Feldman, Grigory Alexandrovich

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FELDMAN, GRIGORY ALEXANDROVICH

(18841958), a pioneer in the mathematical study of economic growth.

Grigory Alexandrovich Feldman, an electrical engineer by profession, worked in Gosplan from 1923 until 1931. His report to the committee for long-term planning of Gosplan, entitled "On the Theory of the Rates of Growth of the National Income," was published in 1928 and became the basis for the committee's preliminary draft of a long-term plan. However, Feldman soon came under attack for his ideas on the politically sensitive subject of socialist industrialization and use of mathematics in the heroic atmosphere of those times. His numerical targets, though supported by the head of the committee, proved too optimistic and could not be realized. After some tendentious criticism, Feldman's career never recovered. Even his later work on growth in the United States, an early interest of his, could not be published. He apparently spent several years in labor camps before being released, quite sick, in 1953.

Feldman's two-sector growth model was based on the macroeconomic concepts of Karl Marx. Feldman first demonstrated that the higher the aggregate growth of an economy, the more capital had to be devoted to the producers' goods sector. Net investment would have to be proportional to the existing allocation of capital. The greater the capacity to produce capital goods, the faster the economy could grow, according to the model. Capital-output ratios in the two sectors could be minimized by working several shifts. This early growth model, however, ignored likely scarcities of food, foreign exchange, and skilled labor that would result when growth accelerated.

See also: economic growth, soviet; gosplan

bibliography

Domar, Evsey D. (1957). Essays in the Theory of Economic Growth. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ellman, Michael. (1990). "Grigorii Alexandrovic Fel'dman." In Problems of the Planned Economy, eds. John Eatwell, Murray Milgate, and Peter Newman. New York: Norton.

Martin C. Spechler