Country Listing

Poland Table of Contents


Marketization and Stabilization

The first noncommunist government in Eastern Europe was formed in Poland by Tadeusz Mazowiecki after Solidarity won an overwhelming victory in the parliamentary election of June 1989. The government came to office on September 12 and within one month announced an ambitious program of economic reforms. The objective was not to improve the socialist system, as had been the case in previous reforms, but to accomplish a rapid and complete transformation from the Soviet-type economy into a capitalist system and to reintegrate the Polish economy into the world economy.

Under the best of circumstances, accomplishing such a transformation would be an enormous task. But, like other Comecon countries, Poland had an inefficient industrial structure that was fuel- and material-intensive and a foreign trade mechanism incompatible with expansion of exports to the West. The inherited system did not support greater supply of consumer goods, nor was it any longer appropriate for trade with Poland's Comecon partners, all of which were now restructuring their economies according to national requirements and resources. Without fundamental restructuring, the economy faced further declines in production, high unemployment, and strong inflationary pressure. Therefore, the first postcommunist Polish governments pursued economic reform with great urgency, although they had limited success.

Data as of October 1992