【Tadeusz Kowalik】 体制転換の10年━バンカリーとポーランドの教訓から
Tadeusz Kowalik "The Ugly Face of Polish Success"
Professor Kowalik began his talk by saying that he would not be precisely following the text of his paper "The Ugly Face of Polish Success". He divided the talk into a discussion of three groups of problems: first, the methods and tools that have been used to create new socioeconomic systems in Poland; second, the "narrowly economic" results of 10 years of Polish economic transformation; and third, the ugly face or social consequences of Polish success, which have been largely ignored in Western celebrations of "success" in Poland. He then said that in his conclusion he would discuss the prospects for the integration of the Polish economy into the European Union.
Professor Kowalik began by stating that the methods of bringing about economic transformation in Poland may be simply characterized as the "Big Bang" or "shock therapy" approach which has been discussed in thousands of articles. This approach, however, was not stressed in the official domestic propaganda which accompanied the introduction of the Balcerowicz Plan in 1989-91. At the time, politicians presented the new economic policies to the domestic audience not as an attempt at systemic change but rather as a stabilization program aimed at controlling hyperinflation. Just as a person in a burning building can think only of escape, these politicians argued, Poland was compelled to act quickly to bring inflation under control. Only a small number of policymakers were using Jeffrey Sachs's terms and speaking of Poland's "jump into the market economy" and the creation of a new socioeconomic system.
Describing himself as an evolutionary economist, Professor Kowalik stated that he had from the beginning criticized shock therapy and big bangs as impossible because changes in socioeconomic systems require the long-term internalization of new forms of behavior. However, looking back at the last ten years he felt compelled to revise his opinion somewhat, in that shock therapy did in fact lead to a great systemic change in the Polish socioeconomy and created the foundations of a new system within only 2-3 years. From this perspective, what was often described as "overshooting" and excessively severe policy from the point of view of macroeconomic stabilization was in fact instrumental in creating the new system. However, this "overshooting" has also led to a great shift in the distribution of national income in Poland. Over the period from 1990-3 in particular there was a substantial transfer of income from the poor to the rich. Although time constraints prevented Professor Kowalik from going into this issue in detail, he noted, first, that the share of wages and salaries in individual incomes in Poland dropped from 46% in 1988 to just over 28% three years later. Second, in those three years the incomes of individual peasants have dropped dramatically while profits grew by 250%. The early 1990s thus witnessed a polarization of the social structure and were a decisive period for Poland.
2. The Economic Results of the 1990s
Professor Kowalik began this section of his talk by noting that he usually opposes the notion of a "transformational recession", or of recession as a necessary consequence of socioeconomic transformation. Rather, he argues that the Polish recession was caused by governmental decisions. He noted here that while it is difficult to be certain to what extent politicians were aware that their policies were based on fundamentally unrealistic assumptions (assuming for instance that national income would drop only 3% and industrial production 5%), Poland's experience in the 1990s is a glaring illustration of Karl Popper's arguments regarding the unintended and undesired effects of sociotechnical projects. The recession which followed upon the shock therapy policies pursued in Poland was unprecedented in its depth, with national income not returning to its 1989 level until 1998 and real wages still below the 1989 figure (during the 1980s, as well, real wages were stagnant). National income dropped 18%, production 25%, permanent unemployment rose to three million people over four years, and inflation was below 10% in only one year during the 1990s.
However, GDP growth rates in Poland have generally been quite high (around 5%) over the last 5-6 years, and Professor Kowalik turned next to an explanation of this growth. He noted first the irony that although proponents of free-market economics in Poland have stressed the inefficiencies of Communist economic policy and the maldevelopment of the industrial structure (in particular, the overdevelopment of heavy industry and the prevalence of obsolete, unusable capacity) as of 1989, these same analysts attributed recent drops in economic growth to the exhaustion of the potential of the old apparatus of production developed before 1989. Professor Kowalik took this about-face to mean that while the old apparatus was to some extent obsolete, it would have been possible to attain good economic growth in Poland with a low level of investment and with minimal disruption (but with some shift of the productive apparatus from the state to the private sector) had development policy focused on preexisting productive capacity.
3. The Ugly Face of Market Economics in Poland
Turning to the main features of the experience with market economics in Poland, Professor Kowalik made a number of points.
- The unemployment rate peaked at 16%, dropped between 1994 and 1997 to around 10%, and, over the last two years, has begun to rise again; the latest available figure is 15.8%. A demographic peak in the early 1980s (which, Professor Kowalik noted in an aside, some observers attribute to the frequent electricity shortages which accompanied martial law) means that in the late 1990s the number of labor market entrants has begun to grow rapidly, and as a result it is fairly certain that unemployment will continue to grow. Government spokespeople, including participants in the Solidarity movement under Communism, have come to speak of the "natural" unemployment rate in Poland as being approximately 8-10% and have suggested that little can be done to lower the rate below this figure. However bad these figures may appear, the real unemployment situation in Poland is in fact worse, as up to 1/3 of unemployed people simply don't bother to register. The lack of interest in registration is explained in part by the fact that only 22% of the registered unemployed receive any formal benefits from the state, a figure which is as low as 2% in some regions. Poland's biggest social problem, high unemployment, has contributed to a high poverty rate-- in Hungary, the poverty rate is less than half that in Poland, while that in other countries in Central and Eastern Europe is approximately 1/3 of Poland's.
- Poland's economy has come to be characterized by very high income disparities. The Gini coefficient is one of the highest in Europe and is almost as high as that in the United States. In 1995, the lowest decile of Polish households received only 2% of national income, as compared to 3.8% in Hungary and roughly 4% in other Central European countries. Managers, meanwhile, received very high perks, with CEO salaries 50 to 60 times the average wage. These inequalities continue to grow.
- Agriculture has suffered greatly. While production has remained roughly constant throughout the 1990s, incomes have collapsed as Polish farmers have had to compete with very highly subsidized agricultural imports from Western Europe.
- The situation in housing is similarly catastrophic, despite the irony that one of the central demands of Solidarity was for a dramatic increase in homebuilding.
- 19th century working conditions have become prevalent in the newly-created private sector, particularly in eastern Poland where there are large numbers of illegal immigrants and wages are often below the legal minimum.
- It is not possible to say that the new authorities have dismantled the Polish welfare state, as the total amount of income redistributed by the state has dropped by only a couple of percentage points over the last 10 years (to about 46-7%). However, the structure of expenditures has changed significantly, as high unemployment and poverty have biased spending towards alleviation measures and away from such sectors as education and health.
- Although Poland's privatization process took on the character of a war between social groups, Poland's method of privatization was not the worst in Central Europe. The process began with promises of democratizing ownership through 15 national investment funds. This project, while essentially a failure, affected only a marginal amount of national wealth, and so the damage it caused was relatively minor. There have also been unexpected positive results of privatization, with the most important being the mushrooming of employee companies. These companies have quite good working conditions, are comparatively efficient, and have been described by one report as "oases of social peace." Professor Kowalik noted in this connection that foreign capital has not been particularly important in Poland since the fall of Communism, and that inflows have only begun to become substantial in the last three years. Foreign capital has been interested mainly in the internal market in Poland (and only a limited number of sectors of that market), and as a result of their extensive imports but very limited exports, several years ago foreign firms contributed 70% of the Polish trade deficit.
Prospects for integration and the character of the model being created
Professor Kowalik began the last section of his talk by noting that the Solidarity government has wanted to be seen as the most radical in Eastern Europe. The government has tried to introduce the most full-fledged market economy in the shortest possible time in this attempt to be (in his words) "first in the class." There have, however, been high social costs associated with this drive to be "more free-market than the IMF," with the ironic result that although Poland has striven to become a part of Western Europe the economy being created is actually much closer to Anglo-Saxon models. Again ironically, it is in fact the impoverishment of workers and peasants attendant upon this pursuit of radical economic reform which ultimately poses the biggest barrier to Poland's joining that body.