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The Warsaw Voice » Comments » September 16, 2009
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From the Editor-in-Chief
September 16, 2009   
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1.1 percent, announced the Central Statistical Office (GUS), and triumphant smiles appeared on many Polish faces. According to the EU method of calculation, GUS added, the figure is even higher-1.4 percent. The smiles broadened. We're talking about Poland's GDP in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, and it's the best result in the EU. Two days after this news emerged, the Warsaw Stock Exchange fell by about 4 points, but then climbed again.

Here we are, then, seesawing between hope and doubt. What kind of world are we really living in? What kind of ground are we standing on?

Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz, a former deputy prime minister and the architect of Poland's economic transformation, has said that blaming capitalism for the crisis is like negating private ownership. It may be imperfect, just like democracy, but what better system is there?

Balcerowicz sees other guilty parties: too many loans on the market (the effect of government policies) and too many politicians keen to play Santa Claus. I'll give, give, give, they all say during election campaigns, and after getting elected they aggravate the situation further-by giving. Poland meanwhile, Prof. Balcerowicz believes, is cashing in on its underdevelopment and its well-developed caution-that's why it hasn't suffered to the extent others have.

There are also those who say we haven't fallen too far because we didn't panic, saying "we've survived many a crisis before." It's true, we managed to survive 50 years of never-ending crisis due to the communist political system and then 600-percent inflation.

Our smiles are justified and well deserved. Besides, they serve a useful purpose- public sentiment plays a key role in the economy.
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