by Pyotr DZYUBENKO, Dr. Sc. (Hist.), and Maxim SAVCHENKO, Cand. Sc. (Hist.), Russian Customs Academy
Research activities of the great Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleyev (1834-1907) have many facets to them. The author of the periodic table, he is also the mastermind of a custom tariff which contemporaries named after him. "Customhouses should and can give two good things, and they do it indeed," the scientist said. "First, treasury revenue, and second, labor incentives at home."
The Mendeleyev custom tariff... To understand what's it all about we should travel back into the 1880s when the issue of protectionist custom barriers came to be in the limelight both for the Russian public and for the government. It sparked a good deal of controversy between "protectionists"* and "freetraders"** These debates went far beyond custom duties proper levied on merchandise, important as this matter was. Our country's socioeconomic development and modernization was on the anvil. Which course to follow? Russia's best minds-state and public personalities, scientists and scholars-likewise threw themselves into the debates. Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev was in their midst.
Much earlier, in the 1860s, Dmitry Mendeleyev had buckled down to in-depth studies of the economy and specific industries and regions. Having collected a large body of data, he got down to the job of drawing up a program of the country's socioeconomic development-the way he saw it.
In September 1889 Finance Minister Ivan Vyshnegradsky offered him an assignment: outline a plan for a custom tariff on chemical products and submit the draft by January 1890. Taking a hard close look, Mendeleyev saw that raising custom duties on particular items would fall short of the desired result. Therefore he decided to conceptualize a general approach and map out fundamentals of custom policy and a system of merchandise distribution.
It was a formidable, mammoth job that had to be done fast, within a short span. Yet Men ... Читать далее