One of my daily reads is the excellent website Quartz. It’s a fascinating mix of business, economics, finance, and other sorts of things that are right up my alley. It is modern journalism at its finest and if you want to learn about (and understand) the world today, you really should read it, too. (For the record, I’m not a paid representative of Quartz and no one working there asked me to say this.)
I have read two pieces on Quartz recently about Poland, a country I have yet to visit (but would really like to visit). The first is by programmer/project manager Sean Crabtree and is called I left America for the real land of promise – Poland.
After seven years living in New York City’s hustle and bustle, working as a digital products manager for a major media company, my wife and I decided to leave and see the world. If you’d told either of us that within a year we’d be living full lives with satisfying jobs in southern Poland, we never would’ve believed you. After a year and a half here, we have no plans of returning to the US.
We chose Kraków because we have close friends here, who also left New York City in 2010 after not finding work for nine long months. Now they own a translating, teaching and proofreading business and are so busy with clients that they constantly have to turn down work. When they first announced their intention to move to Poland, I was taken aback by what seemed to be a radical plan, but now it makes perfect sense. They left their (home)land of opportunity for one that’s truly earning that reputation.
Basically, Crabtree works in the technology industry in Poland and that is amazing. I don’t speak Polish, but I would be willing to give it a try if I lived in Poland.
The next piece I read on Poland was published today and is called What’s behind the Polish economic miracle? The interesting stuff comes at the end of the article.
One, ironically enough, that Balcerowicz’s [a former central banker of Poland] warnings against ideology apply across the board. His tight money policy as a central banker from 2002 to 2007 (and Polish banks’ strict lending standards) likely helped Poland avoid asset bubbles as the country was awash in foreign credit from 2004-8, but would have likely been problematic if adopted during the crisis.
Two, that structures can be as important as decision-making: The institutions Balcerowicz helped create as a liberalizing reformer in the nineties, particularly a free-floating currency, were key to the robust performance of his country during the crisis.
And finally, that austerity doesn’t necessarily create the best climate for structural reform: It’s easy to criticize Greece, as Balcerwociz does, for being slow to adopt changes to its labor markets and social contract, but those kinds of changes often require accommodating monetary policy to diminish their economic and political costs.
Basically, Poland is amazing. And I want to live there. You really can’t blame me for saying this, as I live in a country that has possibly the worst economic policy in decades. My country, the United States, is going to go bankrupt quite soon. Remember how I was devastated about the election results? I haven’t discussed politics very much on this blog, but the main reason I’m devastated is because of this administration’s inane economic policy and insistence of spending, spending, and more spending.
Okay, I’m getting a bit off-topic here. Bottom line: I love Poland and want to move there. My criticisms of economic policy can wait for another post.