Selected Determinants of the Economic Order in the Early Years of Poland’s Economic Transition
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Publish date: 2012-06-30
Gospodarka Narodowa 2012;256(5-6):119–140
The aim of the article is to analyze the values and preferences of Polish society in the early years of the country’s economic transition in terms of two models of economic order, F.A. Hayek’s spontaneous order theory versus W. Eucken’s theory of organized order. Many of the current problems of the Polish economy are the result of the government’s failure to make certain decisions at the start of the country’s transition to a free market system more than two decades ago, the author says. Another contributing factor is policies that resulted in compounding various economic as well as social and environmental problems. The responsibility for these problems can be attributed to a crisis of the institutional environment, in particular to an insufficient involvement of the government in creating a competitive framework for businesses. Moreover, opportunities for developing the economic framework from the bottom up, in line with the logic of the spontaneous order theory, were limited by rapid socioeconomic changes, according to Grabska. In addition to objective difficulties with developing either a spontaneous or ordoliberal model, there was also the problem of adjusting the socioeconomic order to the dominant values and expectations of Polish society, the author says. An attempt to propose a framework contrary to the social mind set and value system is bound to fail because the introduced rules will create chaos, Grabska adds. The analysis of the values and preferences of the Polish people in the early 1990s reveals that society was relatively more predisposed to the kind of economic order prescribed by W. Eucken, according to the author. Cultural factors, such as distrust of the authorities and high socioeconomic aspirations, combined with poor teamwork skills, low work ethic, a desire to strike it rich fast, and little market experience, explain why Poland was ill-suited to a bottom-up model of economic order. Consequently, the government should have been more active and done more to minimize the negative consequences of political and economic changes in the country, the author concludes.