Transitional Economic Systems: The Polish-Czech Example

By Dorothy W. Douglas | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
PLANNING METHODS AND THE GROWTH OF CONTROL

I. POLISH EXPERIENCE: THE AREA OF CONTROL

L ike everything else in post-war Poland, the process of national economic planning had started under difficult circumstances. Records had largely been destroyed, the simplest necessities for new record-keeping were at first lacking. The Office of the Plan for the Rebuilding of Warsaw, for example, began without typists and typewriters, without sufficient desks, chairs, paper, and even pencils. Trains were not running, and before coming to his office the director would have spent some time standing in line for water to bring his wife for her household. Production itself was at first chaotic and prices wildly unstable. Moreover, among the survivors of the Occupation and war there was a great lack of planning personnel. Statisticians and clerks alike had in no small part to learn their tasks on the job.

As for foreign examples and foreign aid, the precise methods employed by the Soviet Union apparently remained undisclosed to the Polish planners. Soviet planning literature, in Russian, was available to some extent in libraries.

As indicated earlier, planning began at first on a sectional basis, led by the production plan for the coal industry, with other industries following; and by the latter part of 1946 there was a nine-months' financial plan. Finally planning widened to embrace the whole economic structure, with full-fledged plans for both production and investment, the whole 'creation and distribution of the national income'. It is to be noted, however, that within the scope of the Three-Year Plan cultural and health services were not yet actually planned. Overall figures for their development were indicated, but no detailed plan was drawn up. Also in the whole sphere of consumption, while numerous figures were given indicating per capita estimates, these were as yet only derivative from the corresponding production figures. Consumption as such was not yet planned.

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