Józef Maria Poniatowski and Gospodarka Narodowa
 
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Publish date: 2011-06-30
 
Gospodarka Narodowa 2011;248(5-6):123–139
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ABSTRACT
The author discusses the socioeconomic views of onetime Polish economist and military leader Józef Maria Poniatowski (1897-1995) and his ties to Gospodarka Narodowa (National Economy) magazine, which was published every two weeks in the 1930s. Although Poniatowski was considered to be one of the leading economic policy makers of his time, no attempts were made to discuss his economic views in Polish scientific literature up to now, according to Jarosz-Nojszewska. She analyzes Poniatowski’s publications and presents his views about the most important economic problems of interwar Poland, on the basis of documents from the Central Archives of Modern Records (AAN) in Warsaw as well as the archives of the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) and Warsaw Agricultural University (SGGW). The author highlights some of the key facts from Poniatowski’s life as well as his family ties, which had a huge impact on his views, especially in issues related to agricultural policy. Józef Poniatowski came from a family of landowners. He graduated in economics from the Warsaw School of Economics, and also had a degree in agriculture from Warsaw Agricultural University and a degree in law from the University of Paris. In the 1920s and 1930s, Poniatowski worked as a researcher and also dealt with politics. He was one of the co-founders and most active members of a business association known as the National Economy Club. He published dozens of articles in Gospodarka Narodowa, most of them focusing on the problems of the countryside and agricultural issues as well as government economic policies. For example, he frequently criticized stopgap measures and short-term arrangements in the government’s agrarian policy. He called for an increased role of the state and government intervention in the agriculture sector and the economy as a whole, and advocated more decisive and far-reaching steps in various areas. He argued that an agrarian reform and related changes in the agrarian structure of the country were critical to reducing the Polish economy’s vulnerability to fluctuations in economic trends. Poniatowski pointed out that a land reform could alleviate the country’s economic problems by expanding the internal market. He highlighted the dramatic debt problem of Polish agriculture. He also wrote about cartels, a topic that was directly related to his work as a Cartel Court judge. However, his best known works were dedicated to the issue of agrarian overpopulation. A few years before World War II, he was appointed director of a government economic bureau, a position of key importance to the Polish economic policy of the time and one that enabled Poniatowski to take part in government economic policy making. World War II interrupted his career. After the war Poniatowski did not return to the country from exile, and continued his scientific and political pursuits while living abroad.
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ISSN:0867-0005