October 6, 2005


Poland hesitates amid push for economic reform: Get-tough presidential candidate Donald Tusk loses ground ahead of Sunday's vote. (Andreas Tzortzis, 10/07/05, The Christian Science Monitor)

Fed up with an 18 percent unemployment rate (the highest in the EU), an ineffective health-care system, and the corruption of the previous government, Poles appeared ready to thrust the country toward the free-market policies espoused by presidential candidate Donald Tusk of the neo-liberal Civic Platform party.

But now, two days before Sunday's election, Poles seem to be pulling back from economic reform, showing more support for Mr. Tusk's rival Lech Kaczynski, whose conservative Law and Justice party promises to retain more of the comforts associated with a welfare state. A poll released Thursday showed Mr. Kaczynski trailing Tusk by 9 points, narrowing the 18-point gap registered two weeks ago.

Like their German counterparts, who last month reduced their support at the last minute for Angela Merkel's get-tough economic platform in favor of Gerhard Schröder's welfare policies, Poles seem stuck between a desire for change and an unwillingness to bear the short-term costs of needed reforms. In Poland's parliamentary elections Sept. 25,the hitherto popular Civic Platform party's call for privatization of state industries, a flat-tax rate, and social cuts appeared to unsettle voters in the final week, giving Law and Justice 27 percent of the vote to Civic Platform's 24 percent.

Can you go as smoothly from thesis to synthesis as from thesis to antithesis to synthesis?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 6, 2005 9:17 PM

Going from thesis to synthesis is what anti-intellectuals do, provided some education and good habits.

Posted by: Scof at October 7, 2005 3:51 AM

How would a nation that was communist for fifty years develop good habits? The question isn't whether it's possible, but whether it's as easy.

Posted by: oj at October 7, 2005 7:35 AM