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Institutionalism in Russia in 1930-2010s: an inversion cycle?

Institutionalism in Russia in 1930-2010s: an inversion cycle?

Journal of Institutional studies, , Vol. 7 (no. 2),

This inquiry explores and details the slowed and often thwarted development of institutional thought in Russia, and then its later flourishing. I use Alexandr Akhiezer’s term of “inversion cycles” as a way to frame the inquiry, and relatedly, I divide the arrival and advancement of the institutional field of inquiry into two distinct phases, with the first defined as a Thwarted Phase that becomes evident in the 1930s. At the first phase (1930-80-s) there was a complete negation of both the old institutionalism and the new institutionalism. The Flourishing Phase commences with the start of the1990s and continues up to the present. At that stage we can see a broad and uncritical absorption of institutional economics ideas. I draw relationships with how some of the long term effects stemming from the October Revolution of 1917, the founding of the USSR in 1921, and the tradition of dialectical materialism derived from Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, effectively thwarted the institutional approach to Economic Science for almost all of the Soviet era. The Flourishing Phase can be distinguished by the start of the transition to market economy, the emergence of independent presses, and the translation of key institutionalist documents, plus the dissemination of articles and books authored by Russian scholars¾with some reaching into university curriculums. Relatedly, and in conclusion, I offer insights into the prospects for the emergence of a distinct "Russian Institutionalism" and based upon original contributions from Russian scholars relying upon contemporary methodological principles.


Keywords: Russian economic thought; institutional economics; Marxist political economy; Russia; Soviet Union; Thorstein Veblen

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