Transitional Economic Systems: The Polish-Czech Example

By Dorothy W. Douglas | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
DISSOLVING THE PRIVATE SECTOR

S ome of the characteristics of the 'People's Democracy' type of pattern for a transition economy should by now have become evident. In these countries' discussions it was not only a question of the rate of change from private to public ownership, but of the basic means whereby change was to be carried out. The 'People's Democracies' had always laid prime emphasis upon the absence of major centres of opposition economic strength to thwart their policies. Even in Stage 1 of their régimes they claimed that it was only the circumstances of war-time capital destruction and early land reform that had made partial nationalization schemes and planning effective. Under Stage 2 they made clear that they considered the danger of a re-coalescence of hostile economic and hence political power centres much more threatening than the relatively smooth picture drawn by the Gomułka school would suggest. Strong political domination against these groups, they now held, would always be needed in a transition period, and active economic measures must be taken to break down their power. In effect, there was now considered to be no one critical economic point after which all would be smooth sailing: the process of building a socialist structure, whether slow or fast, would have to be continuous and militant right up 2to the end. Moreover, in view of the situation in the European variant of a 'People's Democracy', it was a relatively fast pace that was decided upon.

The present chapter tries to draw together the many different types of economic and administrative means used to make the private sector dwindle.


Early Relations

In Poland and Czechoslovakia in the early post-war period, once the initial land reform and nationalization measures had taken effect, the status of private property had been approximately as follows.

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