Chapter 9: A Collision of Emotions, Ideology and Economics
I stressed, primarily in Chapter 7, that stabilization had been the most contentious part of the “Holy Trinity” of transition from early to late 1990s. Battles were, however, mainly intellectual and policy-oriented. An average citizen of a transition country was not directly involved and arguments used were way above his or her level of economic competence (extremely low, given the economic illiteracy reigning under communism!).
About the only moment his or her concerns touched the stabilization was when wages were negotiated between a given trade union and state enterprise management (that is in the absence of a real owner!). So, in Poland they protested, for example, against the introduced tax on excessive wages (a part of the stabilization program for a few years). But the foregoing were, in fact, trivial pursuits. Much more depended on the stabilization part; I reminisced at length on the issues involved – and battles about them – in Chapter 7 above.
In parallel with my specific involvement in the stabilization issues (see in particular the work on the “Beksiak Report”), I have always been deeply interested in – and concerned about – the privatization part of the “Holy Trinity” of transition. It pre-dated the start of transition, please note the seminars I co-organized in Kazimierz Dolny on the new private sector and privatization of state enterprises in 1987–88, the years directly preceding the “game over” verdict on communism by history.
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