Dealing with harmful side-effects:
Opportunities and threats in the
emerging Polish market
This chapter demonstrates the difficulties involved in the moral evaluation of business in a transformation process. The principle of double effect is discussed in relation specifically to the Polish economy and to a typical Polish company in a phase of restructuring and adaptation from a planned economy to a market economy.
All companies are under a general obligation not to do harm to the communities in which they operate, including not violating anyone's rights.1 But we need to keep in mind that running a business in the particular market reality of a troubled developing country such as Poland is different from running a business in a developed country. The Polish market situation is unique owing to the transformation process in the economy, which is still proceeding. The potential for harm is greater in an unstable and transforming economy, and the impact of business enterprises is greater too – as is their scope of influence. Naturally, in the Polish market thereareafew democratic institutions functioning to safeguard the community against negative corporate impacts. But Polish democratic institutions are also still developing and are less experienced in dealing with the specific problems of the free market than are similar institutions in the old democracies.
It is important to remember that, since the turning point of 1989, Poland has undergone great political, social, and economic changes. The