, so far we have no concrete vision of Russia's
mission in a new, changing world, nor, of course, of ways of acting in
accord with such a mission.
reason for this, is not only that we lack finances or that we don't
understand the investment process correctly; we ourselves have a good
understanding, but there are some people who don't understand it correctly.
For them, it is possible to say that one need simply change the members of
the government, and that it is a question of political will. I don't think
so. We lack the most important knowledge right now, and we lack the
projects, without which policy-making is simply social maneuvering. To
change even only the investment process, it is necessary to have new, very
concrete projects, which can become the motive force for an innovative
economy of a very different type, on a grass-roots level. These must be
long-term projects, by means of which we can stabilize the consciousness of
the population, because when such long-term goals are set, there will be
strategic forms of employment for the population.
Post-Industrial to Neo-Industrial
is not clear just at this moment, and what is very important to investigate,
is what the new structure of a new, industrial, post-Soviet system in
Russia, with strategic forms of employment, should be, and what will be the
new structure of the full-fledged, full-scale productive forces, including
educational systems, with all their possibilities, and scientific research
institutions with new instrumentalities. Some ideas about these
full-fledged, full-scale productive forces, from the economic and
technological side, are elaborated in the works of Mark Dvortsin and his
order to elaborate a new vision of a "neo-industrial" system (I
have introduced this term, as distinct from the so-called
"post-industrial"), it must be seen to differ both from our
contemporary, destroyed productive system, and from the Soviet system.
this situation, people take different positions, for there is a specific
positional geometry involved. The first position, is the position of the old
and new liberals (who are the same people): namely, that only through
monetary manipulation is it possible to do something in Russia. They
recognize that we are currently experiencing huge losses—losses of
population, and of institutions in education, scientific research, and
industry. This is exactly what Sergei Glazyev called "Genocide,"
in his book, but they—the authors of the genocidal policy—assert that
these losses are inevitable events during a transition. For all patriots of
Russia, however, it is clear that continuing these reforms is a kind of
second position is connected with the elaboration of new programs, which
oppose the liberal reforms, but fail to answer the very concrete question of
how future post-Soviet industrial systems must be organized. For us, this
position is a purely ideological one. Its main motto is: We understand, in
general, what is to be done, but it is necessary to have real political
power, the wheels of political power in our hands in order to implement
these ideas and programs. The representatives of this position don't notice
that what they want, at best, is to return to the Soviet industrial system,
which was already dilapidated and technologically obsolete in the Soviet
period, and to have only islets of high-level technological organization.
Moreover, that industrial system doesn't even exist any more. They don't
notice, that in our situation, the Russian population needs a more specific,
and simultaneously more general, understanding of what Russia's mission can
be, and of what might be the specific forms of work in new industrial
systems, interlinked with educational and scientific research institutions.
third position is technological in outlook. It is represented by the
economic works of Mark Dvortsin and his group. It consists in the idea that
the modern industrial complex, interconnected with the two other
systems—education, and scientific research—cannot be arbitrarily
changed. That complex is the result of a historical, technological evolution
and of the mutual penetration of different sectors of industry, with their
respective technological and managerial standards, educational and training
technologies, and different types of know-how. The very existence of such an
industrial-educational-scientific research complex is determined by the
interconnections, agreements, and the "fit" between the huge
number of intermediate products and components, produced by different
manufacturing sectors, with their various standards, know-how, and patterns
of doing things that are specific to a given sector.
in Science and Technology
of these elements, melded together in real practice, form interconnections
(or, the lack of appropriate such interconnections), which are precisely
what determine the level of technological organization in an industrial
system. It is impossible to tear one fragment out of this complex, and begin
a technological upgrade of this component. There is only one thing to be
done with such a complex, and that is to organize its evolutionary process
as a single unit, as a whole.
fourth position is connected with the idea of organizing the real process of
innovation in science, education, and industry. Here, we need simultaneously
to upgrade the level of technological organization of industrial processes,
in order to answer the question of what is the new substance of industrial
labor in Russia at this time, just what is the new industrialism, and how
this labor can be organized; and, to reproduce the structure of full-fledged
productive forces, as the totality of interconnections among the
neo-industrial, educational, and scientific research institutions.
is precisely the problem of an innovation economy and of innovation in
industry. For it is incorrect, to think that an "innovation
economy" means simply high-tech, or computers. After it has been
demonstrated that "the information society" is a fraud, it is
clear what the challenge is before us. The real challenge is: How is it
possible to connect information technology with machine tools, and other new
kinds of machinery? This is precisely the problem of organizing advanced
manufacturing systems. It is a real challenge, to understand how these
things can be put together. On the other hand, it is also clear that
innovative technology is not merely the implementation and realization of
new, fundamental scientific ideas; rather, it is extremely necessary to
change the technological forms of organization of industrial complexes, with
corresponding changes in the structure of labor—what professions are
required. To organize this requires having very concrete technological
projects for the new kind of industrial organization.
Development of Industry
must have three different types of projects.
first type of project is connected with the idea of organizing, on the
basis of traditional industries (say, the lumber industry, or the
cultivation of flax), locomotives of development. Such locomotives
stimulate certain effects, when a specific branch of industry, as a
result of its progress through certain phases of development, can
transform other industries. The lumber industry, for example, can
transform the specialized machinery sector, or the specialized machinery
industry can transform the machine-tool sector and instrument-making,
and so on. The same goes for the production of flax, the development of
which presumes the improvement of flax-processing machinery, the
development of special machine-tools for this purpose, the development
of the textile industry, the development of machine-building for the
textile industry, and the development of clothing and footwear design.
All of these connections are well known, but the problem is how to
organize them in practice.
is envisioned that the second type of project, should be connected with
the possibility of creating new types of industry, which do not now
exist, or are only coming into existence: for example, the
optoelectronics, laser, or crystal-growing industries. These new sectors
all exist in implicit, embryonic form, as fragments of technologies in
laboratories or experimental shops.
it is good and important to have a project for meta-industry, which is a
special structure for organizing the very process of transformation and
transition from the old structure of industry to the new. This
meta-industry must be connected with the cycles of innovation. It
subsumes such special organizations as, for example, units for
accelerated prototype development, corporate universities, and so on.
The main idea of meta-industry, is to identify and differentiate the
various layers within the Soviet complex industrial system and to
prepare a large number of points and elements within it, to become the
sites from which actual comprehensive, multi-level technological
innovation will take off.
is very important to organize an industry that can produce a vast array of
instruments, equipment, and specific technological methods, which can be
used to transform the existing industrial-technological institutions. The
main purpose of such a meta-industry is not merely to replace obsolete
technologies and instruments, as such, with new ones, but to organize the
evolution of technology and to increase the level of technological
organization in industry. It involves, first and foremost, the problem of
technologies from the humanities—having to do with thinking,
understanding, education, organization, and so forth. It addresses the
pivotal point of differentiating, or dividing into layers, the old
industrial system—using only the criteria of physical economy, to
determine the potential points where energy flux-density and the density of
product-flows through the industrial system may be increased.
under Extreme Conditions
to Nicolaus of Cusa, it is high time to ask once again: What kind of
knowledge do we need? In my opinion, we do not so much need the abstract
mathematical knowledge of forecasting through a mathematical extrapolation
procedure, which automatically prescribes what is to be done, as we need
knowledge that is connected with a live vision of the future possibilities
to achieve new results. This is the knowledge of foresight, obtained by
positioning yourself in a real process of change. It is always connected
with the real positions that we occupy in particular situations. And such
knowledge has to be the anticipatory knowledge of a project-designer, which
provides orientation for the development of an entire system, and which can
be obtained only through taking up a position for real action.
is also my opinion, that the most intensive forms of technological and
social-cultural evolution, can be organized under extreme conditions of
life, such as in the Arctic north. At the present time, when we have a
situation of mass out-migration, a real flight of the population from
Russia's northern territories, which is forced by the genocidal economic
reforms, it is very important to prepare new programs for mastering and
developing life in these barren, extreme northern territories.
this area, we can see the connection between space flight, and life under
very difficult, even terrible conditions; and, how both are oriented against
monetarist policies. Pobisk Kuznetsov recalled how, when he was working at a
classified company on the project "Functioning of the Supreme
Commander-in-Chief's Headquarters in the Event of a Third World War,"
he explained to members of the Politburo of the CC CPSU, that it is not
necessary to take paper money with you on a space flight; paper money has no
life-support function on a space flight. Pobisk Kuznetsov, that brilliant
Russian scientist, named the work in this area, "Designing Life-Support
deserves to be characterized as a northern civilization. So, it is
impossible even to imagine Russia without a new program to cultivate and
promote life under conditions of the Far North. A very important feature of
such cultivation and promotion of life above the Arctic Circle, is the idea
of development corridors, elaborated by LaRouche and his group, as well as
the ideas of "technopolis" and "technopediapolis" (a
technology-oriented city with an emphasis on teaching and training). Under
such conditions, it is very important to act on the main idea of Vernadsky
about the construction of new materials and new types of energy exchange, in
order to provide population density in such territories. The very
possibility of increasing the density of habitation in such territories, and
of organizing modern settlements in certain delimited areas there,
demonstrates the expanding scale, on which the space of our planet may be
present, the Center for Strategic Projects and Analysis, in the Northwest
district among the seven national districts (each with its Presidential
representative), is organizing the preparation of a new program for
redeveloping and mastering the territories above the Arctic Circle. It goes
without saying, that Vernadsky's distinction between living and non-living
systems is most intriguing in this context, as it relates not only to the
fate of living matter in the universe, but also to the problems of
artificially created entities and their naturalization, as well as the
naturalization of artificial quasi-living products, created by sophisticated
main problem of our political life in Russia, at present, is where, and
exactly how, it will be possible to organize real change through action. In
my opinion, we have only one such possibility. We can do this on the level
of the regions, the seven districts established under the plenipotentiary
representatives of the President. At the level of federal policy, we have a
continuation of Yeltsinism and a total deadlock, because all of our
important policies have been totally destroyed. We have no industrial
policy, no policy for the development of fundamental research, and no
education policy. One might say that, on this level, too, we have the
problem of distinguishing between living and non-living systems, which was
so important for Vernadsky—but, in a different sense, in the sense of the
Christ's words, "Let the dead bury the dead."
elaboration of concrete projects is currently possible only at the regional
district level. Precisely here, there is a possibility to have live contact
with the country as a whole, and with its territories, and not to be
encapsulated in the ivory tower of federal policy. On the district level, it
is very important to find the social and cultural, and simultaneously the
technological answer to the question of how the country as a whole will and
have been some interesting and inspiring initiatives. For example, in the
Volga District a commission has been organized for the development of the
entire space of this region, and this commission was explicitly modelled on
the legacy of Vernadsky's commission, which worked on the siting of
productive forces in the whole country. On the federal level, so far, we
have done nothing but destroy the country's political and information space.
order to bring these programs and projects to life, we need a new, different
kind of education and a new, different professional structure. The real
challenge here, is to bring about a professional revolution—a transition
from the pseudo-industrial type of employment, which was partially the
heritage of the Gulag, to an innovative type of employment. Thus means
developing not a narrow specialist with his "one-track mind," but
a broadly-oriented, multidirectional mind and personality. In order to
achieve this, we must restore and develop the education of engineers,
medical personnel, teachers, and scientific researchers. The pivot of a
professional revolution will be to design a paradigm of thinking and
project-making, which incorporates the ability to work with the future. In
order to organize such a professional revolution in education, it is very
important to answer an old question, which is also a new one: What should be
the strategic forms of employment for new undertakings in Russia, especially
for young people, wherein the term of each project is not less than 25
Deal' for Russia
Russian, this idea of "novoye delo"—a new cause, new enterprise,
or new mission—expressly resonates with Roosevelt's "New Deal"
(the linguistic root is the same). It must be determined collectively, what
Russia's own, national new cause is to be, and it is very important to
characterize such an undertaking, by identifying its seven most important
mission, seen through the prism of the efforts expended and capabilities
developed; in other words, experience.
mission, seen through the prism of personal development, education, and
training; this means a profession.
mission, seen through the prism of others' utilization of the results
and products, accomplished by an individual person; this is labor.
mission, seen through the prism of resources, methods, approaches,
instruments, and technologies; or, activity.
mission, seen through the prism of project-drafting, conceptualization
and planning of the future (future actions); this is thought.
mission, seen through the prism of a person's confidence that tomorrow
will come, and that he will enjoy social protection; that means
mission, seen through the prism of trade, commerce, and exchange; or,
are very important political changes taking place in post-Yeltsin Russia. It
is now clear to a rather large number of people, that Russia cannot adopt or
borrow ways of life from outside. Russia cannot imitate or replicate another
country's pattern of action; there is no such pattern. Therefore, the people
of Russia must set their own goals, and determine the mission of Russia. It
is impossible to formally deduce these goals and aims. The mission of Russia
consists in launching a new civilization, together with the other countries
of Eurasia. Perhaps one should say "a multicivilization," because
Eurasia itself is an eternal dialogue between different civilizations.
main idea of this new multicivilization lies in the cultivation of new ways
of life, and in mastering space and time across the vast territories of
Eurasia. The northern territories, the ocean floor, marine resources,
geological prospecting by satellite, resource- and energy-saving
technologies, new kinds of nutrition and food, new kinds of engines, new
types of transportation, new energy sources, new technologies in education,
and a new style of life—all these things can become reality, within an
innovative economy in the center of Eurasia. There is a huge demand for all
of these things in Eurasia, and they all exist in embryo, in the
not-yet-developed innovation economy. As of yet, however, we have not
officially declared the mission of Russia. Real goals, not just for how, are
lacking. Thus, I can say that it is very difficult to do something with
Russia, if it is viewed only as if it were a bureaucratic corporation.
Georgi P. Shchedrovskitsky (1949-94) was a Russian philosopher, semioticist,
mathematician and teacher, who developed a great number of approaches to the
reform of scientific research and practice. His work is continued by many
groups, known collectively as "the methodological movement." The
Russian philosopher Evald V. Ilyenkov (1924-79) wrote on dialectics and the
structure of thought, as well as his own conception of the ideal. He and his
fellow pedagogue Meshcheryakov developed an original method for teaching
blind-deaf-mute children. Pobisk G. Kuznetsov (1924-2000), scientist and
brilliant industrial management expert, was known as a leading proponent of
the ideas of "physical economy" in Russia.
The economist Mark Dvortsin was Deputy Minister of Industry in the first
Yeltsin government, until his dismissal at the instigation of Yegor Gaidar
and Anatoli Chubais. He has developed the school of "technodynamics,"
and currently heads a department at the Plekhanov Economics Academy.