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Nikolay Prokofyevich Fedorenko (Russian: Никола́й Проко́фьевич Федоренко) (26 April/28 April 1917 – 1 April 2006) was a Russian economist and chemist. He was the head of the Central Economic Mathematical Institute (CEMI) in Moscow from 1963 to 1985.
Fedorenko graduated from Moscow Institute of Fine Chemical Technologies.
His name is associated with an economic planning methodology used in the former Soviet Union and known as the System of Optimal Functioning of the Economy (SOFE). During the Soviet period SOFE was a controversial approach using mathematical planning methods in order to improve the central planning system. These methods were based on the idea of linear programming or "optimal planning", associated with L.V. Kantorovich. The SOFE approach was sharply criticized by some Marxist political economists, who saw the mathematical methods as being too close to Western economic approaches. They were afraid that Soviet political economy would disappear behind the mathematical formulas, and that Soviet economics would finally be assimilated into Western economics, which also uses mathematical formulas.
An innovative feature of the SOFE approach was its vision of connecting together the different levels of the national economy with computers, which would carry out the calculation of the mathematical planning formulas. This was a precursor of the use of the internet. The idea of using mathematical planning methods and computers remains valid even in today's globalized economy.
Despite all ideological attacks Fedorenko remained in his position in CEMI. A Doctor of Economic Sciences, he also was an Honorary Director of CEMI since 1992, a member of the American Econometric Society (from 1966), a member of the International Economical Society (from 1967) and an Honorary Director of the Warsaw School of Planning and Statistics.
He wrote several books about optimal planning and SOFE, mostly in Russian, some translated into English.
- Sutela, Pekka (1984), Socialism, Planning and Optimality: A Study in Soviet Economic Thought, Helsinki 1984.
- Götz, Roland (1972), Preis und optimale Planung. Zur Diskussion in der Sowjetunion, (Diss.), München 1972.
- Zaubermann, Alfred (1975), The Mathematical Revolution in Soviet Economics, London, New York, Toronto 1975.
- Drzymalla, Jürgen (1991), Planung im sowjetischen Wirtschaftssystem,(Diss.), Frankfurt/M., Bern, New York, Paris 1991.
- Feodorenko, N.P., Nekotorye voprosy teorii i praktiki planirovanija i upravlenia, Moskva 1979.
- Fedorenko, N.P., Ju. V. Ovsienko, N. Ja. Petrakov (1983), Vvedenie v teoriju i metodologiju sistemy optimal'nogo funkcionirovanija socialisticeskoj ekonomiki, Moskva 1983.
- Fedorenko,N.P., N. Ja. Petrakov (1984), Modelirovanie v processach upravlenija narodnym chozjajstvom, Moskva 1984.
- Fedorenko, N.P., I.P. Subkinaja (1983), Ekonomiko-matematiceskie modeli v sisteme upravlenia predprijatijami, Moskva 1983.