The Witte System from the Russian point of view


According to professor Raskov the professor of Economics at the Saint´-Petersburg University research of heritage of Count S. Witte can be seen  as a good start to attempt to formulate Russian economic thought and a modern view of life.

Until today most research has been implemented by historians, when many aspects need to be researched by economists. These aspects are economic strategy, tax policy, monetary reform, state household, state regulations and support of entrepreneurship etc. The system of his economical programme “the Witte System” drew attention by it’s effectiveness and can be seen as a valuable national experiment where the state has a central role in the market economy

According to Nikolai Raskov, professor of theoretical Management at St. Petersburg State University and the chief of the established Witte Research Center: “There are in the State Archive in Saint Petersburg plenty of Witte’s manuscripts, surveys and notes, which have never been published. These all facts limit the possibility to make a full-scale picture of one of the most remarkable statesmen of the nineteenth century.”
There are plenty of good reasons to pay more attention to the history of the economic policy of the Witte System and also to the man behind it himself. As Professor Ananich, one of the best Witte experts in Russia, writes in his book “Sergei Iulievich Witte and his time” ”…the creator of a “new Russian economy “ was not aware of all what he has done…Witte was much ahead of most Russian statesmen of pre-Revolutionary times…“ (B.V. Ananich 1999).
Why The Witte System caused the “phenomenal upswing of the Russian economics” in the 1890s?  Was Witte able to dictate the principles of economic policy for Russia, or was   the good result caused just by a happy coincidence?
More attention should be paid on Sergei Witte´s economic reforms from both the past and the modern economic perspectives. An analyze should be made on the measures that resulted in the "economic upswing" of the 1890s and the central role of the state. The state practically controlled and regulated all spheres of economy. This policy of state monopoly or state capitalism followed by special economic measures brought prosperity to Russia. Also during 1890’s when Sergei Witte was Minister of Finance the word “capitalism” was first time mentioned in the Russian official papers.
“It is worth noticing professor Raskov’s publication of a textbook (…) intended for instructors, students and post-graduate students of macroeconomics and management.  Drawing on Witte’s writings, professor N. V. Raskov has  presented a sympathetic view of Witte what he had to say on such subjects as civil rights, representative government, the rule of law, church and state, the state and economy, and the European integration, and suggested that Russia would be well served by following Witte’s structures.” (N.V. Raskov: “The Political-Economic System of S. Iu. Witte and Contemporary Russia” (2000) (Politiko-Ekonomicheskaia sistema S. Iu. Vitte i Sovremennaja Rossiia)  (from S. Harcave: Count Sergei Witte and the twilight of Imperial Russia (Biography) U.S.A  2003).
(The Witte System)  Sergei Witte was follower of Georg Friedrich List’s “National System”

The founder of this economic orientation, Georg Friedrich List (August 6, 1789 – November 30, 1846), was a leading 19th century German economist. He developed further the "National System" or what some would call today the National System of Innovation. He was a forefather of the German historical school of economics, and considered the original European unity theorist whose ideas were the basis for the European Economic Community. List's influence among developing nations has been considerable. Japan has followed his model. It has also been argued that Deng Xiaoping's post-Mao policies were inspired by List. It was in America that Friedrich List gathered from a study of Alexander Hamilton's work the inspiration which made him an economist of his pronounced "National System" views which found realization in Henry Clay's American System.