The challenge of crisis

Marek Jurek

In the times of the world financial crisis the Polish government has remained passive as far as the increasing symptoms of the crisis are concerned. The calming words show political helplessness of the liberal government as its policy statement. The government of Donald Tusk thinks of waiting for the end of the crisis, evidently believing that Poland deserves a miracle…

Instead of taking some actions the government prefers to divide the society by arranging a referendum together with the anti-PiS opposition to eliminate the Polish currency. We can preserve or lose the national currency. Therefore, such a closed problem is a very comfortable way to control public opinion. However, in the name of political responsibility one should ask: why should we open it and why does the President together with the opposition have a hand in it? Since in the times of crisis, instead of arranged arguments one needs a real and concrete agreement, first of all to defend Poland against the groups of financial interests and shifting the burden of the crisis onto the weaker countries by the domineering European Union members. One must evaluate the past with sincerity in order to move away from the wrong policy of selling out the Polish banks to foreign capitals, which we could not stop within the last twenty years. Today the international owners, who were to strengthen the Polish banks in a ‘strategic’ way, have begun draining their financial means, treating the Polish branches as sources of income that the central banks can use in a time of crisis. Our state financial control has been passive and the politicians have remained silent. The politics of cooling our economy, which reached its peak during the government of Buzek and Balcerowicz, and the fundamental mechanism of which – expensive loans – has been regrettably preserved, needs to be revised. Compared with other European countries Poland has high interest rates. One of the effects is to push the Polish debt abroad. Moreover, facing the international decrease in demand, foreign concerns with their companies being the biggest Polish exporters, limit their production in their international and not in the parent firms. The present economic crisis shows the whole spectrum of the falsity of the widely promoted thesis about the nationally neutral character of foreign capital. However, the most important problem is moving financial means from the Polish banks to their international centres and thus seriously limiting the possibility to provide credits for the Polish economy. This limitation of loans does not only affect house building but also the sphere of production and export. And this makes the development of our country slow down. In this situation the idea of accepting the EU currency is a mixture of economic magic and political marketing. Accepting euro means losing steerability in our economy. The high exchange rate will cause further limitation of export and weakening of our companies that must export their products. And in turn such a rate will minimize the inevitable increase in prices and costs of running households. The only benefits will be the profits of trade companies that depend on import and a bigger comfort of luxurious consumption. Instead of economic euro-magic the Right of the Republic proposes actions aiming at protecting the Polish economy against the crisis. Above all, in the European field we must oppose (seeking the support of other countries) the ideas of transferring the financial control onto the supranational level and even more we must oppose the ideas of the European ‘contribution’ to the crisis fund in which the countries that have lived in a more economical way will pay for those who have lived beyond their means. In the sphere of control one needs concrete actions taken by our own institutions against moving the financial resources of the Polish banks abroad by their foreign owners. It is necessary to depreciate the state banks and give state guaranty to these banks that would strengthen their possibilities to finance these fields of economy from which the international banks have withdrawn their capital. The demands to assume responsibility for the financial losses of foreign capital by Poland should be regarded as misunderstanding.
Instead the state (in the situation of banking crisis) should support financing infrastructure and house building. It must be accompanied by acceleration in raising the EU funds due to us and the means from international financial institutions for development. The inflow of these means would also prevent the uncontrolled depreciation of the Polish currency. Moreover, one should keep the present investment principles of the Open Retirement Funds. Their means must work for the Polish economy. Finally, preserving the productive possibilities of the Polish economy, endangered by the imposed limitation of carbon dioxide, is fundamental to prevent the crisis in Poland. These kinds of ‘limits of development’ clearly evoke crisis factors. But what we need is new investments in power industry based on coal, being a factor of our competitive advantage. The crisis in Europe exists and we must also face it. Difficult situations are always a criterion for our national leadership. The present crisis shows its weakness, both in its strategy and efficiency. Thus bigger responsibility is placed on public opinion that can incline the authority to act for the national interest. The thing is that today Poland should preserve her possibilities of development and should avoid being entangled in those problems for which she does not bear any responsibility.

"Niedziela" 49/2008

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: