Poland's Property Rights Problem in the Transition
The preponderance of state ownership over other forms of property was the main characteristic of property rights in Poland during the last forty years. State ownership was supplemented to some extent with cooperative ownership, while private property was rather marginal in non-agricultural branches of economy. In 1987, the state owned 80.9 percent of all fixed assets outside agriculture, while the share of cooperative ownership was 10.5 percent, and that of private ownership was 8.3 percent.
In agriculture, the situation was different. In 1987, private farmers owned 72.3 percent of all fixed assets and 71.8 percent of the land. The position of private property in Polish agriculture, for reasons mentioned later in this chapter, was an exception in communist countries (excluding Yugoslavia).
Thus, the command economy in Poland was accompanied by a characteristic hierarchy of forms of property: state ownership as the principal form, the cooperative sector as a subsidiary one, and private property as a residual form.
A second feature of property rights characteristic to the command economy was strict state control of all non-state forms of ownership. First, the state controlled the price mechanism. It set prices, wages, and interest rates and allocated rationed resources (bank loans, foreign exchange, machinery, energy, etc.). Second, the state limited direct property rights,