The relationship between economic and social efficiency is complex. The growth of economic efficiency is usually based on the following methodological principle, according to which the implementation of the social program itself must become a catalyst for effective economic development.
The funds spent by society to meet social needs eventually return in the form of increased social and labor activity. In this system, the implementation of social governance ultimately appears as one of the subordinate factors for achieving economic efficiency.
Attempts to look at the impact of the economic factor in achieving integrated social efficiency in a similar way inevitably suffer from a simplistic approach. It is already recognized that it is quite obvious that, given the nature of social efficiency, the classical criterion (the cost-benefit ratio) is clearly insufficient. Another approach is needed, with the help of which the effectiveness of one or another social action could be assessed. The degree of achievement of social efficiency is determined by the position of movement towards a socially significant strategic goal, which is meaningfully revealed as a state of maximum realization of human needs and self-realization of its essential forces, in other words of his personality. The good of man, as a supreme value for society, becomes an end in itself for social development. Hence, the projective goal of any development usually arises as a requirement for determining the full well-being and free all-round development of all members of society, the realization of which is above all in the creation of decent living and creative conditions.
It is necessary to make a number of important methodological clarifications. The notion of social efficiency as a performance, assessed from the standpoint of approaching the socially significant goal, must necessarily be related to the changes corresponding to the general line of progressive development of the social system, ie with its gradual transition from less to less. perfect existence.
We can note that before comparing each achieved social result with the costs, it is necessary to clarify the significance of the fact of achieving this result, primarily in terms of its compliance with the goals of social development. It is also important to take into account the time interval required to achieve the goal.
The importance of this clarification for the understanding of the basic principle of social efficiency and its criteria, strongly emphasizes the specific experience of social policy. The American scientist D. Rothblatt emphasizes that in the United States in the 1930s a fundamental rethinking of the principle of effective social policy was made. The government’s measures to expand unemployment insurance funds and increase the number of social assistance recipients, which were initially seen as fully progressive, have increasingly proved ineffective in the long run, as they have little impact on improving human resources. Experience has shown that “ensuring prosperity without offering viable alternatives” for human development and initiative becomes a brake on social development insofar as it gives rise to “the reproduction of a culture of poverty from generation to generation”. Obviously, to the same extent that the time element allows for a more accurate disclosure of the main line of social development, the assessment of the social activity of the activities carried out may change radically. So to say that it is more effective to include people in need of social support in the labor process, which has a promising result from both economic and social starvation, than to provide assistance aimed at short-term “smoothing” of social tensions in society.
Considering the problem of social efficiency depending on the ideas of social development and its ideal, create additional difficulties. In these cases, when the social effect is difficult to quantify, the only reliable criterion for its evaluation can only serve the degree of approach to the goal, to the realization of these values, which are provided by it.
A number of papers deal mainly with the content of the concepts of “social effect” and “social efficiency”. As a rule, the authors of publications agree that the social effect is a certain social result, a goal-oriented activity carried out in life by economic decisions.
Moreover, in some cases it is understood as “something related to human development”, which “forms new features in the way of life and activity, both individual and collective, testifies to increased social activity, supports all-round development. of the personality and the formation of a new type of worker ”. In another case, it is treated as a “result corresponding to the goals of social development”. In the third case, as “a degree to increase the socio-psychological or sanitary-hygienic comfort of man.” In the latter cases, in fact, it is not the social result as such that is meant, but the efficiency, ie. the ratio between the result and the goal, the initial and subsequent state of social comfort.
The proposed definitions make it possible to capture the essential differences between the concepts of “social effect” and “social efficiency”. The first reflects a finding for achieving certain, quantitatively or qualitatively assessable results of social activity in an independent sense. In the second case, there is a correlation of these results with the measure or the degree of realization of the normatively set goal or ideal for social development. This measure for assessing the social effect in turn serves as an important indication of this qualitative aspect of social activity integrated into its systemic organization. Thanks to the same, social efficiency is achieved. This inherent efficiency of social activity – the constitutive qualitative characteristic, can be defined as a principle of social efficiency. It is directly related to the criteria for social efficiency, as specific qualitative features and determinants of meanings, on the basis of which, as a kind of “zero points of account”, social activity is assessed as effective or ineffective. Looking at the features that distinguish social efficiency from the result, they correlate it either with the goals or with the needs. It should be noted that “the most effective, other things being equal, will be an activity in which the goal maximally reflects human needs.” At the same time, the question of the specific social results (effects) of its managerial impact is not raised, although it is presented in the given context as very important. The point is that the consideration of the issue of evaluation of social efficiency and the content of this concept is inseparable from the specific analysis of both normatively or ideologically set goals of social development and the needs (expectations, interests, ideals) of the various social subjects.
It seems that social efficiency cannot be thought of in the categories of an abstract social good or only in the form of a movement of the social system towards some extremely generalized goal of social development.
The social object, which is the object of management to which the concept of social efficiency refers, is sufficiently complex in its structure. It covers the whole set of existing social ties and relations in society. The very goals of social governance inevitably affect the whole “space” of these connections and relationships, including the social system (society) as a whole, social groups (communities) and individuals (individuals). Based on this and the effectiveness of social management, one should think in the overall assessment of the development of all countries, aspects and components of the social system.
Obviously, the correlation of effective social activity with the goals of social progress discussed above indicates one of the important moments of social connection and interdependence between the system-wide, social-group and individual-personal dimensions of social activity, of the aggregate and as a rule long-term nature of its manifestation.
Considering the issue of socio-economic efficiency of the target complex programs, it is found that “the main purpose of the calculation and evaluation of social efficiency within the program-target method is the justification of the adopted planning and management decisions.” Taking into account the need to predict the social consequences of economic activities, which must be read in the overall assessment of their effectiveness, a number of authors note that for this “sustainable quantitative or (albeit sequential) dependencies between production-technical and social changes, between the characteristics of the planned activities and indicators reflecting the corresponding target norms ”.
Some authors link the social efficiency of the economy with the problem of efficiency. In economics and sociology, even the question of the legitimacy of this concept, such as “social efficiency” (as opposed to the more or less clear economic maximum production at minimum cost), is debatable.
Those scholars who consider this concept legitimate are trying to give it a more specific definition. In particular, the criterion for social efficiency is the degree to which mature social problems are solved with minimal time and minimal costs for society. The given definition is debatable, because the development of a criterion for optimality in the social sphere would significantly advance the understanding of the criterion for social efficiency, whatever the final wording of this concept.
The formulation of the question of optimality of social activity as an integral criterion for its effectiveness is promising precisely because of the complexity of each social object, its dependence on many variables, as well as the presence of multi-vector internal system contradictions.