Privatization in Central and Eastern Europe: Perspectives and Approaches

By Demetrius S. Iatridis; June Gary Hopps | Go to book overview

Chapter 7 The Concept of Mass Privatization in Poland: Theoretical and Practical Considerations

JACEK KLICH

As the result of an overwhelming victory of Solidarity in a partially free election in May 1989, the first non-Communist government of Taduesz Mazowiecki was formed in Poland in September of that year. A bold program of marketization (systemic institutional changes) and stabilization, called the Balcerowicz plan after the minister of finance who formulated it, was presented to Parliament in October 1989 ( Gŀówne, 1989) and was introduced, after a short period of preparation, on January 1, 1990.

The marketization program consisted of the liberalization of almost all prices; the elimination of almost all subsidies; the abolition of the administrative allocation of resources and goods produced; freedom to establish private businesses; the liberalization of international economic relations, which included free access to foreign trade by all; and the internal convertibility of a 32 percent devaluation of the zloty (the Polish currency) ( Fallenbuchi, 1994). In addition, highly restrictive monetary, fiscal, and income policies were introduced.

The most important component of the program of systemic changes in Poland, as in many other Central European countries, was privatization ( Fisher and Gelb, 1991). Liberalization, demonopolization, and privatization were considered necessary for improving the efficiency of the Polish economy ( Beksiak, 1994; Mujźel, 1993).


STRATEGIES FOR PRIVATIZING STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES

The Polish privatization program began on July 13, 1990, with the enactment of the law O prywatyzacji przedsiębiorstw państwowych (The Act on the Privatization of State-Owned Enterprises) ("Ustawa o prywatyzacji," 1990). The

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