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SOCIOECONOMIC INEQUALITY IN
TERRITORIAL AND REGIONAL SPACE
Ph.D., Associate Professor Rivne Regional
Teacher Training Institute, Rivne, Ukraine
PROBLEMS OF UKRAINIAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT WERE RESEARCHED. IT WAS OFFERED TO MAKE ANALYSES AND ASSESSMENT OF INTERREGIONAL DIFFERENCES IN UKRAINE PURSUANT TO CERTAIN COMPONENTS OF SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. SUCH ANALYSES AND ASSESSMENT WILL ENABLE TO DETERMINE PRIORITY DIRECTIONS OF ECONOMIC INEQUALITY REDUCTION FOR EVERY REGION OF THE COUNTRY.
KEYWORDS: REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT, SOCIOECONOMIC INEQUALITY, TERRITORIAL AND REGIONAL SPACE
A13 - RELATION OF ECONOMICS TO SOCIAL VALUES
The increase in the scale of interregional economic differentiation and a gap between the levels of development and prosperity of the population enter the category of the world problems. They are crucial in global terms of inequality between the countries as well as in the boundaries of particular countries in the form of social and economic inequality between particular regions and territory administration units. The problems of regional development have become the subject of many research works of Ukrainian and foreign researchers. Research institutes of Ukraine work on those problems which cover a wide range of both regional and interregional issues.
Researchers mostly focus on the problems of regional economic development. Thus, the problems of regional policy, determining the priorities and directions of state regulation over regional development have become the subjects of researches of Z. Varnalia, B. Danylyshyn, M. Dolishnii, etc.
There is lack of attention among the researchers towards interregional comparisons which are frequently limited to mere description of statistical data related to the level of regional development.
The constituent analysis of social and economical situation in Ukraine shows that over the period of the last twenty years the regional differentiation processes in Ukraine have proved to be both positive and negative. One of the negative consequences is considerable inequality according to the social and economical development rates which is an essential determinant of social and economic inequality.
The economic and sociological approach implies a combination of the statistical data analysis and the outputs of sociological survey related to certain indicators aimed at determining the peculiarities of regional differentiation.
Economical and social inequalities are interrelated; however, from the point of view of smoothing the territorial differentiation they are to be separated. There are the advantages of the “first wave”, i.e. natural resources and advantageous location, and the advantages of the “second wave” which are related to the activity of the society, the state, and population, including the human capital assets, institutional environment, etc.
Such terms as “regional disproportions”, “regional differentiation”, and “regional asymmetry” are used by researchers in the field of regional development to define and compare the peculiarities of regional economic development. Notwithstanding the fact that the majority of researchers use a universal list of economic development indicators for evaluation, nowadays there is no unanimity in using the term which would describe those differences which can be observed between the regions of the country in terms of economic development.
In our opinion, the term “economic inequality” is the most adequate for specifying this concept as the lack of equality in regional economic development. The term “inequality” is in wide use in sociology. The efforts of the researchers are mostly focused on inequalities related to distribution of profits, since that characteristic of inequality is most accessible for measurement and distinctly presented. Inequality related to profits describes primarily the social aspect of inequality and the living standards for the population. This characteristic also has economic meaning and is widely used in economic comparisons when the researchers are interested in differences between the levels of regional development. The problem of interregional differences or, to be more exact, regional inequality in Ukraine is complicated and it requires a multifaceted approach to its resolution.
At present, producing almost a half of the gross domestic product is ensured by virtue of four regions of Ukraine. Kyiv is an incontestable leader according to this rate (18 % in 2011). Besides, the largest volume of the gross regional product is produced in Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kharkiv regions, i.e. 12 %, 11% and 6 % of the total national gross product volume respectfully.
Those regions also take the largest ration of economically active population; about a third of total population of Ukraine ensures the production of 47 % of national product, whereas 7 % of total economically active population living in Kyiv produce 18 % of national product. As a result, in 2011, the volume of GRP per capita in Kyiv was three times higher than that in Ukraine in general (52,8 thousand UAH in Kyiv as contrasted to 17,5 8 thousand UAH as national average). In broader terms, there is a considerable regional gap related to the volume of produced GRP per capita and this gap increases every year. In 1997, the ratio of the largest and smallest values of GRP per one person in regions was equal to 4 (Kyiv and Zakarpattia region), but in 2011 this ratio increased up to 6 (Kyiv and Chernivtsi region) .
Except Kyiv and Kyiv region, in 2011 the GRP value per one person exceeded the national average only in 6 regions of Ukraine. Therefore, it is possible to determine the leading regions that have the highest average income and regions-outsiders where the income per capita is the lowest.
Moreover, there is a special group of regions that demonstrate the most intensive rate of GRP increase over the last 12 years. As we see, Kyiv considerably exceeds other regions both in volumes of the produced product and the annual rate of increase. Thus, the gross regional product in Kyiv has increased almost three times over the last 13 years; that exceeds the average Ukrainian rate in 1.8 times.
Among the specified leading regions, except Kyiv, no other region demonstrated the increase rate which would exceed the Ukraininan average. They even fall behind the majority of regions-outsiders in terms of this rate. Ternopil’, Zakarpattia, and Chernivtsi regions can be currently considered to be the weakest according to the volume of produced product; they have the lowest level of GRP per capita which is twice lower than national average. Furthermore, Zakarpattia, and Chernivtsi regions demonstrate rather significant rates of increase which are higher than Ukrainian average.
Thus, the increase rate of GRP in Zakarpattia region over the period of 1996 – 2010 was 192 % which brought the region to the third rating position according to that rate. However, in 2011 the increase rates significantly dropped (82 % against the rate of the previous year) and Zakarpattia region stays among the outsider regions, since the volume of the produced GRP is rather low.
The analysis of GRP dynamics starting from 1997 showed that there had been a decrease in this rate throughout Ukraine up to 2000. Only since 2001, all regions had demonstrated continuous annual increase in GRP volumes up to 2008, though there are certain regional peculiarities of the increase rates. Unfortunately, the previous statistical data for 2011 show the decrease in GRP volumes in all regions; as a result, its average decrease throughout Ukraine totals to 20 % as related to the previous period. Zaporizhzhia region is to be mentioned separately as it has been on the leading positions according to the volumes of produced GRP per capita throughout the investigation period (the second place in 1997 and the fourth place in 2008). However, according to the results of the activity in 2009, the region did not get into the number of five leaders. In 2008, this region took the 5th rating position in terms of GRP increase rate, but a considerable decrease (by 23.7 %) in those rates in 2009 brought the region back to the 10th place .
Distribution of the population of Ukraine is irregular subject to the volumes of the produced regional product. Thus, almost 30 % of population live in 5 above mentioned leading regions that produce about a half of the national product together. The GRP volume per capita in those regions, and the incomes of subjects of economic activity, including the regional ones, are in direct proportion to the volumes of investment into the basic capital. There is a significant inequality in consuming investment resources. Thus, the largest investment volume was in Kyiv and Kyiv region (27 % of total investments). Considerable funds were invested in Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa and Kharkiv regions (27.7 % more of all investments).
In total, the specified leading regions consume 47 % of all investments in the national economy, while the outsider regions consume only 7 %. The consequences of considerable regional inequality are the increase in number of regions which are not able to resolve their own social and economic problems, their low competitive ability along with investment and innovation activity.
The situation in present-day Ukraine is not beneficial for confidence in overcoming the barriers between social losses or leveling the opportunities to get successful. On the contrary, those barriers get stronger in our society.
Social and economic stratification of population has its reasons and causes. This inequality is partially predetermined, however it can also spread because of obtaining and losing of certain characteristics, positions and statuses .
Transformation over the last 20 years has changed them at the individual level; there were alterations and changes at the level of education, professional competence, social and cultural characteristics of individuals, and their value priorities. It also changed the input parameters which form social and economic inequality. The focus was changed, the old mechanisms of social mobility were lost and the new ones created. Therefore, there was a change not only in the distances between social groups and objects, but the principles of distancing as well.
Under the conditions of a contemporary Ukrainian society, it is possible to claim that the major value of the material welfare level for society stratification is proved with a rather high level of its autonomy and independence from other social characteristics. The hypothesis of our research has been the assumption that the level of education determines the success rate of social and economic advancement of a disabled person in society. Otherwise stated, individuals with higher education are better at adapting to transformation conditions as they have a largest store of educational capital which results in their high level of material welfare and their more favourable position in the society .
Better chances for realizing one’s potential should also be revealed in more optimistic evaluation of one’s own and the family’s material welfare as well as more positive evaluation of the perspectives. A better social and economical situation as well as positive attitude to it in comparison with other population strata in total should also facilitate the improvement in evaluation of social and economic situation in the country, stimulate the preference of liberal model of economic system and contribute to the decrease in paternalistic expectations, the need in protection from the country, etc. Intergeneration analysis shows that the younger the generation is, the higher education level they have. It should be noted that the generation of 1970s – 1980s got their higher education in the period of independence of Ukraine (after 1990), so their choice of the educational institution and future profession must have been related to the social and economic realities of a new employment system, different from the Soviet one. The interrelation of education and social status is confirmed even at the level of conscious self-evaluation of material welfare.
Other compensational mechanisms of inequality of opportunities (access to the capital, developed labour market) are not functional. It means that in the Ukrainian society the embodiments of social justice concept through maximum levelling of opportunities (chances) for self-realization of every personality is complicated by un-embodiment of relevant mechanisms of starting inequality (abilities, background, and economic status as a leading factor). All this provides for a rather significant potential for social dissatisfaction; in combination with insufficiently developed value priorities in favour of this type of inequality in the field of distribution of public wealth it promotes such negative manifestations of public attitudes and behaviour as anomie (and, correspondingly, deviation), total disappointment in public ideals of democracy, distrust in social institutions, strengthening of orientation towards individualism with limited orientation towards any participation in public life .
Formation and establishing of new notions about equality in the distribution field among the majority of population, that is accepting the justice of unequal distribution of rewards in accordance with the public contribution, has a number of limiting factors related both to the value conflict between different ideologemas and mythologemas and to real difficulties in introducing the new principles of distribution (deformation in privatization processes in favour of elite groups, other displays inequality in opportunities).
The development of methods to analyze social and economical state of regions in Ukraine is to be implemented through systematization of the main problems of interregional correlations, establishing the general methodological basis for different approaches to comparison of the regions, improvement of traditional methodologies and development of new methods of interregional comparisons.
The analysis and evaluation of interregional differences and their dynamics in Ukraine on the basis of separate constituent parts of social and economic development make it possible to determine the priority ways of reducing economic inequality for every region of Ukraine. The values of inequality depth according to the rates chosen for analysis along with their dynamics over the selected research period serve as the criteria for making up the list of priorities .
Economical development of regions is the result of using not only their resource capabilities, but to wide extend those economical mechanisms which result in formation and implementation of the development policy. The difference between the underdeveloped and depressive regions is to be shown in the law on stimulating regional development. Strong state economy should be developed on the basis of engaging inner resource potentials of regional development, stimulation of more efficient and full usage of local labour, intellectual and other resources. Systematization of criteria for classification of problem regions into groups and defining a set of instruments of state support for very separate group of regions should be the directions of further research. In particular, if the social and economic modernization is not stimulated “from below”, economical growth will be accompanied with deepening of regional economic inequality of regions.
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