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Leap into Modernity – Political Economy of Growth on the Periphery, 1943–1980


Adam Leszczyński

This book describes struggles of different countries and their development after World War II. It presents a panorama of different ideologies of accelerated development, which dominated the world just before the war and in the next 40 years. The author explains why in the 1970s global and local elites began to turn away from the state, exchanging statism for the belief in the «invisible hand of the market» as a panacea for underdevelopment. He focuses not only on the genesis of underdevelopment, but also on the causes of popularity of economic planning, and the advent of neoliberalism in the discourse of development economics. This book evaluates the power of state as a vehicle of progress and focuses in detail on the Soviet Union, China, Poland, Ghana, Tanzania, and South Korea.

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Chapter 5. Polish planism

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A number, when it grows hot with fervour,

Enters boldly into worlds of prophetic dreams

And produces epics about factories

Or poems about elaborate dreams.

From a publication issued on the 75th anniversary of the

founding of the H. Cegielski Stock Company, 1930s

We are witnessing the collapse of the last bastions of global capitalism, which as a political system is reaching the end of its era. We bid it farewell, noting that it leaves behind the tainted seeds of hatred among nations, classes and sectors of society, savage rivalries between states, criminal theories about one man’s rule over another, enslavement of the spirit and enslavement to work.

Declaration of the Coordinating Body of Democratic, Socialist and Syndicalist Parties, containing basic guidelines for the political system in postwar Poland, Warsaw, 4 March 1944.502

Chapter 5.Polish planism503

1.Polish poverty

In the summer of 1938, Polish journalist Melchior Wańkowicz made his third trip to observe progress on the construction of the Central Industrial District (Pol. Centralny Okręg Przemysłowy, abbrev. COP). One of the most highly acclaimed journalists of the Second Republic, he was gathering material for a book solicited by the government about the success of its program to build Polish industry. In the book, Relay Race (Pol. Sztafeta, 1938), Wańkowicz wrote:

Ten million people living from farming lack food and jobs. Ten million unemployed people living in the countryside (in addition to those registered in the cities) are a dead weight we cannot shoulder, who are as yet unworthy to be called citizens because they first need to be nourished, given some kind of surplus social income to allow them to think about more than just their most primitive animal needs.

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And then – the COP appeared. Five-sixths of Poles live outside its borders, but they still dream about it, holding their heads high, awaiting a better future, and reassessing how they view Poland.504

Wańkowicz’s prewar reporting is full of harrowing descriptions of misery: dirty, ragged children with eyes damaged by trachoma, the poor clustered in dark, damp cellars, peasants slowly dying from untreated tuberculosis and syphilis, vegetating in misery and squalor in towns and villages in Poland’s poorer eastern “B-Side”. The literary concept behind Relay Race was to contrast descriptions of such poverty with visions of the prosperity and growth promised by the government’s investments. The author notes in the book’s Preface:

Poland is a very poor country. Each page of the Statistical Yearbook tells us so. [Relay Race] does not dispute this state of affairs. The book merely wants to demonstrate that our lives today are not so terribly wretched, that we can remain hopeful, and that if we do so, we will improve our situation. This will require generations of hard work, just as it took the “work” of generations to squander away a once rich and prosperous Poland.505

Development is not something that will occur at some undefined time in the future: it is happening here and now, right before the reporter’s eyes, thanks to the far-sighted and ambitious policies of the government. The spiritual kinship between this writing and socialist realism is striking. The cult of production and industry is the same in both. Even the graphical elements of the book - pictures of welders on scaffolding, miners at work digging, power lines, jackhammers, red-brick factory buildings standing in an open field - bring to mind, as one historian noted years later in his introduction to a new edition of Wańkowicz’s book, the iconography of the Stalinist era, which would arrive in Poland only after the cataclysm of the Second World War.506

In Wańkowicz’s reporting, industry - the aesthetics of which seem to fascinate him - is to bring civilization to a place it has never previously been. This is to be more than a purely technological revolution. After the factory come doctors, schools, social insurance and new, improved rules of life:

I walk to the house where the welders live. The welder is the highest category of worker; you have to be good with your hands to be a welder; but you also earn six hundred zlotys per month; it’s no surprise that they get paid so well; imagine if the pipes carrying natural gas under pressure had cracks in the seams […] the Jewish innkeeper, who runs the place where we go to drink beer, praises these welders as easygoing people who save ←176 | 177→their money to send back to their families. One old man, fumbling with his tobacco pouch, sees fit to add his own two cents: “This Johnny-come-lately […] may be a worker, but he wears fancy clothes and lives like a city boy. He eats meat every day, and not just cooked up plain, but minced with onion, and pan-fried on both sides, and he washes it down with vodka. He’s a clever bastard, not like our peasant-folk. He doesn’t deny himself a thing, he knows you only live once in this world. He doesn’t watch what he spends because he’s never short of cash. He’s the kind of person who knows which end is up.507

This miracle could only have been decreed from above. In Relay Race, it is the government – far-sighted ministers, directors and military officers, who have assumed the burden of responsibility for Poland - who took up the task of building the Central Industrial Region. In doing so, they simultaneously realised two collective aims, tying progress to building the nation’s military strength.

The structural parallels between ideas from the 1930s and 1950s – and even later – about how to promote Poland’s economic development are much more pronounced than they appear at first glance. It was commonly and sincerely believed that the free market did not work (or worked only in relation to consumer goods), and that the only chance for achieving significant growth and catching up to the West after centuries of backwardness was planning and centralised state investments, directed by an elite - before the war, the government, and after the war, the communists. The belief was common that only by such means could Poles be made “full-fledged citizens”, although this “citizenship” did not necessarily mean that Poles would have the freedom to choose between different political parties. The social objective of industrialization was freedom from poverty and meeting people’s basic needs, such as participation in the national culture – of course in a form defined by the ruling elite. Both before and after the war, the government faced similar pressures, those posed by a growing population and a large military budget - though the international contexts were, of course, quite different. The two periods also shared a common sense of optimism. As Wańkowicz wrote:

The day they get their first day’s pay – from a lifeless block of ten million have-nots, one tiny piece breaks away once again. On the other side, 400,000 new citizens are born here every year. The race to a Poland inhabited by full-fledged citizens is a hard one.508

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Prewar Poland was indeed a very poor country.509 Polish historians write about this in a less harsh manner than Westerners, who systematically group the Second Republic with countries such as Romania, Portugal and Greece. Before 1939, more than half the population in Poland worked in agriculture, compared with slightly less than half in the countries of southern Europe and more than 70 percent in the Balkans. Peasant life was short – life expectancy was 47 years in 1938. This was more than ten years shorter than in the West, and living conditions in general were often very primitive in comparison with Germany or France. Poland had modern industry, but these factories were islands in the sea of a primitive, semi-feudal economy. Even here, however, performance levels remained much lower than in the West.510

Nevertheless, the Second Republic was not in last place in Europe’s second division. In contrast to the Balkan countries, for example, it had its own industrial sector, somewhat fewer people worked in agriculture, and a larger proportion of citizens could read. The nineteenth century, when the Polish lands were divided between three foreign powers, had not been good to Poles, but the industrial revolution had not passed them by entirely.

Economic historians have argued for decades about the pace of economic development in Central Europe during the era of industrialization. Opinions and estimates differ, but the general conclusion is that despite the changes in borders, political systems and economic theories, the gap between the West and Central Europe has remained relatively constant.511 Poland’s per capita GDP before 1939 ←178 | 179→never exceeded half the average in Western Europe. The disparity was even more clearly visible in the level of consumption, which in Poland in the 1920s was less than one-fourth the level in the West; consumption levels fell further during the Great Depression, returning to pre-crisis levels only just before the war. In 1937, the number of cars per capita in Eastern Europe was 25 times lower than in the West (not to mention the United States).512 In spheres that determine the comfort and quality of life - such as income, education, road infrastructure, home size and furnishings, doctors per capita - interwar Poland lagged far behind the West.513 Poorer citizens, particularly those living in rural areas, were chronically undernourished.514 The economist Ludwik Landau wrote at the time:

At their height in 1929, white-collar workers’ wages in Poland, like those of physical labourers, were among the lowest in Europe, and remained both in nominal terms and – despite the low food prices in Poland – in real terms far from the level of wages in Western countries.515

Landau added that Polish wages were also characterized by a greater discrepancy between the intelligentsia and the workers and farmers than in the West – a situation typical of underdeveloped countries. While a Polish government official had an income comparable to his colleagues in Austria or the Czech Republic (although lower by half to that in Germany or France), Western workers already earned much more than Poles. According to Landau, this distance stemmed primarily from the difference between the production generated in Poland (estimated by him to be 610 zlotys per year per capita, compared with e.g. 600 zlotys in Romania) and in the countries of the industrialized West (1800 zlotys per capita), not to mention the U.S. (4500 zlotys).516

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2.Life during the Depression

The Great Depression hit Poland particularly hard: industrial production declined by as much as 40 percent, and the deflationary policies of successive governments (including tax increases, spending cuts, maintaining the gold standard) only deepened the economic collapse.

From the outset, the interwar period had been difficult for newly-independent Poland. Derek H. Aldcroft estimates that industrial production fell by up to 15 percent in 1920 during the Polish-Bolshevik War, and by 1929, on the eve of the Great Depression, had not yet returned to prewar levels – meaning that Poland’s economic performance was the worst in Central Europe and only slightly better than the Soviet Union’s.517 According to other estimates, in particular, those of Stephen Broadberry and Alexander Klein, Polish GDP per capita reached prewar levels only in 1937, a result on par with those of other countries in central and southern Europe.518

These problems were rooted not only in the economic policies of successive governments, but also in radical changes in the country’s post-independence geopolitical situation.519 To the east, Russia, the primary market for the former Polish Kingdom’s industrial output, was now closed to Poland. To the west, Germany had been engaged in a customs war with Poland since the mid-1920s. At home, merging the various partitions into one entity and rebuilding after the devastation of the First World War were extremely costly, as was the hyperinflation that plagued the country for several years.

The Great Depression was quick to reach Poland. A fall in food prices led to weakness in its banks, which had issued loans for agricultural production. The government’s response to this crisis was the nationalization of factories and ←180 | 181→banks at risk of collapse.520 Private banks held 40 percent of deposits in 1926, but only 20 percent in 1934.521

In the early 1930s, journalist Konrad Heather wrote in a report on Zawiercie, “the city of the unemployed”:

I walked through the factory halls. Just a year earlier, they had been filled with the roar of machines; today they stand mute. What do we see now in these deserted halls, whose maze of looms has been left silent? Today, rather than thousands of workers bustling about these factory halls, we have a handful of caretakers, recruited from among the former work crews. They wear scarves and caps as they make their rounds in the empty factory’s unheated halls. These cold rooms instil a feeling of dread. Pieces of silk or plush cloth hang here and there from the looms, as if someone had left suddenly in the middle of work. Will the workers return to finish the job, will they return to the print shop, to the laundry and the finishing line, to the bleachery, to the spindles and looms? Will they ever return to work? There are currently 7,854 people on the unemployed rolls in Zawiercie. If we consider that they are mostly the heads of families, and the average family consists of three to four people, then we can estimate that as many as 25,000 people are receiving support from the social welfare services. According to the last census, Zawiercie had 32,000 residents. It is thus no exaggeration to say that three-quarters of the Zawiercie population live on public assistance.522

The government had no idea how to remedy the situation. Polish politicians’ actions were focused, above all, on efforts to maintain financial stability by preventing both a financial crisis and a return of hyperinflation, which was still fresh in Poles’ memories. They also sought to maintain Poland’s credibility as a solvent, reliable and stable member of the international community. Another reason for inaction was, says Nikolaus Wolf, the desire to defend Poland’s economic independence and maintain access to French capital (France was then the pillar of the “gold bloc”).523 This issue was finally decided by Marshal Pilsudski, who objected to any form of monetary “experimentation”, when he assumed dictatorial powers in 1926.524

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All these arguments seemed reasonable, but the price citizens paid for these policies ended up being extremely high.525 Budget expenditures fell by a third in 1930–1934. There was also a comparably drop in real value of loans granted by banks, which essentially put a stranglehold on the economy.

The crisis brought about a breakthrough in thinking: it became widely read as a great moral defeat for capitalism. In the 1930s and 1940s, the vast majority of reporting on the economy – from both right and the left – associated liberalism and the free market with poverty, irrationality, chaos and waste on a massive scale. Perhaps not without reason: at its low point in the winter of 1933, the Great Depression was, as the American economic historian Bradford DeLong writes, “a form of collective insanity”:

Workers were idle because firms would not hire them; firms would not hire them because they saw no market for their outputs; there was not market for output because workers had not incomes to spend.526

There was a general feeling that the world had been turned on its head, and was full of meaningless suffering. The economist Włodzimierz Brus, who had grown up in the 1930s, and would later spend decades trying to reform the economy of real socialism, recalled that decade:

In the less developed countries of Eastern and Central Europe, the Great Depression brought more misery and hopelessness than elsewhere else. Having been born in Poland in 1921, I was quite aware in the mid-1930s of the suffering being caused by mass unemployment, the wide-spread homelessness in the cities, the catastrophically low incomes of the rural population, especially in Central and Eastern Poland, where the “surplus” rural population was estimated to be in the millions. Although the situation of my own family was relatively good (my father, a white-collar worker in a Jewish volunteer organization, kept his job throughout the interwar period), the juxtaposition of idle factories and unwanted production against an army of people desperately seeking work and fighting for survival led to questions that could not be ignored.527

In Poland, approximately 40 percent of workers in the cities were out of work. The absurdity of factories sitting empty while millions were unemployed and starving, made a particularly striking impression and is mentioned often in memoirs.

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In his search for a better economic order, Brus turned first to a classical economics textbook, which left him disappointed, and then to the texts of Soviet Marxists. He found them convincing.

The formative experience of the Great Depression as a discrediting of capitalism and the free market left an impression on an entire generation. Here is another recollection of that era by the poet and prominent intellectual Czesław Miłosz:

I condemned the capitalistic system, but was suspicious of becoming enmeshed in philosophical intricacies. […] The dates are important. The years 1930–1935. Mass unemployment. The destruction of wheat and coffee. Hitler’s seizure of power. All those aroused a violent protest from everyone who was not ready to accept the absurd. The poems I wrote then did not call for revolutionary action, but there was terror in them and a foreboding of what was to come. […] Our university politics underwent the same polarization as the politics of all countries: the Right became more and more Fascist, and the Left more and more Stalinist.528

Brus’s conviction of the absurdity and irrationality of capitalism was not shaken even by the experience of a stay in the Soviet Union, during which he saw up close – first working as a piece worker producing metal parts for parachutes, and then as the head of the planning office in a factory producing two-finger gloves for the military – how a centrally planned economy operated in practice/ reality:

I learned a lot in the factories, not in a positive sense, but in a negative one: how distant the realities of central planning were, viewed from the level of the factory floor, from the schemes taught in the classroom: poor organization, the harmful role of plan fulfilment as the primary indicator of success, a system of incentives which encouraged waste instead of the conservation of resources - matters of the utmost importance in wartime; quality control was only effective if it was carried out from outside by a military delegation. Thus, the microeconomics of Soviet industry were frightful.529

At the same time, and this was a paradox characteristic of many observers, seeing this mismanagement and disorder with his own eyes, Brus remained impressed by the scale of investment that Stalinism made possible, especially given the very difficult wartime conditions.

The industrialization programme created a number of new factories in Saratov, including large plants producing combine harvesters and ball bearings, large oil refineries, etc. They were quickly converted to military production (the combine factory began production of fighter aircraft) and formed a base for industrial plants that had been evacuated from the western part of the country. The possibility of mobilizing resources in conditions of necessity were also obvious: one example from my personal experience ←183 | 184→was the building of a gas pipeline to Saratov from newly discovered fields in the seemingly impossible conditions of the winter of 1942–1943.530

The Great Depression marginalized in Poland the political influence of liberal economists from the Kraków school, supporters of laissez-faire who had been influential in the 1920s. The suddenly found themselves in the same situation as the advocates of “market socialism” after 1989 – no one would listen to them. Moreover, they themselves sometimes experienced moments of doubt. In a book published during the Second World War in London, one of the most important representatives of this group, Ferdinand Zweig, wrote that now he could see the positive effects of central planning efforts undertaken even before the war:

The experiment of planning the Central Industrial District is one of those experiments that merits attention when considering the specific issues involved in rebuilding Poland’s economy after the war.531

The prewar journalism of Polish liberals – Adam Krzyżanowski, Adam Heydel and Ferdynand Zweig – was full of familiar-sounding warnings against the expansion of the state, the danger collectivism poses to freedom, the inefficiency of statism. If not for its archaic language, it would have not been out of place in the 1990s. It was written, however, at a very bad time for the free market. In practice, the voices of the “Kraków school” were almost completely forgotten for several decades, and were reintroduced into the public debate only after 1989.532

3.The antiliberal 1930s

The debate about statism in the interwar period was won decisively by its supporters, certainly in terms of political practice, and, according to the prevailing view, in terms of theory, as well.533 “Life itself ” put an end to the debate: capitalism had collapsed under its own weight, and now – as they wrote at the time – you would have to be naive to believe in “economic automatism”.534 Moreover, even avowed liberals “contrary to the beliefs they professed, were forced to pursue a policy of state intervention, often one bearing the hallmarks of statist politics.”535

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This is visible in the political programmes written of the period. The historian Andrzej Friszke divides Polish political life in the 1930s into three main (and internally diverse) camps: democratic, nationalist and “sanation”, i.e., supporters of the Pilsudski dictatorship.536 Without questioning the differences between them, it is worth noting here one common element in their views on the economy: they all shared an aversion to the free market as the sole (or even primary) regulator of economic processes. State intervention was widely recognized as the solution to the Depression, although the Soviet model was widely rejected as too radical and incompatible with Polish realities.537

On the left, the Polish Socialist Party called for the expropriation of large estates and large factories and the “collectivization of production”; there were differences of opinion within the party as to whether statism was an unsuccessful attempt to save capitalism (as assumed by the authors of the more radical “Project Programme” of 1937), or a path to greater social control over the economy, as can be inferred from the programme ultimately adopted.538 Ultimately, however, the Socialists’ plans called for, among other things, the collectivization of large estates, the introduction of a monopoly on foreign trade, the confiscation of land without compensation, and the introduction of a planned economy, i.e., the protection of “worker-peasant” interests.539 The socialist left was going to leave in private hands only small-scale production: industry was to be managed by mixed teams of workers, buyers and state commissioners.540 The agrarianist ideologues of the Peasant Party also proposed the expropriation of large estates, as well as reliance on family peasant farms and the transfer of industry to small towns.541

The right also abandoned liberal economic ideas, and it is worth devoting more attention here to them than to the ideas of the Left, which was by nature supportive of public or social ownership. Roman Rybarski, an economic theorist affiliated with the nationalist National Democrats and closest to the liberal Kraków School was politically marginalized in the 1930s.542 In 1936, he warned against a “state monopoly”, which admittedly could achieve economic successes, ←185 | 186→but “this very modernized, rationalized state factory would produce a standardized man, a human-robot, rather than a living man.”543 In its programme from 1928, the National Party condemned “statism”, but wanted the state to play a very active role in an economy subordinated to “national” aims – including the promotion of small industry and handicrafts.544

In the 1930s, right-wing ideologues writing about the economy could write about the sanctity of private property and criticize sanation statism because it did not meet their expectations, but the ideas they put forward on the “national economy” were far removed from free-market principles and rested upon farreaching state intervention.545 Stanisław Grabski wrote in 1938:

With the current state of our cash reserves, we cannot expect an increase in private capitalization of more than 100 million annually. And if the state takes none of this – then a private enterprise, based on private capitalization, could create new jobs for at most 150,000 people annually. […] With its current resources, private capitalization is able to provide jobs for barely half of the growth of our working-age population. […] But then for the other half of this increase, and for one and a half million of the most long-term unemployed, the state must create sufficient earning opportunities.546

These types of proposals could be combined with criticism of the government’s policy of statism (Grabski called it “bureaucratism”), which had not lived up to the high expectations set for it.547 This did not prevent Grabski – who still had an affinity for the free market – from writing about the “tasks of our planned economy”, i.e., establishing a state lending programme and directing the development of industry.548 His conclusion, which he reiterated repeatedly, was clear: “The liberal economy is no longer sufficient for us (it may still function quite adequately in England and France) as a means for staking a course out of the poverty that has been growing deeper for years”.549 “The essence of a planned national economy is directing the nation’s economic development toward a predetermined goal.”550

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This “goal” of state control over the economy was to strengthen the armed forces and the nation’s collective strength and “creative potential”, which was described by means of a biological and naturalistic rhetoric. In Wyście z kryzysu, another popular book on the radical right, Jędrzej Giertych wrote:

In some areas of Poland there is widespread hunger. The urban intelligentsia sometimes fail to realize the appalling living conditions of the Polish people in some densely populated, but less developed parts of the country. There are areas of Poland where the average peasant family usually eats nothing but potatoes boiled in salted water, and serving them with anything, not to mention wholemeal bread, is considered a rare delicacy seen only on special occasions; that in such areas, even older peasant children do not know what sugar tastes like because they have never had it in their mouths (they are more likely to know the taste of black-market saccharin); that the prayer for “our daily bread” is for many Poles a prayer unfulfilled. In these areas, Polish people’s physical strength quickly wanes: the young generation, as a result of malnutrition (and even – in families which have now cows, or which sell all the milk they produce – of not drinking milk during childhood), do not properly develop physically. We may even be threatened in the future with the degeneration of our race.551

A radical reorganization of the economy was therefore needed immediately. Giertych was aware that Poland would not quickly become wealthy, but he also did not think this was essential. For him, improving living conditions did not mean luxuries, which only demoralized people. Like many other critics of capitalism – on both the right and the left – he thought that capitalism created “artificial needs”: the state was to ensure its citizens a life that was dignified, but also free of the demoralization caused by consumer excesses. In its “Principles of the National-Radical Programme” published in 1937, the far-right ONR “Falanga” wrote:

Any industry where the main source of profit is not the owner’s own work will be expropriated […]. All credit institutions will be in the hands of the state or public organizations, appointed by the various professional divisions of the Political Organization of the Nation.552

In most writings about the “national economy”, as in the programmes of the socialists, there were very few specifics. Jędrzej Giertych, however, began to stand out among Poland’s right-wing publicists in this regard:

If it is to base its economy on strong foundations, Poland must return to traditional, age-old economic principles. The principles of thrift, work, foresight, individual initiative ←187 | 188→and energy, the avoidance of unnecessary debt and needless extravagance, and finally, conscientiousness and integrity. We are not and we will not be a rich nation. But we can be […] a well-managed country of average means. What do we need to do in order to reach this objective? Here is a list of measures leading to this objective that will be adopted by the national government.

Point A, the best described, called for the “removal of the Jews”, who the author – and the movement in general – believed were parasites preying on the weak Polish body, and one of the main causes of the nation’s calamities (Giertych even meticulously calculated that there was one Jewish “parasite” for every 17 Poles).553 The rest of the plans for a national industrial and credit policy were, as in all such programmes, very vague. The state was to supply funds for a major investment effort, but it was not explicitly stated what exactly was to be built or how. Giertych condemned the government, complaining it “produces raspberry juice, slaughters calves, builds coffins, catches fish, sows grain, manufactures nails, weaves cloth and canvas, grinds flour, mines coal, salt and kerosene, processes sugar, provides the public with bus transport, builds homes, lets apartments, takes tourists by cable car up to mountain peaks, buys, sells […]”.554 According to his vision, all this would be handled by private companies – but under the strict supervision and direction of the “national government”. He firmly rejected “statism” as practiced by the Doboszyński government.555

In perhaps the most quoted right-wing vision of the Polish economy, that of Adam Doboszyński in The National Economy, these contradictions were even more pronounced. Doboszyński called for the breaking up of large estates as compensation – mainly for political reasons – because he envisioned a nation of small-scale, but secure private ownership. He also sought to “enfranchise the masses” and the “collectivization of big industry” (as distinguished from nationalization, although it is not clear exactly upon what this distinction, besides the subtle issue of a formal title deed, would be based).556 He wanted to ban the construction of new factories in industrial areas, and called for “uniform distribution of factories throughout the country; a worker would continue to live in his home village and commute to work (by bicycle, train, bus) […] This postulate was in no way utopian,” he asserted, as if he realized how outlandish it sounded.557

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At the heart of Doboszyński’s book – besides a vaguely outlined utopia supervised by the state in union with small producers and owners and worker affiliated in corporations – was the issue of the Jews.558 Liberalism had to be abandoned because, among other things, it was a Jewish invention (even if it brought an increase in wealth, which the author – unlike most of his contemporaries – did not rule out on principle):

We are aware that any restriction on economic freedom comes at the price of an overall lowering of the standard of living (a relative slowing of the rate at which prosperity increases), but we believe that acquiring wealth as quickly as possible is not a proper goal for the life of the nation, if as a result, its spiritual and structural development suffers. […] [E]xcessive economic freedom degenerates into the economic and political supremacy of an organized minority in the nation, or even, as in today’s Poland, of a payot-wearing “national minority.”559

The book is mainly an angry diatribe against the Jews, and in its most emotionally-charged chapter, it claims that the Jews are responsible for both communism and capitalism (“the product of the slow transformation of the Aryan economic system under the influence of Jewish customs”).560 According to Doboszyński, Jews’ materialism manifests itself when they are oppressed as a people; when they gain power, as in Russia after the revolution, a collectivist voice and the messianic aspect of their dual nature come to the fore.

Similar statements appear repeatedly. What is essential here is the general anti-market trend. Economic nationalism and planning dominated economy thought – even in concepts that originated outside the left, where the market and private property still had a place. During the interwar period, the most well-known advocate of these views was the Romanian Mihail Manoilescu, an engineer by training, an economist by predilection, and a politician by ambition. Manoilescu propounded a theory of “Unequal Exchange” (one of the forerunners of dependence theory) between the countries of a rich centre and poor periphery nations. He believed the exchange of agricultural products for industrial goods was dictated by the rich countries, who determined the terms of trade. Manoilescu saw the only way out of this trap in a state focused on accumulation and industrialization, the purpose of which was to eliminate any dependency on imports. This process, of course, was to be planned and controlled by the state. ←189 | 190→“An agricultural country”, he wrote: “cannot raise slowly and uniformly the income of all producers.… The real work of progress begins in the centers, or nuclei … and such nuclei can only be provided by industries, which require superior productivity.”561 Such an undertaking requires centralization and coordination: in a typically modernist manner, Manoilescu believed a modern society resulted from the careful planning work of an engineer, and he considered liberal democracy, with its quarrels and divisions, to be a pernicious anachronism. His most important book, The Theory of Protectionism and International Exchanges, the best known of the era’s many manifestos on economic nationalism, was published in 1929, at the outset of the Great Depression, which in the eyes of many Europeans had utterly compromised the ideals of liberalism. The book was translated into English, French, Italian, Portuguese and German, and very read widely in Latin America, especially in Brazil; in Poland it was invoked by the publicists associated with Leviathan, a lobby group which represented the interests of big industry.562 The rest of his prescription – prohibitive tariffs to promote the development of Romanian industry and its “Romanization”, the use of the “surplus population” from the overpopulated countryside in the construction of industry, an obsession with “scientific” planning – was very typical of the era, and reappeared in different forms, as we have seen, in various parts of the world.563

A key feature of the book was the belief, shared by those on both the left and the right, and in the pro-government camp, that only the state could solve the Second Republic’s economic problems – both those resulting from the Great Depression, as well as those resulting from centuries of backwardness. Laissez-faire ←190 | 191→had not worked, and belonged to the past: the future was in coordination and planning.

What was important in all of these programmes was not only how much they shared in common (which was more important than their differences on particulars), but also what they left unsaid. In all of them, we hear a clear echo of the modernist fascination with scale and methods for organizing industrial production. This echo was universal, heard equally on the left and right, and gave rise to remarkably similar (if vague) practical prescriptions. At the end of the 1930s, this primarily meant abandoning deflationary policies, extending lines of credit and initiating a large-scale investment programme – by necessity to be carried out by the state, because no one else could do it.

These ideas were not unknown to the ruling camp in Poland, but it was faced with a much more challenging task than just writing a programme – it also had to implement its ideas. These, in turn, had originated within Stefan Starzyński’s “First Economic Brigade” before the Great Depression (this informal group began operating in 1928, when its most important programmatic work, On the Economic Front, was published. The ideas contained in the book, however, had originated earlier). For Starzyński, the economy it was one front in the “struggle to empower the State”, with “State” obviously being written with a capital letter. In another place, he adds: “Even the most rational economic policy by the government will not achieve much if economic life itself does not keep up with the times and is not guided by planning and rationalization in its functioning.”564

From Starzynski’s calls for “rationalization” and making economic policy “more scientific” – there was still no talk of a major investment programme in his plan – the road to statism was a short one. In 1928, he proposed protectionist duties as a means of supporting industry, active tax and credit policies to support selected branches of the economy, and the building of new infrastructure, especially a seaport.565

Throughout the 1930s, the Polish State systematically expanded its role in the economy, first by taking control of companies threatened with collapse, and later by establishing it own, as well. By the end of the interwar period, state-owned ←191 | 192→enterprises generated more than 25 percent of industrial production, and a number of key sectors of the economy were completely under government control.566

The paradox of this situation lies in the fact that the State was not an effective manager, knowledge of which may have been the source of ritualistic condemnations of “statism” (though these did little to dissuade anyone from thinking that the state should solve Poland’s economic problems). Critics of “statism” remained on the sidelines: they were active and visible, but they were ignored. In 1935, Tadeusz Bernadzikiewicz, an economist and journalist associated with the Leviathan lobby group, carried out a devastating critique of the management style of state-owned enterprises, which he estimated comprised as much as 1/4 of the nation’s social wealth. As a manager, the state was incompetent, inefficient and prone to handing out political sinecures. No one knew the exact number of enterprises that were state owned or in which the state had a stake: they formed an inscrutable tangle of interrelated, often semi-private companies which the state guaranteed a profit, very often at the expense of its citizens, and which the bureaucratic and political elite used to enrich themselves. “We often learned of the existence of such companies by chance”, wrote Bernadzikiewicz, recalling how it once came to light, quite by chance, that the state owned 31 printing houses. The State Armaments Works produced bicycles, padlocks, typewriters, office furniture, and machines for making cigarettes; the State Aviation Works – bicycle rims and fenders.567 All of this production was subsidized by the state (i.e., the citizens) in one way or another. Officials were ordered to buy only telephones produced by state-owned enterprises. Taxes were lowered for state-owned mines (they paid 45 cents per tonne of coal, while private mines paid 1 zloty). In 1931, the National Engineering Works were given a waiver on customs duties on Fiat automobile parts to help them build a car assembly plant, and later a production plant. The factory was never built, but the company profited on the import of parts to Poland duty-free (which was facilitated by the introduction in 1932 of prohibitive tariffs on the import of auto parts, which made the lives of other importers more difficult).568 As a result of this policy, the automotive industry in Poland not only came to a standstill, but even declined: from 1931 to 1934, the number of automobiles registered in Poland fell by 29 percent, and only one person in 1,245 owned a car, while in much poorer Albania the figure was 1 in 1,200. ←192 | 193→At the same time, in Germany, which was also in the midst of a deep economic crisis, the number of registered vehicles tripled during this period.569

Following the death of Pilsudski, the government responded to Starzyński’s proposals with the implementation of a state investment programme. To legitimize its rule the Pilsudski camp chose to demonstrate its efficiency and experience in ensuring national security and economic strength – understood primarily in military terms.570 They rejected democracy as ineffective and weak, and incapable of modernizing the country.571 Pilsudski supported the economy’s autonomy and independence from ideological interference; however, he also believed that objective economic mechanisms operated within a particular historical, geographical, natural and social context, and that the economy should serve non-economic objectives – of which the most important was ensuring the security and stability of the state.572

The heart of this grand planned investment programme was to be the Central Industrial District (Pol. Centralny Okręg Przemysłowy, abbrev. COP), which would be focused on military projects. According to the assumptions presented by Deputy Prime Minister Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski in June 1936, over the course of a four-year plan – running from July 1936 to June 1940 – the state planned to spend the astronomical sum (given Poland’s capabilities) of 1.65–1.80 billion zlotys, most of which would be spent on infrastructure, though funds would also targeted to industrial investment.573

There was a burning necessity for action. In 1935, Kwiatkowski had presented the Sejm with a bleak picture of the Polish economy in crisis:

The structure of our economy is extremely unfavourable and resistant to stimulus. Poland’s countryside in the twentieth century has largely returned to a natural economy. Rather than develop its capacity as a natural and seemingly inexhaustible market, rural ←193 | 194→areas have become in every respect merely a modest and crowded addition to the urban market […]. Many of the needs of those living in the countryside are being met in a peculiar and extremely primitive manner: matches are being split into parts, and candlewood used for light; foot and wagon transport, even over significant distances, have once again – after a break since the late nineteenth century regained – regained their importance.574

It quickly became clear that private capital, which the government had initially counted on (state investments were focused primarily on infrastructure), was not being invested in the building of factories – and that the state would have to get involved here as well.575 Salvation would not come from outside in the form of loans and capital: Poland had to cope with the crisis alone, and do so quickly.576

The effectiveness of these investments will never be assessed because the construction of the Central Industrial Region was interrupted by the war. Recent research indicates, however, that we have good reason to believe their effect would have been modest. For one, the programme created a mere 110,000 new jobs.577 Moreover, while GDP per capita in the late 1930s averaged an impressive annual growth rate of 11 percent, the profitability of public investments remained low, and were being pursued at the cost of an already rising debt and increasing economic instability. A modern historian can see striking similarities between state capitalism at the end of the Second Polish Republic and the economic policies of the Polish People’s Republic.578 On the other hand, between 1935 and 1938, industrial production in Poland increased by 30 percent, which was one of the best results in the world.579 Even the propaganda of the interwar period sounded familiar to that after the war: for example, it was announced that the first four-year ←194 | 195→plan had been realized ahead of schedule in 1939; the next plan was designed to cover 15 years.

Kwiatkowski’s economic ideas typified those of the pro-modernization elite in peripheral countries. He believed that in the modern world – of which, in his opinion, Poland should be a part – the only countries that truly mattered were those with a modern industrial sector (projects like the construction of the port in Gdynia were matters of “national ambition”).580 Industry was also extremely important in that it determined a state’s military potential. A second problem was the need to provide jobs for the country’s growing population: hidden unemployment in the countryside was accompanied by visible unemployment in cities. The expansion of industry would create jobs for the unemployed, and was therefore as much an aspect of social policy as an economic venture.581

The common threads linking prewar and postwar ideas on how to move out of backwardness are more visible when we matter through the lens of the military programmes adopted by Poland’s political parties, and how they foresaw the nation’s future. The young economists associated with the journal National Economy (Pol. Gospodarka Narodowa), headed by Czesław Bobrowski, were already heralding the coming of a new era:

We unanimously rejected the basic assumptions of the pre-May and post-May economic policies, which are based on the illusion that Poland’s development can be grounded in the inflow of foreign capital, for which we should provide greenhouse conditions by tolerating cartel pricing policies, erecting customs barriers, etc., etc. Against this background, three basic thematic trends arose in the club’s writings and discussions: the need to fight against deflationary policies; recommendations for bolder actions to stimulate economic activity; and a call for changes in industrial policy […].582

4.Wartime programmes

The war, everyone realized, both in Poland and abroad, marked a radical break with the past. It was clear that after this calamity there could be no return to the poverty and injustice of prewar Poland. Virtually all political programmes that were being put together at that time, called for radical social and economic reforms. The programme of the Polish Socialist Party – Freedom, Equality, Independence ←195 | 196→(Pol. Polska Partia Socjalistyczna – Wolność, Równość, Niepodległość, abbrev. PPS-WRN), written in 1941, stated:

The First Government of Independent Poland, backed by the decisive will of the people, upon its formation will issue a decree establishing the framework of both the political and socio-economic structure of the new Republic. In particular, these decrees call for:

a) agrarian reform through the expropriation of large estates and the creation from them of a land reserve to be parcelled out […];

b) expropriation of industrial enterprises and their transfer to the state, local governments and established cooperatives for collectivization, as well as the creation of a collectivized management structure for them;

c) reform of the tax system, aimed at the just allocation of the tax burden on all levels of society.

It also called for a “special tribunal” to put on trial sanation officials, who were said to share responsibility for the government’s oppression and impoverishment of the “masses”.583 Socialists associated with the Polish Socialist Party – Freedom, Equality, Independence (PPS-WRN) predicted the postwar triumph of the socialist system, and its ideals of humanism, freedom and equality. A world full of “boors and criminals” was to be replaced by a world of freedom, peace and prosperity.584 The idealism of this vision is striking in retrospect.585 PPS-WRN put forward the idea of a postwar federation of Central European states, based on socialist principles, and eventually creating from them a federal state modelled on the U.S.586

The political programmes of various parties grew more radical as the war progressed, the occupation grew more brutal and destructive, and Soviet troops drew nearer to Poland. Nearly all the parties’ plans called for “collectivization of the economy”, land reform, planning, and the elimination of unemployment. Differences between the programmes of parties on the left and right remained significant (e.g., on the issue of compensation for nationalization, the fate of foreign-owned property, the minimum size of the companies that would be nationalized and of the farms that would be subject to land reform, and the form ←196 | 197→of the institutions that would manage the economy) but nobody even considered a return to laissez-faire. This idea seemed as absurd to the authors of these programmes as the idea of a return to central planning would have seemed in 1990. Far-reaching agreement among the political parties can be seen, for example, in the programmes for land reform. According to the Council of National Unity – the quasi-parliamentary political body representing the underground state – postwar Poland would parcel out agricultural property and increase the size of small family farms. All private property in excess of 50 hectares would be subject to immediate parcelling-out; plans called for the creation from them of farms 8–15 ha in size depending on the quality of the soil, the farm’s location and the type of crop grown. The construction of rural roads, electrification and the expansion of cooperatives and education were announced.587 This programme was accepted by the Peasant Party “Ruch”, PPS-WRN, and the Labour Party. It was rejected only by the National Party, which was not opposed to the idea of reform, but had concerns about its planned pace and the lack of compensation for the owners of expropriated property.588

Private property was to be limited in nature, both in its scale and scope. For example, the Democratic Party – the party of the intelligentsia – called in its programme from 1943 for leaving small-scale production in private hands, but also wrote:

Maintaining the principle of private property as a stimulus for initiative and a factor contributing to the welfare of the people and the country, it should be abandoned when it conflicts with the sense of social justice. […] Land reform must be carried out in such a manner that the broad masses of peasants are granted a path to ownership without compensation […] Privately owned farmland will be allowed only in the form of independent family farms. […] The exchange of goods in the countryside in the future system will be based primarily on cooperatives. […] Remaining private enterprises will be subject to social and state control, representing producers and employees, who will have a voice in production decisions and receive a share of profits.

Income revenues should be reinvested and used to create new sources of production and employment, or otherwise be used for the public good.589

←197 | 198→

Disputes of course, existed – over the forms of state control over the economy, the terms of agricultural reform and the forms of planning to be used. There were no doubts, however, in terms of the direction of change, even in the London government. In 1942, Stanisław Grabski, head of the National Council of Poland in London, noted:

Various parties among us have put forward a programme for the nationalization of heavy or key industries. This demand is being made not only by the Socialists. It has been incorporated into the ideological declaration of the National Radical Camp immediately after its split from the National Party and Camp for a Great Poland.590

Even the rightist National Party, which strongly defended private property, and warned that the state, by imposing various levies and restrictions on property, could easily lead it – without formally abandoning it – to become a “fiction”, wrote in the 1944:

The meaning of the concept of private property is undergoing a fundamental change. An individualistic concept of the inalienable rights of the individual in relation to ownership is giving way to a new formulation, accenting first and foremost the social function of private property. Private property will find here its justification and far-reaching legal protection if ownership rights are established in accordance with the needs of the national economy. […] Faith in the economic automatism that underlies economic liberalism now belongs to the past. Experience has taught us that, beyond a doubt, the free play of economic forces does not lead automatically to harmonization of the economy, neither in terms of its particular parts or as a whole, nor to the proper coordination of economic goals with the overall objectives of national life.591

The National Party did not unequivocally reject “socialism”.592 What it wanted was “national democracy”, understood by its activists as “calling on the broad masses of the nation to work for the good of the whole […] not through the governments of small cliques or irresponsible Fuehrers, but through the collective efforts of society as a whole, the adoption of a great, common national idea, a joint sense of unity and an awareness of hierarchy, and finally, by defining ←198 | 199→personalism in a Catholic spirit.”593 In addition, the party wanted a “universalization of property”, but also a “just division of national income” and strict state control over the economy under a national plan. The “universalization of property” was thus in practice to accompany restrictions on owners’ rights.594

Both the left and right drew up plans for far-reaching state control of the economy, planning, and subordinating private property to collective – social or national – interests (or in some cases simply abolishing it). Historian Marci Shore writes:

Against this gradualist ethos and patience with human imperfection, liberalism’s offspring rebelled; both nationalism and communism were utopian variations on liberalism. What made them utopian was not only a more fervent optimism, but also an aspiration toward totalism.595

Anti-liberal programmes on the left and right had more in common than the supporters of either side were willing to admit. But the differences between them should not be glossed over – the socialists spoke about emancipation, freedom and humanism; the right, about the national interest – but their visions of the future economic system combined anti-liberalism and collectivism (to which the Socialists added the demand for full political and cultural freedom, which prewar capitalism had not provided to the masses).596 It was possible – like the socialists or Peasant Party – to assign a major role to local governments in Poland’s future political system, but that did not necessarily indicate support for a free market.597 “Both the Socialists and National Democrats”, wrote Krystyna Rogaczewska, “believed it was possible to create the economic sphere without regard for the laws of ←199 | 200→economics.”598 Marxists could talk about the objective laws of history, and nationalists about the cyclical nature of history – but this nevertheless united them.599

Against the background of the wartime programmes of other political parties, the declarations of the Communists in no way stood out for their radicalism. Nationalization of large parts of the economy was written into the Manifesto of the Polish Committee of National Liberation (Pol. Polskiego Komitetu Wyzwolenia Narodowego, abbrev. PKWN) and other political declarations by the communists who were preparing to assume power in accordance with Stalin’s will, could be seen as almost moderate: their project included “big industry”, i.e., steel mills, mines, the armaments and machinery industries, banks and transport.600 There was to be planning, but also worker control of enterprises.601 The programme’s moderation was a conscious political choice, and shows the hand of Stalin, who at this stage believed that radicalism was harmful to his political plans.602

On the evening of 17 May 1944, two months before the announcement of the manifesto, Oskar Lange, then already well-known as an economist with leftist but non-Communist views, met in Moscow with Stalin and Molotov. Lange later described the course of their conversation:

I noted that the views of soldiers and officers [of the Polish Army in the Soviet Union] were more radical than the views of members of the Union of Polish Patriots. While the vast majority of soldiers expressed support for the nationalization of big industry and banks, the Union of Polish Patriots was reluctant to take a position. Most of all, the Polish Communists were now in the right wing of the Union of Polish Patriots (compared with the socialists and Peasant Party), because they opposed the nationalization of big industry in the belief that it would undermine national unity. Stalin smiled and said: “That’s because I told them off”. He added that he was very glad to hear that there were clear demands for the nationalization of big industry, which was, in his opinion, very beneficial.

Lange noted that Stalin underestimated the radicalism of Poles – because the Polish Army in the USSR consisted “mainly of military settlers and wealthier peasants” and were thus not representative. The poor and “landless proletariat” would be given a voice after the liberation. Stalin replied that in his opinion the ←200 | 201→German occupation had ended class divisions and that reactions from various social strata would be rather uniform.603

Stalin was largely correct: the war had indeed radically flattened Poland’s social structure, pauperizing or eliminating a large part of the prewar elite. In the east, they were destroyed by the Soviet Union; in the West, by Germany, which had also assumed control of a large part of industry. The shift in society to the left was confirmed by reports being sent from Poland to London.604 This made carrying out a radical programme of social reform much easier.

Such changes were also anticipated in the documents and studies being produced by those associated with the Polish government in London. At the end of 1939, the government-in-exile announced that the new Poland would embody the principle of “social justice”, giving peasants the right to land, and workers – to the means to work.605 Work by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs on a vision for Poland’s future political system had been gaining momentum since the autumn of 1941, and Gen. Sikorski took a personal interest in its progress. Ready in its final form in 1942, the document assumed the necessity of introducing economic planning, wide-ranging state intervention, and nationalization of key and leading industrial enterprises. Private property was to be preserved in the form of small businesses and family farms created as a result of wide-scale reforms.606 The Council of National Unity issued a key statement in March 1944 – “What the Polish Nation is Fighting For”; in addition to calling for democracy, decentralization and the “rule of law”, it heralded major changes in the economy: “the universalisation of ownership”, “raising national income” (which was to be the task of the state), full employment, a planned economy and the “Poland’s rising to the level of the countries of Western Europe in economic terms through targeted public and private investment.”607

←201 | 202→

The radicalism of these proposals was in part dictated by the state of affairs (i.e., “depriving the Soviets of initiative in terms of social reform in Poland and immediately proposing legal initiatives that would inspire confidence among the rural and urban masses in [the Council’s] leadership abilities”, cabled Gen. Bór-Komorowski to Kazimierz Sosnkowski in July 1944).608 An extensive memorandum several dozen pages in length, written in London in 1944, outlined plans for the government’s first decisions after returning to Poland. It provided for nationalization of the main instruments of industry and explicitly rejected prewar corporatist ideas, calling instead for direct state intervention:

Any attempt to establish economic organizations designed to work on behalf of the state or simply assume its role in terms of economic policy, has been politically and socially discredited, having failed to demonstrate the organizational values their creators expected from them.609

The document warned of the threat of “centralization” and “the formation of a manager caste”, and anticipated a mixed form for management of the economy, involving private entities, the state and local government – “big industry” and heavy industry would remain the direct responsibility of the state. Smaller enterprises would be controlled through resource and credit policies that would be national in scope.

The whole of Europe was veering to the left, as well.610 In France, in January 1946, a Plan Commission (Fr. Commissariat général du Plan) was established, and a national economic plan drawn up that envisioned major investments being made in heavy industry and infrastructure, which would be coordinated and in part carried out by the state.611 France nationalized its mining, gas and power industries, along with some major banks, insurance companies, and Renault’s commercial fleet and factories.612 The plan was originally intended to guide the country’s reconstruction.613 It was later adapted to include the assistance provided by the United States under the Marshall Plan (announced in 1947), which the countries of Eastern Europe rejected under pressure from Moscow: In total, U.S. ←202 | 203→aid granted to Western Europe totalled 24.8 billion dollars, most of which was spent on the reconstruction of infrastructure and investment in key industries.614

Historians disagree on the extent to which postwar growth in Western Europe resulted from reconstruction, the flourishing international trade and the expansion of the labour force – and how much it resulted from structural modernization.615 In the early 1950s, the western world began two decades of the fastest economic growth in its history, along with the expansion of the welfare state.

Poland’s course was a foregone conclusion, although it had not been chosen through a democratic process. That does not mean, however, that many people longed for the unemployment and hunger of the prewar era. On 6 February 1946, the eminent economic historian Witold Kula, one of the most astute analysts of Polish backwardness, gave a habilitation lecture at the University of Łódź entitled “Social Privilege and Economic Progress” (Kula’s economic views were rooted in the experience of the Great Depression). In it he said:

History has never before witnessed a culture that deliberately choose to plan and finance investments to allow it to keep pace with or even surpass population growth, thereby raising the general standard of living, but which, at the same time, would not seek to justify any new form of social privilege.

Today’s world is the first to undertake such a task.

The future will show how well this task was fulfilled.

But unlike facing the worries of everyday life, in order to meet the challenges of a task that nobody has ever tried to accomplish – we need to remain aware that this is precisely where the ambitious, heroic beauty of our era lies.616

Such a task required a rational, comprehensive multi-year plan and the mobilization of society.

5.The road to Stalinism

By November 1945, the Central Planning Office had already been set up, staffed by a group of economists led by Czesław Bobrowski, who had been associated ←203 | 204→with the prewar non-communist Left. At first, planned management covered coal mining, transportation and food supplies. The country lay in ruins, and masses of people had been transferred from one place to another. But already in 1946, the first National Investment Plan was launched; initially it was very simple, assuming only financial limits on investment.617

Bobrowski was a staunch opponent of the Stalinist economic model: he believed that three sectors – private, cooperative and state – should co-exist in Poland, with the latter including major enterprises and banks, and acting as the engine of the economy. The Central Planning Office prepared an edition of Oskar Lange’s classic work on market socialism, On the Economic Theory of Socialism (1936). Socialist Review also printed his wartime essay, in which he warned against “a concentration of economic power, dangerous for democracy, in the hands of the state bureaucracy.”618 He also wrote about the need to maintain multiple forms of economic and social control over the government.

The rebuilding plan was a success, and was probably the only one in the history of communist Poland which was not only met, but exceeded. Gross national income per capita rose from 506 zlotys in 1938 to 860 zlotys in 1949, mainly due to the annexation of the more industrialized western lands and the decline in population (from 36 to 26 million). Real wages, especially white-collar workers, however, remained significantly lower than before the war.

The Central Planning Office soon – in February 1948 – fell victim to purges. This was an element of the communists’ plans for switching the country’s economy onto Stalinist tracks. The authorities quickly began systematically discriminating against private businesses – those which had survived the postwar wave of nationalization, which were often carried out in an arbitrary and chaotic manner, and in violation of relevant legal provisions.619 In the archives of the Economic Department of the Polish Workers’ Party (Polska Partia Robotnicza, abbrev. PPR), a few reports written “in the field” in 1945–1946 have survived: envoys from provincial towns reported to headquarters on the number, condition and equipment of industrial plants, indicating which should be nationalized and which could be left in the hands of their owners.

←204 | 205→

1 May 1947, Hilary Minc, speaking in Katowice, said: “We have won the battle over production, we will now try to win the battle over trade.”620 He had mentioned this latter battle earlier in 1945, when he accused “speculators” and trade cooperatives of creating market troubles.621 His aim, at least officially, was to put a halt to rising prices and fill stores with goods. It was easier for the government to blame the “excessive purchasing power” of some groups of the population, in particular, peasants and urban dwellers who had enriched themselves on the wartime chaos and postwar looting, than blame its own economic policies. In June of 1947, a law was passed “On combating high prices and excessive profits”, and an extensive inspection apparatus quickly set up: these included various pricing commissions and “social commissions for inspecting prices”. Most of those who sat on these bodies were representatives of the authorities, including local delegations of the Special Commission to Combat Fraud and Economic Sabotage. Established in 1945, this institution was free of judicial review, and could sentence those accused of misconduct to as much as two years in a forcedlabour camp (in 1945–1954 more than 90,000 people were thus sentenced).622 The price control commissions possessed a rich arsenal of repressive measures – they could seize a business’ assets or shut it down when they believed the law was being broken. Overall, the Commission carried out 359,000 inspections, wrote up 69,000 protocols and imposed 800 million zlotys in criminal fines – sending 788 people to forced-labour camps.623

In July 1947, the first lists of maximum prices were announced; these imposed such low profit margins on private trade that they often did not even cover transport costs. This was a deliberate effort to ruin private enterprises. This culminated in the closure of companies without a business license. Applying for a license and paying the relevant fee – from 2 to 24 percent of trading volume! – was payable by November 1947: of the 20,000 companies that did not submit applications by this deadline, 15,000 simply closed down voluntarily. The local governmental and tax authorities were actively involved in this campaign, raising rental fees for premises and imposing arbitrary surtaxes.

All this destruction and the accompanying draining of money from the market –plans called for raising 4 billion zlotys from merchants alone – led to a drop ←205 | 206→in inflation from 28 percent in 1947 to 3.2 percent in 1948.624 The costs of this policy were passed onto citizens, who afterward were left with no choice but purchase goods from state-run enterprises.

By destroying the remnants of private enterprise, the government simultaneously achieved several objectives: it increased its control over the economy, preparing it for rapid industrialization on the Soviet model (which required curbing consumption); it increased its political power, weakening those groups that were not dependent on the state’s material base; finally, it eliminated the remnants of the capitalist class system. Its economic, political and ideological goals were fully synchronized. The evident inefficiency of the state economy – visible on a microscale to the naked eye – did not interfere with the plans for massive structural and social transformation envisaged by the authorities. The new, six-year plan assumed growth in national income of 70–80 percent, and a rise in industrial production of 85–90 percent. These indicators were then arbitrarily raised, and in the final version, national income was to increase by 112 percent, and industrial production by 158 percent.625

Minc’s plan differed from Bobrowski’s plan significantly, not only in terms of its focus on investment, but also in how the economy was to be managed. The first investment plan already called for a command economy – the tasks written into the plan read like a set of instructions.626 A typical centralized economy was thus in the making from the outset.627 Only after 1949 was a rigid, centralized system for managing the economy introduced: according to its provisions, “enterprises were created to perform tasks arising from national economic plans” and “economic calculations” were just one of many (and not the most important) criteria for assessing their usefulness.628 There was full overlap in terms of personnel between the state apparatus, political parties and the economy: corporate executives and the managers of various bodies sat in different party bodies, and key decisions on the economy were taken at the political level.629 This was fundamentally different from how planning was implemented in the West, where ←206 | 207→objectives were stipulated rather than production volume; moreover, targets were arbitrarily adopted by planners, with rigid divisions into different areas of the economy and types of goods.630

This departure from the market had far-reaching consequences. Costs, quality and the level of technological advancement in products ceased to be relevant to companies. Fulfilment of the plan was not motivated by profit (or fear of bankrupcty), but a system of premiums, commands and penalties. As a result, fully rational enterprises focused on meeting those targets in the plan that brought them the greatest benefits, that is, on quantitative production results over quality and innovation. This was not accidental, as the main aim of planners for a long time was to increase production in key industries.

In response, planners tried to incorporate as many details as possible into their plans: e.g., in companies supervised by the Ministry of Light Industry, even 100 percent of production was precisely written into the plan, while in others the share exceeded 90 percent. Centralized control and harsh penalties for failure to comply with the plan led to growth in the bureaucracy. Since enterprises themselves tinkered with the plans, evermore rigorous regulations were introduced, and more details demanded. Enterprises were organized in a hierarchical pyramid. While in the 1940s investments were defined by value, rather than production volume, and banks had a say in the investment process, by the 1950s everything had become rigid and formalized.631

This process occurred in all countries in Central Europe under Soviet domination. In just the first half of 1951, each coal mine in Hungary received 1025 government regulations and circulars. Gathering such a volume of data exceeded the capabilities of most enterprises – and only a fifth of the data collected was actually used in the planning process.632

In the Archives of New Records in Warsaw, hundreds of folders filled with giant sheets full of numbers, intended to regulate production in the socialist economy, have survived, although usually lack descriptions and are now completely incomprehensible.

At the same time, however, the authorities retained the right to manual control: Hilary Minc reportedly never parted with a notebook in which he maintained ←207 | 208→a running list of changes in production targets.633 He was meticulous, organized and had an excellent memory: he was perfectly suited to run a Stalinist economy.634 His announcement of a transition towards the Soviet model in a speech delivered at the meeting of the Central Committee of the Polish Workers’ Party in April 1947 is a classic call for state control: the word “State” occurs five times just in the definition of socialist industry, and is mentioned 30 times throughout the speech. “Marxism has always understood collectivization of the means of production as their transfer to public ownership,” he said.635

Making the economy similar to that of the Soviet Union was also the result of pressures coming from Moscow. A document from April 1948 has been preserved, in which Russian envoys wrote to Stalin reprovingly about his incorrect – in their opinion – economic policy, accusing the leaders of the PPR of “nationalist deviation” and “lagging behind in both theory and practice on the peasant question.” “Comrade Stalin in 1929 warned that the theory of the spontaneous development of socialist construction is an anti-Marxist theory,” Minc reminded, mentioning the name of Gomułka.636

While the exact mechanisms of dependence are not yet known, it is clear that the Soviet Union benefitted economically from its satellites – which it began subsidizing on a large scale only during the times of Khrushchev and Brezhnev. In 1945 alone, Soviet troops transported out of Poland machinery and rolling stock worth at that time 500 million dollars (for comparison, the USSR loaned Poland that year 28.8 million dollars for food purchases.). In the Stalinist period, the main mechanism for extracting money from the Polish People’s Republic was an agreement concluded with the USSR in August 1945. In it, Poland committed itself to selling coal at special, low prices, far below world prices (1.22 dollars per ←208 | 209→tonne). Prior to 1956, Poland sold more than 54 million tons of coal under this agreement, losing a whopping sum of 630 million dollars.637

Two sectors of the economy did not surrender easily to central planning – foreign trade (because the products of a socialist economy had to compete on unpredictable capitalist markets) and agriculture, because the peasants were stubborn, conservative and self-seeking, and it was therefore difficult to persuade them to participate voluntarily in the great work of building socialist industry. In foreign trade, the state tried to cope by assuming a monopoly on trade. Moreover, at the height of Stalinism, Poland was, in practice, a closed country; almost nobody could leave the country for private purposes.638

Like in the USSR, control over food production was both a political and economic challenge: without it there was no possibility of either full control, nor of rapid industrialization. In the Communist Party itself, there were disagreements on the appropriate pace and methods for “liquidating the remains of capitalism” in agriculture, though these were quickly resolved. Władysław Gomułka, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Recovered Territories, was an opponent of collectivization, as he had seen it carried out in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and considered it a moral and economic failure. Indeed, this was one of the reasons for his removal from power in 1948. During the meeting of the Politburo when he was denounced for having deviated from the party line, he defended himself saying:

I believed that the transition from a system of small peasant farms to a socialist economic system should be voluntary in nature and based on the free choice of working peasants. It is therefore to be a long-term process. The forward pace of this process is dependent on proving to the peasant masses the superiority and greater profitability of collective over individual farming. I believe a major role can be played by state-owned farms, provided they are well organized and raised to a satisfactory level.639

Gomułka in his stubbornness would not budge, but he was doomed to fail because Stalin insisted on haste (The Cominform had recommended collectivization to communist parties in June 1948). In Poland, shortly after the removal of Gomułka, Minc provided a motto for action in a speech delivered on 3 September 1948 at the plenum of the Central Committee of the Polish Workers’ Party. The peasant-capitalist, the kulak employing and exploiting the poor, was ←209 | 210→the obvious enemy: he could be overcome only by a radical change in the structure of agriculture. Minc estimated that by 1949 cooperatives made up 1 percent of the total value of farms. He distinguished three types of cooperatives; in the most collective of these, revenue was to be divided according to the amount of work performed, and not the amount of land or means of production supplied. Collectivization was to bring, he optimistically assumed, an increase in food production of 35–45 percent during the six-year plan (1950–1955).640

The unspoken goal of collectivization was the same as in Stalin’s Soviet Union. Establishing food prices too low for it be profitable for peasants to increase production. Farmers defended themselves against the unprofitability of production and forced deliveries. They also fought against what they perceived as expropriation, an invasion from the cities and a threat to their traditional existence.641 Here is an account of one such action:

The tractors started into the field, and the people started in pursuit of the tractors. Women began to a cry out and make a commotion. They began holding up holy paintings and singing devotional songs. One of the women lay down in front of the tractor and hugged the earth, because this had all begun on her field. All the people, the whole village, everyone who could breathe, left their cottages – women, men, children, old men – and went into the field. They had with them the images of saints and sticks and shovels and pitchforks and other items. One woman struck a tractor, damaging it. That’s how it all started. Men stood on the sides, while the women pushed forward. Nobody left the fields, everyone guarded his field. This continued throughout the night; in the morning, a group of young party activists arrived from Rzeszów, followed by a cordon of troops and police. The party activists were supposed to reassure the people and explain things to them. The army and police were supposed to protect the activists and the equipment, because one tractor had already been damaged. At the sight of so many visitors, the people put out the alarm. The bell from the church tower began to ring vigorously. From all sides, people began to appear on the horizon. They were people from all the nearby villages coming to their aid. They walked in a phalanx through the fields towards the machines, holding holy paintings, reciting prayers and singing songs.642

The government sought to take control of the entire food production process, and this would only be possible through collectivization. In theory – and perhaps even believed at the highest levels of government – the peasants were supposed to agree to this voluntarily, and therefore, a system of incentives that was gradually expanded was developed. Cooperatives were given tax breaks, and priority in ←210 | 211→obtaining assistance with rebuilding and expansion, land reclamation and electrification, the setting up of youth clubs, and the delivery of supplies. In addition, they were offered special loans, exempted from mandatory quotas for supplying milk during their initial period of activity, their quotas for compulsory deliveries of grain were lowered, and children from cooperatives were guaranteed easier access to studies.643

Yet all of this did little to help, and at the “lower levels” of the bureaucracy many abuses occurred. Local officials exerted strong pressures on peasants, often simply forcing them to join cooperatives. For example, in the Żagań district in 1951 the local Party secretary issued a command to the district secretary in Witoszyn that “by this and that day a cooperative must be established”. A lowlevel apparatchik complained that “if it isn’t established, I’ll be the one who gets a sound thrashing. I’ll be the deviationist.”644 When the authorities condemned such abuses – first publicizing in 1951 some particularly extreme cases that had occurred in Gryfice, and then again in 1953 when a similar situation took place in the Lublin region – the local power apparatus felt wronged and confused: in the end, they were just doing what was expected of them.

Collectivization in Poland did not prove to be as much of a disaster as in the USSR, perhaps only because it was carried out using less brutal methods, and as a result, was never fully completed. The peasants were unshaken in their convictions. “Collective farms make a beggar out of a man”, heard one party activist who had been instructed to go into the fields and convince the people from his native village to join the cooperative. Propaganda also did not work: the films peasants most enjoyed watching were fairy tales and war stories, and on the radio, they only listened to music, news and the weather report.645 Any visible hesitation by the authorities on the issue of collectivizing was read by the peasants as a call to retreat: after the fraud in Gryfice was disclosed, 200 cooperatives in Poland were immediately dissolved.646

The communist authorities had reasons not to use a Stalinist model of coercion. The country had a significant excess of labour, and it was thus more convenient – for the moment – for peasants to remain in the countryside than to have masses of unemployed workers in the cities that industry was not yet able to absorb. Besides, the ruling elite, quite reasonably, did not trust the efficiency of its ←211 | 212→own administration – which discouraged them from making sudden moves.647 In 1956, when Gomułka’s return to power gave the signal to retreat, cooperatives quickly disappeared. Of the total number of 10,203 cooperatives registered at the end of September 1956, by the end of the year only 1528 remained.648

At the price of a loss of private property, low wages, market deficiencies and widespread impoverishment, the Polish People’s Republic’s ruling elite had obtained an impressive investment success. As Oskar Lange wrote in 1958 during a post-thaw debate on the reform of socialism, the Stalinist mobilization resembled a war economy. It assured a very high rate of accumulation with complete control of official wages, prices and production. While the traditional rate of accumulation in Central European countries – including Poland – did not exceed 6 percent, GDP in the first half of the 1950s reached 22–30 percent. Moreover, these investments could be focused on selected sectors of the economy.

Historians today are inclined to doubt that the rate of growth in GDP (according to official figures – 7 percent annually) was actually so high during the Stalinist period.649 Certainly, the armaments industry helped Poland both increase production and achieve the structural transformations they desired. Moreover, masses of people moved from villages to cities, thereby breaking free – at least in theory – from a timeless existence, which Marx had called “the idiocy of rural life”. During the six-year plan, employment in industry increased by 2.2 million people, most of whom had moved from the countryside to urban areas.650

6.Brus, Lange, Kalecki. “The bane of reform”

In 1955, reporters from the weekly Po Prostu [Eng. Frankly Speaking] travelled to Zambrów, a small town in which the state had built a large textile plant. What they saw there terrified them – and the story they wrote became one of the most well-known Polish texts of the thaw.

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We stand facing a red barracks building. Above the door is a sign reading “Home for Young Workers”. In spite of the warm weather, we feel a chill. A dirty set of wide stone stairs leads upward. […] The beds are covered with gray blankets, the floors are unwashed, and in the large undraped windows are dust-covered cotton child-sized aprons. They live here 10 or more to a room, without any chairs or tables. They aren’t needed here. Besides, they would only get in the way. The girls sit idly huddled on their beds or on the window sills. There is a puddle in the hallway. Someone spilled water from a bowl. She was afraid to wash herself in the bathroom. It is a military-style bathroom, with a dozen or so faucets lined up in a row, beneath them runs a trough. […] It is cold and dark. […] Cold water won’t wash away the dirt, it won’t keep you clean.651

In Zambrów success was achieved: the plant realized its plan, but at the cost of enormous sacrifice and suffering – which to the reporters often seemed unjustified, irrational and unnecessary.

The year 1956 brought the collapse of the Stalinist model of accelerated industrialization. The workers’ revolt in Poznań, and then the revolt in Hungary showed the limits of people’s endurance. There are good reasons to believe that the growth rate imposed by the six-year plan was unsustainable – e.g., in Hungary the level of waste (failed investments, unsold inventory, idle machinery) reached as high as 20 percent of GDP.652 There is no reason to assume that the economy of the Polish People’s Republic was managed any more efficiently.

During the October plenum, Hilary Minc was forced to admit his errors. His downfall was sealed. He confessed that the six-year plan had assumed an “unrealistic rate of growth in agriculture” and an “unsatisfactory rate of technical progress”, and in addition, had been burdened with massive defence spending during the Korean War (1950–1953), when a “semi-war economy” had been introduced. Minc also admitted that Poles were living in poverty:

It seems to me that the fundamental mistake of the six-year plan, both in its design and its execution, was the lack of harmonization between the targets for improving the material and cultural conditions of the population and the targets for the long-term development of productive forces and the reduction of disparities in relation to the most advanced countries.653

All the defects listed by Minc – difficulties in completing investments, the heavy burden of military expenditures, the primacy of heavy industry over ←213 | 214→consumption – would prove to be structural defects in the system, and not just ailments affecting his version of a Stalinist economy.

In the face of social protests and economic collapse, in 1956 the ruling elite had to listen to the economists – or at least pretend to do so. Thus far, their impact on policy had been limited: a huge gap divided them and the party technocrats. “Those who are called upon as experts on economic matters were never informed about what was really as stake, and no one asked them to express their views on this issue,” Wlodzimierz Brus said years later, recalling the Stalinist era. However, as one of the party’s leading economists at that time, he may have somewhat underplayed his own role, which was something he was not proud of.

Brus gave the government what it needed from him at the time, but he did not forget about the need to treat matters objectively. After 1956, he became increasingly critical of the government’s economic policies, evolving towards opposition to the system (after having been one of Poland’s leading Stalinists, in 1948 he helped break up the Central Planning Office, criticising it harshly for publishing a book on planning that strayed too far from Stalinist economics, and which he said was an example of “the fruitless nature of a subjectivist theory of economics” and “an expression of bourgeois ideas”).654

Established during the leadership crisis in 1956, the Economic Council – whose chair was Lange, and vice-chair, Czesław Bobrowski, had been sidelined during the Stalinist era – proved to be powerless body. A report published in June 1957 recommended, among other things, balancing supply and demand through price increases and a slowdown in wage increases, reducing the influx of people from rural to urban areas, reducing the amount of capital and energy consumed by new investments, “shortening the investment front”, and using part of the defence industry to produce market goods.655 It aimed to reduce the “command-nature” of the economy and democratize the governance of business enterprises. Workers’ councils were to be a counterweight to the power of the bureaucracy; these were to be, in conjunction with the central plan – at least in the opinion of one of the important members of the Economic Council, Michał Kalecki – a key element of socialism with a human face.656 All of these reforms, however, threatened the power of the power apparatus and undermined the government’s control over the economy.

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In practice, therefore, the communist authorities adopted only a portion of these recommendations – cancelling a number of new investments and raising wages (which increased in real terms by more than ten percent in 1956 and by almost as much the following year). Part of the government’s investment funds were shifted to industries producing consumer goods.

This calmed the public’s mood, but the issue of structural reform of the economy remained an open question. A key point in the discussion among economists was the role of market mechanisms in a socialist economy – and what could possibly replace them in setting prices and production levels. This discussion took place in two parts. The first of these was a dispute about the role of the “law of value” under socialism. The issue had a long history, dating back to Marx and his reflections on the economic theory of value based on work (which, in turn, drew on the work of Adam Smith and David Ricardo), and later, a long and ideological debate (in which Stalin himself spoke out) about whether the law of value works in socialism. In practice, however, it was really just an ideological front, with the “law of value” usually being invoked merely to justify price increases (both in the Soviet Union in 1947, and in Poland in 1953; Gomułka would later prove to be an enthusiast of the “law of value”). After Stalin’s death, it was used by dissidents and reformers who sought to discredit the planned economic system and introduce more market elements into it.657

After 1956, a discussion returned in a new guise, that had been ongoing for two decades, and before the war had sparked a hot dispute between two liberal economists from the Austrian school, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek, and the socialist economist Oskar Lange. The dispute’s history reached back to the 1920s, and to even earlier theoretical considerations from before the First World War. At stake was an essential question: was rational economic planning possible? This debate has been well described, so there is no need to summarize the whole of it here; however, the outlines of the two main positions are worth mentioning.658

In an article written back in 1920,659 Mises claimed that the socialist system was unable to solve the problem of rational pricing (he also rejected the Marxist ←215 | 216→view that economic calculations can be made by measuring the amount of socially necessary labour – and converting complex labour into simpler tasks; he saw this as a dangerous utopia).660 Rational prices were shaped by the market – through millions of individual decisions by producers and consumers, which together comprised knowledge that no central planner could possibly possess. His access to knowledge is always limited, and he must process information sent up “from below”, and resend it “back down”; All of this would take time, if it were even technically and mathematically possible (even if Hayek was willing to admit that it was theoretically possible, he was convinced it remained impossible in practice).

This structural defect meant that socialism was doomed, according to Mises and Hayek, to market imbalances and inefficiencies, because prices, the main regulator of the economy, are by necessity determined arbitrarily. Lange’s response to this objection was a model of “market socialism” (as described in 1936–1937).661 In his model, the Central Planning Office would substitute for the market – and through a process reminiscent of an auction, would locate equilibrium prices through a process of trial and error (with the exception of work whose value is determined by/within a social contract). Lange wrote:

If the quantity demanded of a commodity is not equal to the quantity supplied the price of that commodity has to be changed. It has to be raised if demand exceeds supply and lowered if the reverse is the case. Thus the Central Planning Board fixes a new set of prices which serves as a basis for new decisions, and which results in a new set of quantities demanded and supplied. Through this process of trial and error equilibrium prices are finally determined.662

Lange’s model had numerous advantages. Not only did it theoretically achieve the same thing as the free market, but it also dealt effectively with some persistent and ineradicable maladies that afflicted capitalism: these included the existence of monopolies and oligopolies, and the external costs (e.g. social costs – at the time there was no thought about environmental costs) of economic decisions, which could be taken into account by planners, but which did not fit into the narrowly defined calculations of a capitalist. It was also assumed that market ←216 | 217→socialism would eliminate cyclical crises and allow for a reduction in social inequalities. Income from work would consist of two parts: one for the services rendered, and the other being the individual’s share of income derived from collectivized means of production. The level of the first would be decided by the “negative marginal utility of work”; the second, a kind of social dividend, would be fixed in such a way that it would not influence the choice of activity (e.g. per head of population, or according to age or number of family members).663

From Lange’s point of view, market socialism had one cardinal advantage, of special importance in a backward country: it provided the option of considering social (which really meant “political”) needs when making decisions about the level of investment. Under capitalism, these were the result of individual choices of individual companies, and as a result, it was difficult for the government to directly affect them. It could only do so indirectly, through a complicated system of institutions and incentives, such as interest rates, and loans from specialized investment banks. Meanwhile, escaping backwardness required a leap in investment. Capitalism, according to Lange, made this impossible.

Although the rate of saving imposed by the state would be arbitrary and compulsory, Lange wrote:

A rate of accumulation which does not reflect the preferences of consumers as to the time-shape of the flow of income may be regarded as a diminution of social welfare. But is seems that this deficiency may be regarded as overbalanced by the advantages […].664

This view was a widely held one. In often reprinted essays on capitalism, the influential British Marxist economist Maurice Dobb, repeatedly expressed his own formulation of this idea: capitalist societies are structurally incapable of making an informed choice between the present and the future, i.e., to sacrifice consumption “now” in order to ensure a better future.665 It was long believed that Lange had won this argument. In 1942, Economist Joseph Schumpeter predicted that “a socialist form of society will inevitably emerge from an equally inevitable decomposition of capitalist society.”666 Schumpeter believed that capitalism would dig its own grave: its success would undermine the institutions upon which it rested because wealthier and better educated people would not put up with the imperfections of capitalist institutions. A year later, he added: “Many readers will ←217 | 218→wonder why I thought so laboriously and complex an analysis in order to establish what is rapidly becoming the general opinion, even among conservatives.”667

It is not clear whether Lange believed his model could be realized in practice. In 1940, he wrote in a letter to Hayek that he considered his “central planner” to be merely a “methodological tool”.

In response to Lange’s model – published in a two-part article in the late 1930s – Hayek wrote his famous 1945 essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society”, in which he wrote:

The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form, but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess. The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate “given” resource … it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge not given to anyone in its totality.668

Every planned economy is thus inherently inefficient because no central brain is able to gather and process the required amount of information. It is theoretically and technically infeasible, and therefore Lange’s central planner is an unachievable and dangerous utopia, because it would limit human freedom and wealth. Lange never accepted (or – as writes Gabriel Temkin, a historian involved in the dispute – may have never understood) this argument.669

Another liberal economist, Lionel Robbins, thought Lange’s model was theoretically possible, but unachievable in practice. This, according to the Pole, would be resolved by means of technology. In the 1960s, he became fascinated with computers, which – he thought – could cope with the problems that prevented the creation of a perfect central planner. In his last article, “The Computer and the Market,” he wrote:

Were I to rewrite my essay today my task would be much simpler. My answer to Hayek and Robbins would be: so what’s the trouble? Let us put the simultaneous equations on an electronic computer and we shall obtain the solution in less than a second. The market process with its cumbersome tâtonnements appears old-fashioned. Indeed, it may be considered as a computing device of the pre-electronic age.670

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In the debate during the 1950s and 1960s over how to reform the Polish economy, market mechanisms remained a taboo – a postulate that was not only censored, but even unthinkable. The ideas that arose after 1956 on how to reform the socialist economy leaned in the direction of loosening the political straitjacket of central planning and introducing more democracy into the management of enterprises. A return to capitalism was not only impossible for political reasons, the postulate itself could not be raised no only due to censorship: it was also unthinkable. Just as the “oppositionist/revisionists” wanted to improve the system, not to abolish it, the “economist/revisionists” sought a better form of socialism. Their influence on economic policy, however, remained negligible.

Planning would, of course, remain in place: the state was to be involved in such things as determining the size of the wage fund and carrying out the largest long-term investment projects. But, at the same time, however, it was to be less pedantic and leave more freedom to enterprises. Michal Kalecki, a prominent economist and an important figure among Poland’s would-be reformers believed that workers’ councils would help increase efficiency, but his evolution towards market mechanisms – from 1956 up to his death in 1970 – was gradual and never fully realized. In 1956, after just three weeks, the committee he headed produced a proposal for reform: it included a new plan providing state-owned enterprises with greater autonomy (the number of indicators for which they were to be held accountable was reduced from a few dozen to eight in the version ultimately adopted by the government); and a law establishing an “Enterprise Fund”, which set out rules for employee participation in profits.671 Legislation was also drafted creating workers’ councils, and giving them powers similar to that of a supervisory board in western companies (e.g., a vote in annual plans, strategy development, and the distribution of profits).

At the same time, a fascination arose in Poland with the Yugoslavian economic model, about which people had begun to write more willingly and extensively during the “thaw”, and which was considered to be not only more efficient, but also more democratic (both of these aspects were clearly idealized). Brus himself travelled to Yugoslavia at the end of 1956, and his experiences there were printed in Economic Life (Pol. Życie Gospodarcze) – the country’s main economic weekly – on the first page of the 1957 New Year issue. Today, his dreams of smoothly operating trade and services sectors are moving – and say more about the Poland that Brus left, than about Yugoslavia:

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Customers display extreme confidence in their actions, compared to relations here: namely, they do not show the seller any fear, they are just plain fussy as they pick and choose, sift through the goods, make up their minds, check sizes. […] How long I sat in a Yugoslav restaurant was entirely up to me. Because you hardly ever had to wait for a waiter – neither when ordering, nor when waiting for the main course or the check. There was no set formula to prevent people from satisfying their individual tastes, and the assortment of dishes coming out of the kitchen always matched those on the menu […] The response of the store manager to a question about how they proceed in cases of doubt was characteristic: “we prefer not to argue with the customer.”672

In articles written about underdeveloped countries, Polish economists at the time wrote – in line with global trends – that the key to escaping backwardness was to increase accumulation and that only the state could achieve this.673 There could be no such thing as “automatism in development,” Bobrowski wrote in 1965, “If there could, we simply wouldn’t have the problem of underdeveloped countries on the scale and with such tensions, as exists today.”674

Kalecki, in turn, was convinced that unemployment in capitalist countries was the result of class politics pursued in the interest of “so-called economic experts closely connected with banking and industry”.675 During the Great Depression in the 1930s, Kalecki had arrived at ideas for stimulating economic activity – very similar to Keynes’ ideas but preceding them – through public spending and working toward full employment. He believed that if capitalist states did not adopt these recommendations, it was only to protect the interests of the ruling classes – about whom Kalecki had no illusions. Capitalism, not socialism, was the political system he considered incapable of reform – precisely because of the structure of political interests. Democratic economic planning required a revolution.676

In Introduction to the Theory of Growth in a Socialist Economy, published in 1963,677 Kalecki refuted the dogma of that day on the socialist economy, including the belief that increasing the share of accumulation in the national income would lead in the long term to an increase in consumption; Kalecki’s theory ←220 | 221→showed that this is not always the case – and that when mismanaged, investments can lead to even lower consumption rates in the long term. These views, however, were not well received. “Polish economists were not yet ready to discuss the problems of socialist reproduction in such a language and style,” noted Jerzy Osiatyński, a researcher of Kalecki’s thought.678 Soviet economist T. S. Khachaturov, author of the preface to the Russian edition of Kalecki’s book offered a principled criticism, writing that it did not clearly explain the superiority of a socialist economy over a capitalist one.679

In the late 1950s and 1960s, Kalecki, who was now politically sidelined in Poland, remaining convinced that capitalism merely perpetuated underdevelopment. He devoted this time to advising governments of Third World countries and constructing multi-decade plans for communist Poland. In the spirit of the era, he wrote that the key challenge for poor countries was to significantly increase investment. If private investment was not forthcoming – which was likely – then the state should intervene, surmounting the institutional barriers that stood in the way of the rapid development of agriculture and adequately taxing the rich and more affluent. This, he wrote, would require social change more sweeping “than the upheaval created in eighteenth century by the French Revolution.”680

7.Gomułka and Gierek

Gomułka had his own ideas on the economy but, more importantly, he was unwilling to loosen his grip on power; his memory for numbers and interest in economics were conducive to the pursuit of control.681 The problem of a socialist economy was – as revisionists like Brus in Poland or Kornai in Hungary were soon to discover – its institutional character and the fact that it was essentially political. Stalinism had created an apparatus of power whose interests in practice always towered above the need for economic reform. Gomułka’s attitude towards economists was described by historian Wojciech Morawski:

Gomułka’s pragmatism resulted in, among other things, a distance between himself and professional economists (all of whom were Marxist, since there was no other kind). ←221 | 222→Gomułka felt a certain insecurity towards them related to gaps in his own education. At the same time, however, he also regarded them as irresponsibly doctrinaire, ready to bring political misfortune down on the country just to have an opportunity to test out their theories. He believed that whatever the economists proposed, he had to filter through the sieve of his own common sense. I do not want to offend anyone with this comparison, but Gomułka’s attitude towards economists was like to Hitler’s to his generals. Hence the career of Bolesław Jaszczuk – who was not an economist, but an engineer and ideological technocrat who impressed Gomułka with his adroit use of a slide rule.682

Gomułka quickly put a stop to experiments with local workers’ councils. In the latter half of the 1960s, it was already clear, however, that the economy required new, more fundamental reforms. Real wages were stagnant, and economic growth had remained at a low level of 2–3 percent per year, despite numerous new investments, especially in the chemical industry, one favoured by Gomułka and which he regarded as a “driver of modernity”. The first two years of the plan for 1966–1970 brought increasing tensions on the domestic market and a poor performance in terms of foreign trade. The effectiveness of investments also declined. Those managing the economy would not listen to the economists, especially those whom they considered suspicious revisionists, but they also realized that the impressive growth of the Stalinist era could not be repeated and had resulted from the transfer of millions of people from the countryside – where labour productivity was low – to industry, which even in the messy conditions of socialism automatically brought about a jump in productivity. This mechanism for growth, despite continued population pressures, had clearly been exhausted. Thus, in journalists’ reporting in the 1960s there were constant exhortations to move away from “extensive” growth and transition to a more “selective”, “intensive” model.

A reform package was announced in the atmosphere of political repression that followed the events of March 1968. It assumed, among other things, increasing the importance of financial results as a criterion for assessing an enterprise, an emphasis on profits, and the need to motivate employees by means of wages “according to their contribution to achieving results”. There was so much talk of “material incentives” in propaganda that it begged for sarcastic jokes. Stefan Kisielewski, an opposition but tolerated journalist, noted in his diary: “What does a cow have on its head? Not horns, but incentives.”683

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Naturally, no one was willing to entrust investment planning to the efficiency of the market: decisions about investments were to continue to be made by planners. In a speech at the XII Plenum in 1968, Jaszczuk said that the market “cannot dictate the direction of economic growth” because “the phenomena that take place within it do not provide a basis for assessing long-term social needs; this is necessary, for example, so that funds allocated for investment, which will bear fruit after several years, are spent as efficiently as possible.”684

One could discuss the organization of state-owned enterprises, the scope of their freedom, and the necessity of holding them accountable for their results, as well as the need to increase the efficiency of investment, and motivate employees with better wages. But no one questioned the need for state investment on a large scale (“social control over the economy”), long-term planned development, and the need to maintain a tight rein on social inequality (i.e., wage controls). In a thousand-page official textbook entitled The Political Economy of Socialism, published in 1973, Bronisław Minc levelled a number of charges against markets: price signals were conveyed to markets with too much delay, they could not be used to determine the level of changes required in production, and they often expressed momentary fluctuations on the basis of which only uncoordinated, piecemeal decisions could be taken. Planning, he taught, was a “higher form of economic regulation”.685 Likewise, revisionists like Brus, Kalecki and Lange, who were always advocates of widening the scope of freedom and liberties in the Polish People’s Republic, including economic freedoms, also believed that the social foundations of communist Poland’s economy and the defects of capitalism could probably be reconciled.

In 1972, at the peak of the Gierek regime’s success, publicist Aleksander Bocheński, who had been associated with the right before the war, but allied himself with the regime after the war, published a small book in which he explained how Gierek’s ideas for Poland differed from Gomułka’s asceticism. In an attempt to expose the roots of Poles’ negligent (or so he thought) attitude to work, he wrote:

In order to grasp the difficulty of activating psychological motors for high-quality work, you have to first realize the material fact that rapid industrialization of the country means building the largest possible number of new factories, mines and other plants […] this forced the Poland’s socialist government to spend the greatest part of social income on this construction, and thus, to spend the least amount possible on consumption by the population beyond its basic needs. If a country has a hundred thousand ←223 | 224→dollars at its disposal, it can use this money to import a hundred automobiles or ten machine tools. It cannot use the same money to buy both one and the other.686

Bocheński added that under conditions of hunger and exhaustion one can only build by using strong means of coercion. Gradually, however, human needs must come to the fore – and grow to include “automobiles, houses, and elegant apartments with bathrooms. Later, needs appear which are completely unnecessary.”687 In the 1950s, the Polish People’s Republic attempted both to encourage people to make voluntary sacrifices, and to force them to work; in the 1970s, it was time for gentler methods.

The Gierek regime’s promise, as Bocheński summed it up, however, sounded different: “I don’t think that the ascetic model of socialism, at the stage of industrialization we have in 1970, has to be universally enforced.”688 The government carried out large investments and did not promise a standard of living equal to that in the West. This belonged to the future. But it did promise a steady improvement in living standards. It no longer expected sacrifices from citizens in the name of a beautiful future. This was also a necessity, because dissatisfaction was palpable, and had by no means died out after the regime change. In February 1971, textile workers in Łódź went on strike, protesting, among other things, atrocious, nineteenth-century working conditions (three shifts, no breaks for meals, widespread use of piece-work payment schemes).689

The ​Gierek regime’s economic ideas for promoting growth were made possible by the détente in international relations and the resulting opening of international financial markets to communist Poland. These plans also assumed (and in this aspect alluded to the ideas of Jaszczuk and his team) an increase in exports, greater specialization in industry, and changes in the types of goods produced – exports were to consist for the most part of technologically advanced products. Poland would purchase new technologies from the West on credit and then repay these loans through the export of finished products. At the same time, consumption in the country would increase, thanks to which the regime – which felt insecure after the bloody riots on the Baltic coast in December 1970 – would assured itself support.

←224 | 225→

The influx of hard currency from abroad allowed Gierek to avoid facing temporarily the structural dilemma that had plagued the authorities of the Polish People’s Republic since the outset. Poland’s socialist economy had developed in cycles that started with a rise in investment (focused on heavy industry and production of the so-called “means of production”), then led to stagnation or a decline in living standards, and finally provoked a social explosion – after which a regime change followed.690 The new ruling clique began by curbing investment, increasing consumption, placing more emphasis on light industry and increasing production for the domestic consumer market. But this was always temporary: after a few years, the pressure to invest in big industrial projects returned and the cycle was repeated. The injection of hard currency and licenses from the West in the early 1970s led to – for a few short years – an investment boom and simultaneous increase in consumption.691 For a short time, you could believe that Poland was on the rise, and that people were truly living the good life. The Gierek regime succumbed to the optimism of its own propaganda. Zdzisław Rurarz, an economic adviser to Gierek, assumed an annual growth rate of 10 percent over two to three decades (!) and an accumulation rate of 40 percent of GDP – higher than called for in the six-year plan.692 Amid cheers at a party conference in October 1973, the increase in national income planned over five years (1970–1975) was raised from an already impressive 39 percent to 55 percent.693

There was, of course, a rationale behind these investment pressures. Poland had one of the highest rates of population growth in Europe. The authorities had to find employment for all these young people – and the first signs of unemployment, which were already appearing after the dismissals of apparatchiks in 1956, was fuelling panic and fear among those who still remembered prewar times.694 It was also believed, at least in party circles, that a higher level of investment meant higher growth – although in reality its effectiveness systematically declined.

However, these investment pressures, which people began to speak and write about in the 1960s, were largely a result of the institutional structure of the government apparatus, which resembled a giant pyramid, with the first secretary at ←225 | 226→the top. The position of the first secretary depended on the support of the party apparatus, and the party apparatus was “fed” with investments.

The ambitions of all levels of the power structure were focused on carving out the largest possible piece of the investment pie for themselves. Local party secretaries competed to have a new factory built in their area. Managers thought about the promotion that the completion of a new project would bring them, and how their prestige would grow along with the growth of their enterprise, association or department. Local authorities sought to develop their cities and create jobs for the people in their region. Everyone lined up in front of the same cashier’s window – which was in the hands of the planner – creating territorial and special-interest coalitions and pressure groups.695 Of course, new investments built from scratch were more desirable than less expensive upgrades of existing plants.

The system did not have any means of preventing such bottom-up pressures for investment. Attempts were made to create a system of indicators that would set strict ceilings on expenditures for particular ministries and associations, but these did not work. Investors and contractors were always able to work around them, wresting for themselves as much as possible from the available investment pool, and often blackmailing planners with the threat of leaving uncompleted construction that had already begun.696 During such “horse-trading” with planners, it was argued that a plant’s production capacity was being underutilized, that the goods it produced were in demand, that it was in a priority industry, that it was growing, that it had export quotas to fulfil, and that any loss of employment had to be avoided because this could provoke social unrest. All of these arguments worked.697

Even in the best Gierek years (1972–1973), the overall fulfilment of reported investment needs did not reduce the pressures from enterprises on the central planner: “on the contrary, initially surprised by the attitude of the central planner, the following year, they made even greater investment demands.”698 Enterprises always played the system for their own benefit: they lowered cost projections (then asked for more money because the investment could not be left unfinished), failed to ←226 | 227→report problems with investments, and did not coordinate short-term plans with the long-term plan theoretically in force. It paid to produce goods as expensively as possible, because production value was calculated on the basis of gross indicators.699 The regulations introduced in the 1970s making managers personally responsible for unsuccessful projects and requiring them to carry out economic analyses before applying for credit proved to be defunct.700 Enterprises and industrial groups competed for resources using any means possible – which included falsifying statistics.701 Ever-increasing sums of money were locked up in unfinished construction sites.702

The collapse of the Gierek miracle was accelerated buy a major shake-up in the global economy – the oil crisis of 1973 and the resulting drastic increase in energy prices that drove the developed countries of the West into recession. Due to the system used to settle crude oil purchases within the Comecon system, the impact on Poland of rising oil prices was delayed (the USSR changed rates every five years along with its new five-year plan, but it was unwilling to sell oil to its satellites for less than half the price it could get on world markets).703 But there were many more problems facing the country. Foreign trade still remained the Achilles heel of the Polish economy. Manufacturing machines with the use of Western technologies often required components to be imported from abroad, and thus paid for with hard currency. The quality of Polish products was often poor, and were therefore difficult to sell on demanding international markets, so most made their way to other socialist countries. According to official data, in 1979 up to 28.7 percent of electronic equipment was produced at a loss; for Rubin televisions, the margin of loss reached 91.9 percent.704 Coal exports remained one of the Polish Peoples’ Republic’s main sources of foreign exchange. However, by August 1974 revenues from exports were no longer sufficient to cover the costs of loans and imports.705 In December 1975, Poland for the first ←227 | 228→time exhausted its foreign currency and had to be bailed out with a loan from the USSR.706 Queues and power outages become commonplace: Poland had fallen into a crisis from which it could not lift itself.707

8.The system’s problem

Since the 1960s, analyses of the weaknesses of the socialist economy have been shifting towards institutions – especially power structures. This can clearly be seen in the evolution of the writings of Janos Kornai, one of the leading economists of the region, and probably the most acute analyst of the weaknesses of planned economies. In a socialist economy, competition among various interests prevented any far-reaching change from occurring. Enterprises could be given a little less or a little more freedom; they could be held more or less accountable for their financial results; Big Economic Organizations could be created or broken up into smaller, decentralized entities. But the problems lay deeper. Kornai estimates, for example, that in Hungary in the years 1973–1983, despite two oil crises and a clear slowdown, the authorities were unable to alter the country’s investment structure, giving preference to heavy industry and machine production (though differences existed between countries: while Hungary allocated 35 percent of investment to industry, in Bulgaria and Romania this percentage reached 45–49 percent).708

Kornai started out as a journalist writing articles about the Hungarian economy under Stalinism in the propaganda press (there was, of course, no other kind). Years later he recalled:

Never for a moment did I think that the troubles were systemic, originating in the system itself. On the contrary, while perceiving many problems and faults in it, I was still convinced that socialism was superior to the capitalist system. Any difficulties would be transitory. I subscribed to Ernő Gerő’s notion, taken from Stalin, that these were just growing pains. We would grow out of them! State ownership had to ensure higher productivity than private ownership. Central planning must be more efficient than market anarchy. There was utter confusion in my mind between the normative and the positive approach, the demands facing the socialist system and the realities of it.709

←228 | 229→

In the mid-1950s, Kornai began describing the institutional defects of socialism, which culminated in his acclaimed book Economics of Shortage, the inspiration for which, as he explained in his memoirs, was his attempt to purchase tiles for the house he had built outside of Budapest, through the socialist system of commerce. In the early 1990s, he came to the conclusion that even the concept of “market socialism” was misconceived: it did not provide a clear definition of ownership, it did not create incentives to respond to price changes, and it inclined managers not to engage in market competition, but rather, to fight for a share of the subsidies paid out of the “state pocket”. It was indeed a better solution than a rigid socialist model, as it provided more room for market mechanisms, but it still remained ineffective.710

In his magnum opus, The Socialist System. The Political Economy of Communism, a penetrating and thorough analysis of the failure of the command economy – and thus of “the socialist system”. Kornai also wrote about another of its fundamental traits: a lack of innovation. The colour television, photocopier, synthetic fibre were all invented in capitalist countries, because the market created incentives to compete through innovation.711 Communist modernization was imitative, energy-intensive, duplicated a model that had been obsolete in the West since the 1970s, and the key to which lay in the political system that created it and from which it was inseparable.712 The system’s crash in Poland after just a few short years of prosperity under Gierek was only one of many proofs of this.

In practice, the system proved to be a brake on growth: real growth in the countries of Central Europe amounted to approximately 2.4 percent annually for the first postwar decade (compared with 3.2 percent annually in Western Europe). The gap in living standards separating the east and west grew steadily, and in 1989 was greater than it had been in 1939.713 The system was capable of accumulation and growth despite massive waste, mainly due to the fact that it had carried out a major social transformation – moving tens of millions of people from the countryside, where they were languishing on the margins of the economy, to work in industry in cities, which automatically resulted in a jump in productivity, even ←229 | 230→under the messy conditions of socialist mismanagement. Later, however, the institutions hampering growth made their presence felt fully, and proved to be an insurmountable obstacle. If we look at this from a distance, as did economists Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson in their acclaimed book on the causes of poverty and wealth in nations, Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (2009), it is easy to say that the lack of democracy and free markets, and the authoritarian power of a ruling elite focused solely on its own narrow interests were the obvious reasons for the failure of this gigantic experiment.714 The story however is more complex. What we consider to be obvious today is not necessarily quite so selfevident – and clearly was not so decades ago. Economic theory at that time clearly suggested that only a planned economy could pull backward countries out of the hopeless lethargy in which they been had stuck for centuries.715

The experience that shaped an entire generation of economists and politicians from the 1940s to the 1970s was the Great Depression, just as the experience that shaped the next generation was the inefficiency of the planned economy: without this in mind, we cannot understand either the former or the latter.

Winning Polish elites over to the free market took a long time – the whole of the 1980s. Even the economic programmes of Solidarity spoke about building a better socialism, and not a free market.716

501 Quoted in M. Wańkowicz, Sztafeta. Książka o polskim pochodzie gospodarczym, Warszawa 2012, p. 113.

502 Quoted in Programy polskich partii politycznych i ugrupowań partyzanckich lat wojny i okupacji hitlerowskiej, ed. K. Przybysz, Warszawa 1987, p. 148.

503 The apt term “planism” comes from an article by Fr. A. Wóycickiego: “Ku ustrojowi korporacyjnemu”, Przegląd Ekonomiczny, 1938, no. 2, p. 16.

504 M. Wańkowicz, Sztafeta…, op. cit., p. 314.

505 Ibid., p. 268.

506 Cf. B. Brzostka’s Introduction to Sztafeta…, p. 9.

507 M. Wańkowicz, Sztafeta…, op. cit., pp. 319–320.

508 Ibid., p. 319.

509 Cf. J. Kochanowicz, “Polska w epoce nowoczesnego wzrostu gospodarczego”, [in:] Modernizacja Polski. Struktury. Agencje. Instytucje, ed. W. Morawski, Warszawa 2010, pp. 153–180.

510 D. H. Aldcroft, Europe’s Third World. The European Periphery in the Interwar Years, Aldershot–Burlington 2006, p. 4.

511 E.g. David F. Good in summing up this debate says that growth in Central Europe in the years 1870–1989 was somewhat higher than in Western Europe (1.40 percent annually versus 1.19 percent). See D. F. Good, “The State and Economic Development in Central and Eastern Europe”, [in:] Nation, State and the Economy in History, eds. A. Teichova, H. Matis, Cambridge–New York 2003, p. 139. Various estimates of the growth rate in Central Europe show it was either somewhat higher or lower than in Western Europe: it was lower before 1939, markedly higher in the years 1950–1973, and comparable (given a lower starting point) later on. Ivan Berend writes that although Central Europe was mired in stagnation up until 1939, the period of real socialism up to 1973 allowed Poland to close a large part of the gap separating it from the West, which again began to grow in the 1980s. (Ivan T. Berend, Central and Eastern Europe 1944–1993. Detour from the Periphery to the Periphery, Cambridge–New York 1996, p. 187 ff.). Cf. also P. Bairoch, The Economic Development of the Third World since 1900, London 1975. Cf. also A. Maddison, The World Economy…, op. cit.

512 D. H. Aldcroft, Europe’s Third World…, op. cit., p. 175.

513 J. Żarnowski, Społeczeństwo Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej, 1918–1939, Warszawa 1973, p. 82.

514 J. Żarnowski, Polska 1918–1939: praca, technika, społeczeństwo, Warszawa 1992, p. 230.

515 L. Landau, “Płace w Polsce w związku z rozwojem gospodarczym” [in:] Wybór pism, Warszawa 1957, p. 253.

516 L. Landau, “Gospodarka światowa. Produkcja i dochód społeczny w liczbach” [in:] Wybór pism, Warszawa 1957, p. 418.

517 D. H. Aldcroft, Europe’s Third World…, op. cit., p. 111.

518 S. Broadberry, A. Klein, “Aggregate and Per Capita GDP in Europe, 1870–2000: Continental, Regional and National Data with Changing Boundaries”, Scandinavian Economic History Review, 2012, vol. 60, no. 1.

519 Cf. Z. Landau, “National Income in Historical Research (On Material from the Period of Interwar Poland)”, Acta Poloniae Historica, 1976, no. 33; The article also contains a discussion of the methodological difficulties in calculating national income and its relation to the actual level of agricultural and industrial production.

520 Cf. W. Roszkowski, “Etatyzm przemysłowy w Polsce w latach kryzysu”, Przegląd historyczny, 1972, vol 63, no. 1, p. 67.

521 C. H. Feinstein, P. Temin, G. Toniolo, “International Economic Organization: Banking, Finance, and Trade in Europe between the Wars”, [in:] Banking, Currency, and Finance in Europe Between the Wars, ed. C. H. Feinstein, Oxford 1995, p. 45.

522 K. Wrzos, Oko w oko z kryzysem: reportaż z podróży po Polsce, Warszawa 1985, p. 152.

523 N. Wolf, “Should I Stay or Should I Go? Understanding Poland’s Adherence to Gold, 1928–1936”, Historical Social Research – Historische Sozialforschung, 2007, no. 4.

524 J. Kaliński, Z. Landau, Gospodarka Polski XX wieku, Warszawa 2003, p. 125.

525 Z. Landau, W. Roszkowski, Polityka gospodarcza II RP i PRL, Warszawa 1995, p. 66.

526 J. B. DeLong, Hopeless Unemployment, Project Syndicate, 1 August 2012,

527 W. Brus, “Zmora reformowania socjalistycznego systemu ekonomicznego”, Teoria Ekonomii. Prace i materiały, 1997, no. 4. My thanks to prof. Tadeusz Kowalikow for suggesting the article.

528 C. Miłosz, Native Realm. A Search for Self-definition, Berkeley 1981, pp. 115–116.

529 W. Brus, “Zmora reformowania…”, op. cit.

530 Ibid.

531 F. Zweig, Poland Between Two Wars, London 1944

532 K. Rogaczewska, Ekonomiczny wymiar polskiego liberalizmu…, op. cit., p. 224.

533 Cf. S. Duda, “Liberalizm a etatyzm: dyskusja o gospodarczej roli państwa w drugiej Rzeczypospolitej”, Rzeszowskie Zeszyty Naukowe: Prawo-Ekonomia, 1997, vol. 22; J. Gołębiowski, Sektor państwowy w gospodarce Polski międzywojennej, Warszawa 1985.

534 K. Dziewulski, Spór o etatyzm. 1919–1939, Warszawa 1981, p. 11.

535 R. Wapiński, Historia polskiej myśli politycznej XIX i XX wieku, Gdańsk 1997, p. 220.

536 A. Friszke, O kształt niepodległej, Warszawa 1989, p. 325.

537 Ibid., p. 330.

538 K. Dziewulski, Spór o etatyzm…, op. cit., p. 122.

539 J. Tomicki, Polska Partia Socjalistyczna 1892–1948, Warszawa 1983, p. 366.

540 A. Friszke, O kształt…, op. cit., p. 342.

541 Ibid., p. 340.

542 K. Rogaczewska, “Myśl ekonomiczna Narodowej Demokracji w kontekście konfliktu liberalizmu i socjalizmu”, [in:] Narodowa Demokracja XIX–XXI wiek. Dzieje ruchu politycznego, vol. 1, Koncepcje – ludzie, Toruń 2012.

543 A. Friszke, O kształt…, op. cit., p. 334.

544 R. Wapiński, Historia polskiej myśli…, op. cit., p. 226.

545 S. Żurawicki, Myśl ekonomiczno-polityczna w Polsce okresu międzywojennego, Warszawa 1970, p. 106 ff.

546 S. Grabski, Ku lepszej Polsce, Warszawa 1938, p. 85.

547 Cf. W. Wojdyło, Koncepcje społeczno-polityczne Stanisława Grabskiego, Toruń 1993; S. Wójcik, Ekonomia społeczna według koncepcji Stanisława Grabskiego, Lublin 1995.

548 S. Grabski, Ku lepszej…, op. cit., pp. 99–100.

549 Ibid., p. 111.

550 Ibid., p. 207.

551 J. Giertych, O wyjście z kryzysu, Warszawa 1938, p. 303.

552 Quoted in R. Wapiński, Historia polskiej myśli…, op. cit., p. 230.

553 J. Giertych, O wyjście…, op. cit., p. 313.

554 Ibid., p. 320.

555 T. Włudyka, “Trzecia droga” w myśli gospodarczej II Rzeczypospolitej: koncepcje Adama Doboszyńskiego, Kraków 1994, p. 25 ff.

556 A. Doboszyński, Gospodarka narodowa, Wrocław 2004, p. 116.

557 Ibid., p. 110.

558 Cf. also S. Żurawicki, Myśl ekonomiczno-polityczna w Polsce okresu międzywojennego, Warszawa 1970, p. 117.

559 A. Doboszyński, Gospodarka…, op. cit., p. 108.

560 Ibid., p. 81.

561 Quoted in Andrew C. Janos, East Central Europe in the Modern World. The Politics of the Borderlands from Pre- to Postcommunism, Stanford 2000, p. 179.

562 J. Kofman, Nacjonalizm gospodarczy – szansa czy bariera rozwoju. Przypadek Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej w okresie międzywojennym, Warszawa 1992, pp. 20–21; As a politician, Manoilescu was less fortunate: in the early 1930s, he was named Minister of Public Works, then Minister of Industry and Commerce, and finally, Governor of the National Bank, but his career was suddenly interrupted when he refused to grant a loan to a company belonging to a close friend of the King (the king became furious when the company failed). He returned to government in 1940, when, under heavy presssure from the Germans, he signed an agreement ceding much of Transylvania to Hungary. This was a grim task, especially for a nationalist, and he reportedly fainted during the ceremony. Within a week the signing, his career was over. After the war, he was publically condemned and imprisoned for collaborating with the Nazis, and died in prison of diseases he acquired while incarcerated.

563 J. L. Love, Crafting the Third World. Theorizing Underdevelopment in Rumania and Brazil, Stanford 1996, p. 60.

564 Quoted in P. Janus, W nurcie polskiego etatyzmu. Stefan Starzyński i Pierwsza Brygada Gospodarcza 1926–1932, Kraków 2009, p. 235.

565 P. Janus, W nurcie polskiego etatyzmu…, op. cit., pp. 237–239. Cf. also M. Łapa, Modernizacja państwa. Polska polityka gospodarcza 1926–1929, Ibid., Łódź 2002.

566 J. Beksiak, T. Gruszecki, U. Grzelońska, J. Papuzińska, D. Żochowski, Polska gospodarka w XX wieku. Eseje historyczno-ekonomiczne, Łódź 2003, p. 22.

567 T. Bernadzikiewicz, Przerosty etatyzmu. Uwagi o gospodarce państwowej w Polsce, Warszawa 1935, p. 23.

568 Ibid., p. 40.

569 Ibid., p. 97.

570 Cf. W. Paruch, “Autorytarna formuła legitymizacji władzy w piłsudczykowskiej myśli politycznej – warianty, kontrowersje, poszukiwania”, [in:] Kryzysy i sposoby ich przezwyciężania w myśli politycznej XX wieku, ed. W. Wojdyło, Toruń 2004.

571 W. Paruch, “Założenia systemowe antydemokratycznej modernizacji Rzeczypospolitej – rozważania o piłsudczykowskiej myśli politycznej (1926–1939)”, [in:] Demokracja. Centrum i peryferie. Procesy modernizacyjne państwa w polskiej myśli politycznej XX–XXI wieku, eds. A. Bałaban, J. Faryś, T. Sikorski, P. Słowiński, Szczecin 2008.

572 W. Paruch, “Przejawy i ograniczenia liberalizmu w piłsudczykowskiej myśli politycznej (1926–1939)”, [in:] Polskie zbliżenia z liberalizmem, eds. T. Godlewski, D. Karnowska, Toruń 2006.

573 “Plan budowy COP”, Polska Gospodarcza, 1938, no. 40.

574 Quoted in Z. Landau, “Kwiatkowskiego wizja gospodarki polskiej”, Zeszyty naukowe Uczelni Warszawskiej im. Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie 2011, no. 33.

575 Z. Landau, W. Roszkowski, Polityka gospodarcza…, op. cit., p. 70.

576 M. Drozdowski, Polityka gospodarcza rządu polskiego 1936–1939, Warszawa 1963 p. 68.

577 C. Bobrowski, Wspomnienia ze stulecia, Lublin 1985, p. 80.

578 Cf. P. Koryś, The State as an Entrepreneur: Reorientation of the Economic Policy of the Republic of Poland in Late 1930s and the Developing of State Capitalism, upublished manuscript. My thanks to the author for providing me with access to this work.

579 J. Kaliński, “Przyspieszenia wzrostu w dziejach gospodrczych Polski”, [in:] Między zacofaniem i modernizacją. Społeczno-gospodarcze problemy ziem polskich na przestrzeni wieków, eds. E. Kościk, T. Głowiński, Wrocław 2009, p. 34; Cf. also Z. Landau, J. Tomaszewski, Gospodarka Polski międzywojennej 1918–1939, vol. IV, Lata interwenc-jonizmu państwowego 1936–1939, Warszawa 1989

580 E. Kwiatkowski, Dysproporcje. Rzecz o Polsce przeszłej i obecnej, Warszawa 1989, p. 235. The book was first published in 1932.

581 Z. Landau, “Kwiatkowskiego wizja…”, op. cit.

582 C. Bobrowski, Wspomnienia…, op. cit., p. 83.

583 Quoted in Programy polskich partii…, op. cit., p. 18.

584 E. Ponczek, Aksjologiczny wymiar lewicowości w polskiej myśli politycznej w latach II wojny światowej, [in:] Polska Lewica w XX wieku. Historia – ludzie – idee, eds. T. Ślęzak, M. Śliwa, Kraków 2004, p. 168.

585 Cf. K. Dunin-Wąsowicz, Polski ruch socjalistyczny 1939–1945, Warszawa 1993.

586 S. Stępień, “Polska – Europa – świat w myśli politycznej PPS-WRN”, [in:] Świat wokół Rzeczypospolitej…, op. cit., p. 451.

587 K. Przybysz, “Program przeobrażeń politycznych w myśli politycznej Rady Jedności Narodowej oraz opozycji demokratycznej w latach 1945–1947”, [in:] Elity władzy w Polsce a struktura społeczna w latach 1944–1956, ed. P. Wójcik, Warszawa 1992.

588 K. Przybysz, Polska myśl…, op. cit., p. 190.

589 Quoted in Wizje Polski. Programy polityczne lat wojny i okupacji, ed. Kazimierz Przybysz, Warszawa 1992, p. 200. I would like to thank dr hab. Andrzej Krzysztof Kunert for help in locating these materials.

590 J. W. Gołębiowski, “Sprawa nacjonalizacji przemysłu i odbudowy gospodarki narodowej w programach ważniejszych stronnictw politycznych podczas II Wojny Światowej”, [in:] Wojna i okupacja na ziemiach polskich, ed. Władysław Góra, Warszawa 1984, p. 530.

591 Quoted in Programy polskich partii…, op. cit., p. 144.

592 S. Rudnicki, “Koncepcje niepodległego państwa w myśli politycznej obozu narodowego”, [in:] Wizje Polski w myśli politycznej lat I i II wojny światowej, ed. M. Tanty, Warszawa 1990.

593 W. Woydyło, “Wizja ustroju politycznego państwa w myśli politycznej Stronnictwa Narodowego w drugiej wojnie światowej”, [in:] Między otwartą a domkniętą myślą polityczną. Szkice o najnowszej refleksji politycznej, eds. R. Bäcker, J. Marszałek–Kawa, Toruń 2006, p. 66.

594 K. Przybysz, Polska myśl polityczna…, op. cit. p. 165.

595 M. Shore, “Cosmopolitanism, the Avant-Garde, and a Lost Innocence of Central Europe”, [in:] eds. M. Gordon, H. Tilley, G. Prakash, Utopia/Dystopia: Conditions of Historical Possibility, Princeton 2010, p. 176.

596 K. Przybysz, Polska myśl polityczna…, op. cit., p. 167.

597 B. Poboży, “W walce o Polskę Ludową. Wizje przyszłej Polski w myśli politycznej ruchu ludowego w latach 1939–1945”, [in:] Dylematy historii i polityki. Księga dedykowana profesor Annie Magierskiej, eds. R. Chwedoruk, D. Przastek, Warszawa 2008 p. 187.

598 K. Rogaczewska, Myśl ekonomiczna Narodowej Demokracji…, op. cit., p. 95.

599 Ibid., p. 95.

600 M. Nadolski, “Programy przeobrażeń ustrojowych w Polsce komunistów i ugrupowań prokomunistycznych w latach 1941–1948”, [in:] Elity władzy w Polsce a struktura społeczna w latach 1944–1956, ed. P. Wójcik, Warszawa 1992.

601 K. Przybysz, Polska myśl polityczna…, op. cit., p. 184.

602 Ibid., p. 185.

603 Quoted in W. Skrabalak, Polscy socjaliści w XX wieku. Ich rodowody oraz uwarunkowania ich działalności, Warszawa 2010, pp. 133–134.

604 K. Przybysz, “U źródeł Trzeciej Rzeczypospolitej. O przyszłości społeczeństwa i państwa w latach 1939–1945”, [in:] Dylematy historii i polityki. Księga dedykowana profesor Annie Magierskiej, eds. R. Chwedoruk, D. Przastek, Warszawa 2008.

605 K. Przybysz, Polska myśl polityczna 1939–1945. Zarys problematyki, Warszawa 2000, p. 163.

606 W. Wojdyło, “Wizja ustroju polityczno-gospodarczego powojennej Polski w projekcjach Komisji Spraw Ustrojowych Rządu Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej na uchodźstwie 1939–1945”, Athenaeum, 2005, no. 13.

607 A. Friszke, O kształt niepodległej…, op. cit., p. 502.

608 J.W. Gołębiewski, Sprawa nacjonalizacji…, op. cit., p. 542.

609 My thanks to prof. Marcin Kul for providing me with this manuscript.

610 Cf. Chapter 2.

611 B. Eichengreen, European Economy Since 1945. Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond, Princeton–Oxford 2007, p. 105.

612 J. Holzer, Europa zimnej wojny, Kraków 2012, p. 98.

613 T. Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, New York 2005, pp. 70–71.

614 J. Holzer, Europa…, op. cit., pp. 102–103; J. Kochanowicz, “Początki planowania w Polsce po II wojnie światowej w perspektywie porównawczej”, [in:] Ekonomia i ekonomiści w czasach przełomu, eds. E. Mączyńska, J. Wilkin, Warszawa 2010.

615 For a survey of this literature, see T. Vonyó, “Post-war Reconstruction and the Golden Age of Economic Growth”, European Review of Economic History, 2008, no. 2.

616 W. Kula, “Przywilej społeczny a postęp gospodarczy”, Przegląd Socjologiczny, 1947, no. 1–4, p. 193.

617 Ustawa o planie 3-letnim, ed. J. Kaliński, Lublin 1981, p. 8.

618 T. Kowalik, Spory o ustrój społeczno-gospodarczy w Polsce, lata 1944–1948, Warszawa 2006, p. 61.

619 Cf. M. Zaremba, Wielka trwoga. Polska 1944–1947. Ludowa reakcja na kryzys, Kraków 2012.

620 J. Kaliński, Bitwa o handel 1947–1948, Warszawa 1970, p. 80.

621 T. Kowalik, Spory o ustrój…, op. cit., p. 65.

622 D. Jarosz, T. Wolsza, Komisja Specjalna do Walki z Nadużyciami i Szkodnictwem Gospodarczym 1945–1954, Warszawa 1995, p. 8.

623 J. Kaliński, Bitwa…, op. cit., pp. 97–101.

624 Ibid., p. 161.

625 M. Bałtowski, Gospodarka socjalistyczna w Polsce, Warszawa 2009, p. 170.

626 T. Stankiewicz, Działalność inwestytycjna państwa w Polsce w latach 1945–1947, Warszawa 1993, p. 35.

627 T. Stankiewicz, Działalność…, op. cit., p. 177.

628 M. Tymiński, PZPR i przedsiębiorstwo. Nadzór partyjny nad zakładami przemysłowymi 1956–1970, Warszawa 2001p. 31 ff.

629 J. Kaliński, “Zarządzanie gospodarką”, [in:] PZPR jako machina władzy, eds. D. Stola, K. Persak, Warszawa 2012, p. 201.

630 Cf. T. Judt, Postwar…, op. cit., pp. 69–72.

631 T. Stankiewicz, Działalność…, op. cit., p. 178.

632 I. T. Berend, Central and Eastern…, op. cit., p. 77; Cf. also T. Vonyó, “Socialist Industrialisation or Post-War Reconstruction: Understanding Hungarian Economic Growth, 1949–1967”, Journal of European Economic History, 2010, no. 2.

633 I would like to thank prof. T. Kowalik for this anegdote about Minc.

634 H. Różański, Śladem wspomnień i dokumentów, 1943–1948, Warszawa 1988, pp. 166–167.

635 T. Kowalik, Spory o ustrój…, op. cit., pp. 66–67.

636 “Memoriał kierownika Biura Informacji KC WKP(b) Leonida Baranowa oraz instruktorów KC WKP(b) Nikołaja Puchłowa i Władimira Owczarowa ‘O antymarksistowskiej orientacji w kierownictwie PPR’” [in:] Polska-ZSRR. Struktury podległości. Dokumenty WKP(b) 1944–1949, eds. G. A. Bordiugow, et al., Warszawa 1995, pp. 212–214; Cf. also A. Skrzypek, Mechanizmy klientelizmu. Stosunki polsko–radzieckie 1965–1989, Warszawa 2008.

637 J. Kaliński, “Pomoc czy wyzysk? Stosunki gospodarcze między Polską i ZSRR”, [in:] Białe plamy – Czarne plamy. Sprawy trudne w relacjach polsko-rosyjskich (1918–2008), eds. A. D. Rotfeld, A. W. Torkunow, Warszawa 2010, p. 631 ff.

638 D. Stola, Kraj bez wyjścia. Migracje z Polski 1949–1989, Warszawa 2012, p. 27 ff.

639 Quoted in D. Jarosz, Polityka władz komunistycznych w Polsce w latach 1948–1956 a chłopi, Warszawa 1998, p. 19.

640 D. Jarosz, Polityka władz…, op. cit., pp. 19–20.

641 S. Skieterski, “Świadomość chłopów okresu kolektywizacji w świetle pamiętników”, Przegląd Humanistyczny, 1990, no. 4.

642 Quoted in Ibid.

643 D. Jarosz, Polityka władz…, op. cit., pp. 35, 48–49.

644 Ibid., pp. 60–61.

645 Ibid., p. 62, 65.

646 Ibid., p. 20.

647 R. A. Francisco, B. A. Laird, R. D. Laird, The Political Economy of Collectivized Agriculture: A Comparative Study of Communist and Non-communist Systems, New York 1979, p. 99.

648 D. Jarosz, Polityka władz…, op. cit., p. 150.

649 Cf. e.g. A. Maddison (The World Economy, vol. 2, op. cit.) estimates the rate of growth in GDP in the Polish People’s Republic was significantly lower, somewhere in the range of 2–2.5 percent annually during the Stalinist era. W. Orłowski (Gospodarka polska w ostatnim tysiącleciu, believes that real growth during this period may have been closer to zero.

650 M. Bałtowski, Gospodarka socjalistyczna…, op. cit., p. 171.

651 J. Ambroziewicz, R. Wiśniowski, “Tam zapomniano o socjalizmie”, Po Prostu, 1955, no. 39, quoted in A. Zawistowski, Kombinat, Warszawa–Białystok 2009, pp. 350–351.

652 I. T. Berend, Central and Eastern…, op. cit., p. 79.

653 “Wystąpienie Hilarego Minca na VIII Plenum KC PZPR, 19–21 października 1956 r.”, Nowe drogi, October 1956, no. 10, pp. 123–125.

654 T. Kowalik, Spory o ustrój…, op. cit., p. 96.

655 Rada Ekonomiczna przy Radzie Ministrów, Przegląd bieżącej sytuacji gospodarczej kraju i zadania stojące przed polityką gospodarczą, Warszawa 1957.

656 T. Kowalik, “Michał Kalecki a pierwsze reformy gospodarcze w Polsce”, Nauka Polska 1989, no. 2.

657 G. Temkin, Dyskusje o gospodarce socjalistycznej: Marks-Lange-Mises-Hayek, Warszawa 2011.

658 E. Łukawer, Spór o racjonalność gospodarki socjalistycznej. Z historii problemu, Kraków 2005.

659 Cf. also L. von Mises, “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth” trans. S. Adler, [in:] Collectivist Economic Planning, ed. F.A. Hayek, London 1935, pp. 87–130, available at; von Mises expands his argument in Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, New Have 1951, available at

660 E. Łukawer, Spór o racjonalnosć…, op. cit., p. 42.

661 O. Lange, “On the Economic Theory of Socialism”, The Review of Economic Studies, 1936, no. 1 (Part One); 1937, no. 2 (Part Two); O. Lange, On the Economic Theory of Socialism, Minneapolis 1938.

662 O. Lange, “On the Economic Theory of Socialism: Part One”, The Review of Economic Studies, 1936, no. 1, p. 66.

663 E. Łukawer, Spór o racjonalność…, op. cit., pp. 194–195.

664 O. Lange, “On the Economic Theory of Socialism: Part Two”, The Review of Economic Studies, 1937, no. 2, p. 127.

665 M. Dobb, Political Economy and Capitalism, London 1950, pp. 244–245.

666 J. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, New York 2003, p. 410.

667 Ibid.

668 F. A. Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society”, The American Economic Review, September 1945, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 519–520.

669 G. Temkin, Dyskusje o gospodarce socjalistycznej…, op. cit., p. 68.

670 Originally published as “Maszyna licząca i rynek” in 1966, Lange’s article appeared in English under this title in Capitalism, Socialism and Economic Growth: Essays Presented to Maurice Dobb, ed. C. Feinstein, Cambridge 1967, pp. 158–161.

671 W. Brus, Zmora ref ormowania…, op. cit., p. 30.

672 W. Brus, “System jugosłowiański z bliska”, Życie Gospodarcze, 7 January 1957, no. 1.

673 B. Popławski, Polska szkoła rozwoju…, op. cit.

674 C. Bobrowski, Planowanie gospodarcze. Problemy podstawowe, Warszawa 1965, p. 45.

675 J. López, M. Assous, Michal Kalecki, Houndmills–New York 2010, p. 198.

676 J. Osiatyński, Michał Kalecki o gospodarce socjalistycznej, Warszawa 1983, p. 13.

677 Originally published in Warsaw in 1963 as Zarys teorii wzrostu gospodarki socjalistycznej, Kalecki’s book appeared in English in volume four of a seven-volume collection of his works: J. Kalecki, Collected Works of Michal Kalecki, ed. Jerzy Osiatyński, Oxford–New York 1991–1997.

678 Quoted in J. Kalecki, Collected Works of Michal Kalecki. Volume 4, Socialism: Economic Growth and Efficiency of Investment, ed. Jerzy Osiatyński, trans. B. Jung, Oxford–New York 1993, p. 241.

679 Ibid., pp. 242–258.

680 J. López, M. Assous, Michal Kalecki…, op. cit., pp. 174–175.

681 J. Ptasiński, “Gomułka – jakiego znałem”, [in:] Władysław Gomułka we wspomnieniach, ed. B. Szyzdek, Lublin 1989, p. 293.

682 W. Morawski, “Poglądy gospodarcze Władysława Gomułki”, [in:] Gospodarka i społeczeństwo w czasach PRL-u (1944–1989), eds. E. Kościk, T. Głowiński, Wrocław 2007, p. 327.

683 S. Kisielewski, Dzienniki, Warszawa 2001, p. 419.

684 Ł. Dwilewicz, Reformy…, op. cit., p. 79.

685 B. Minc, Ekonomia polityczna socjalizmu, Warszawa 1973, pp. 134–135.

686 A. Bocheński, Rzecz o psychice narodu polskiego, Warszawa 1972, p. 53.

687 Ibid.

688 Ibid., p. 76.

689 M. Mazurek, Społeczeństwo kolejki. O doświadczeniach niedoboru 1945–1989, Warszawa 2010, pp. 154–155.

690 Z. Landau, “Etapy rozwoju Polski Ludowej”, Przegląd Historyczny 1987, no. 2.

691 Cf. A. Müller, “Przyspieszony wzrost gospodarczy w Polsce w latach 1971–1975”, Zeszyty naukowe Uczelni Warszawskiej im. Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie, 2011, no. 33.

692 J. Kaliński, Gospodrka Polski w latach 1944–1989. Przemiany strukturalne, Warszawa 1995, p. 153

693 M. Bałtowski, Gospodarka socjalistyczna…, op. cit., p. 224.

694 skarżyli się na nie np. autorzy listów do tygodnika Po Prostu – Cf. A. Leszczyński, Sprawy do załatwienia. Listy do “Po Prostu” 1955–1957, Warszawa 2000.

695 Te zjawiska próbowali opisywać już w latach 70. socjologowie. Cf. np. A. Rychard, “Władza i gospodarka” [in:] Zmierzch socjalizmu państwowego. Szkice z socjologii ekonomicznej, ed. W. Morawski, Warszawa 1994, p. 48 ff.; also W. Narojek, Społeczeństwo planujące, próba socjologii gospodarki socjalistycznej, Warszawa 1973, p. 281 ff.

696 J. Kotowicz-Jawor, Presja inwestycyjna…, op. cit., p. 22.

697 E. Balcerowicz, Przetarg planistyczny. Mechanizm i skutki społeczno-gospodarcze, Warszawa 1990, p. 64.

698 J. Kotowicz-Jawor, Presja inwestycyjna…, op. cit., p. 76.

699 E. Balcerowicz, Przetarg planistyczny…, op. cit. p. 112.

700 J. Kotowicz-Jawor, Presja inwestycyjna…, op. cit., p. 113.

701 M. Bałtowski, Gospodarka socjalistyczna…, op. cit., p. 253.

702 Cf. W. Kuczyński, Po Wielkim Skoku, Warszawa 2012.

703 B. Eichengreen, The European Economy since 1945. Coordinated capitalism and beyond, Princeton 2007, p. 300.

704 M. Zaremba, Zimno, ciepło, gorąco. Nastroje Polaków od “zimy stulecia” do lata ’80, in press. I would like to thank dr. Marcin Zaremba for making the article available to me.

705 P. Bożyk, Marzenia i rzeczywistość, czyli anatomia polskiego kryzysu, Warszawa 1983, p. 80.

706 M. Bałtowski, Gospodarka socjalistyczna…, op. cit., p. 236.

707 M. Zaremba, “‘Bigosowy socjalizm’. Dekada Gierka”, [in:] Polacy wobec PRL. Strategie przystosowawcze, ed. G. Miernik, Kielce 2003.

708 I. T. Berend, Central and Eastern Europe…, op. cit., p. 184.

709 J. Kornai, By Force of Thought: Irregular Memoirs of an Intellectual Journey, Cambridge 2008, p. 51.

710 B. Eichengreen, European economy…, op. cit., p. 301.

711 J. Kornai, The Socialist System. The Political Economy of Communism, Oxford 1992, p. 296.

712 J. Chumiński, “Strukturalne uwarunkowania nieefektywności gospodarki socjalistycznej”, [in:] Modernizacja czy pozorna modernizacja. Społeczno-ekonomiczny bilans PRL 1944–1989, ed. J. Chumiński, Wrocław 2010.

713 W. Orłowski, W pogoni za straconym czasem. Wzrost gospodarczy w Europie Środkowo-Wschodniej 1950–2030, Warszawa 2010, pp. 53–60.

714 D. Acemoglu, J. Robinson, Why Nations Fail. The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, New York 2012, p. 126.

715 Cf. also J. Kochanowicz, “Początki planowania w Polsce po II wojnie światowej w perspektywie porównawczej”, [in:] Ekonomia i ekonomiści w czasach przełomu, eds. E. Mączyńska, J. Wilkin, Warszawa 2010, pp. 203–205.

716 Cf. Sprawy gospodarcze w dokumentach pierwszej “Solidarności”, vol. 1, 16 sierpnia 1980–30 czerwca 1981, eds. J. Luszniewicz, A. Zawistowski, Warszawa 2008.