Aktualności | O nas | Konferencje | Seminaria | Publikacje | "Tygryski" | Kontakt | Linki | Mapa serwisu







Working Papers


























"Polish Market", April 2001



Globalisation: one can win or loose


Interview with Professor Grzegorz W. Kołodko, distinguished economist, prominent politician, author of "Strategy for Poland" and architect of reforms which brought Poland to the OECD


 Professor Kołodko is a lecturer at Polish and American universities and consultant of the international organisations. In 1994-97 he served as First Deputy Premier and Finance Minister. He is also the author of numerous scientific books and papers published in 20 languages, mostly in English. Currently he serves as the Director of TIGER - Transformation, Integration and Globalisation Economic Research (www.tiger.edu.pl) at the Leon Koźmiński Academy of Entrepreneurship and Management (WSPiZ).


Q:  Your latest book Moja globalizacja (My globalisation) is a special publication in your rich scientific carrier.


A: Indeed, Moja globalizacja is a book of special character, since it also contains certain personal reflections. Sharing my observations on globalisation I deal with the subject as I see it through my own academic work and endeavours in international organisations. Also I attempt to explain the reasons of my withdrawal from government in 1997, what I did when everything that could be done under the existing circumstances had been successfully accomplished. The good results of those years are strikingly evident against the background of the meagre results of the early as well as the final years of the past decade.


 Q:  Dookoła świata i z powrotem (Around the world and back) - that is the subtitle of your book. What was your agenda during the years that you spent working overseas and travelling so much?


 A: That time has been just another episode in my professional life, during which, so to say, I was coming back until I came back for good. The basic fruit of these four years consists of four books. Aside the last one, the Oxford University Press published in 2000 the monograph written during my fellowship at United Nations WIDER, From Shock to Therapy. The Political Economy of Postsocialist Transformation. This book has been already released also in Polish, Chinese, and Russian and soon will be published in Japanese. Post-Communist Transition. The Thorny Road (University of Rochester Press 2000) is the result of my endeavours in international financial institutions, the World Bank and IMF in 1998-2000. Three years earlier, in 1997, another book was published jointly with Professor Mario Nuti - The Polish Alternative. Old Myths, Hard Facts and New Strategies in Successful Transformation of Polish Economy. It is published too in Polish, Russian and Chinese. Apart from research work, writing and publishing a lot of papers and articles, I have been giving lectures in economics, political sciences and management from Yale to UCLA and, occasionally, on the development of global economy and postsocialist transformation around the world - from Brazil to India, from Ukraine to South Africa, from Australia to Finland.


 Q: Could you explain what is the aim of your new think-tank - the TIGER?  


 A: When professor Koźmiński - the rector of WSPiZ - suggested that it would be worthwhile to continue my research and lectures on transformation, integration and globalisation in his school, I decided to accept the invitation. A centre to this effect was set up as TIGER. The word comes from the first letters of the English name, i.e. Transformation, Integration and Globalisation Economic Research.   

 A wide array of scientific activities - e.g. seminars, conferences, publications and interactive website - in economics, finance and economic policy are pursued. TIGER collaborates with prominent scientists from throughout the world - from China to Chile. The Scientific Council is chaired by Professor Robert A. Mundell, the Nobel laureate in economics and the Board members are from the whole word. Indeed, TIGER is getting global.


 Q: So you have taken up the position of an expert. The institute, research work, conferences, publications, students. And - as the leading Polish economist - you still travel a lot. But people say that Professor Kołodko will not be able to live such a quiet life for long.  It is also said that you are a real "political animal".


A: I am not an "animal" at all and have even become a vegetarian. However, the fact is that by temperament I am a fighter, for there are things worth struggling for, i.e. a sensible transformation, gainful integration and fast economic growth. An incessant struggle has also to be pursued to prove the correctness of ones scientific arguments; one cannot stand idly by waiting until history proves them right.

        Economics is not just a descriptive science that interprets ongoing phenomena but also a normative science laying down what should be done to improve the things. And that verges already on politics.  It is for that reason that I have been always concerned simultaneously with the theory of economics and with economic policy perceived as a branch of science. Yet occasionally I have also become involved in active economic policy as the policy maker.


Q. People wonder whether you will return to politics.  Many people outright expect you to do so. Well, will you?


 A. I became involved in politics when two conditions had been met at the same time, and that is when "Strategy for Poland" was accepted as the appropriate economic programme and when favourable political conditions emerged facilitating the implementation of this strategy. And now?  So, an outline of such programme - "Strategy for Poland: 21st Century" - has been drafted. It focuses on four basic elements: fast economic growth, equitable income distribution, fruitful integration with the world economy and effective citizenship state. It remains to be seen whether proper political conditions will emerge to implement such strategy.  

If indeed people so often are wondering whether I will return to active politics or not, I think they recall that together we were able to get out of the dire straits in which Poland found itself as a result of ill-advised "shock without therapy".  They also remember that in 1994-97 the GDP rose by as much as 28 percent and that Poland's economy has significantly enhanced its competitive edge at the time. Nowadays, as the economy tends to be stagnant due to the damaging cooling off policy pursued by the present government, many people would like to see a reversal to well-proven policies. This is feasible, yet one must be aware that this is not easy.

The prospects for Poland are bright but they were also promising three years ago. However, the existing opportunities have been squandered by erratic economic policies. Although I know that the situation could be changed for the better in the future, I am equally aware that this must not be necessarily so.  

There is one thing I can say for sure: an effective economy policy can be pursued only on the ground of a sound economic theory. It was neither the case of early, or the late 90s, as it was in 1994-97. A proper political climate is also imperative. It is really worthwhile working hard to ensure this. So, I carry on for 120 hours per week. Many of us are labouring hard, for Poland is worth working for. And that makes us rational optimists. I am one of them.  

Interview: Elżbieta Wierzbicka