POLISH STUDIES ENDOWMENT COMMITTEE

Professor Leszek Balcerowicz

Professor Leszek Balcerowicz

November 1st, 2007

Post-Communist Transformation in Central Europe

Professor Leszek Balcerowicz is a former Deputy Prime Minister <img
src=”/static/images/balcerowicz.gif” alt=” [balcerowicz photo] ”
class=”figure” /> , Minister of Finance, and President of the Polish
National Bank. Currently Prof. Balcerowicz is Head of the International
Comparative Studies Department, Warsaw School of Economics. He is the
author of dozens of books, scientific articles, and studies focusing
mainly on the comparative analysis of changes affecting various
socio-economic systems in the world. Many of them were translated into
foreign languages and published in the United States and Europe. When
working for the Polish Government, he skillfully managed to connect his
academic approaches and theories with effective human resource
management and implementation of socio-economic reforms. His deep
knowledge of economic problems and his exceptionally dynamic and
effective work helped him to establish worldwide respect and a
reputation as one of the most outstanding politicians and economists in
the history of Poland and Eastern Europe. His academic work and public
sector service would not be so significant without three major
achievements that have had a lasting impact on the economic history of
Poland: First, in the late 1970’s, before the creation of the
“Solidarity” movement in Poland, he lead a research team at the Warsaw
School of Economics, which, after in-depth studies, prepared
scientifically-based findings that any reforms of the crumbling
“socialist economy” in Poland were futile. Prof. Balcerowicz and his
colleagues concluded that the system could not be “repaired” nor
successfully adjusted to the needs of the Polish people. His second and
most important achievement was the design and execution of the so-
called “Balcerowicz Plan.” In this Plan, he addressed two major goals:
radical, fast, and effective widening of business freedoms, and the
creation of a stable and well performing monetary system. These freedoms
were well used by t he Polish economy. The “shock therapy” laid
foundations for the creation of over three million new Polish
entrepreneurs. Thanks to this reform, in the following years the Polish
economy has shown unexpected dynamics. It was the beginning of long-term
fructiferous activity of Prof. Balcerowicz as a chief economist in three
Polish governments. After the application of his “shock therapy,” he was
engaged in a long-term daily, difficult, but successful work to bring
the Polish economy to the free market system. The third great
undertaking of Prof. Balcerowicz was his service as President of the
Polish National Bank, devoted mainly to maintaining a strong currency,
low inflation, and the independence of the fiscal system from political
fluctuations. This achievement was recognized by international financial
institutions including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank
and others. Through all these efforts and activities, Prof. Balcerowicz
kept his continuing focus on one overarching objective: to assure
Poland’s return to the modern and dynamic capitalist economy. This
attitude and these achievements assured him widespread recognition as
one of the most outstanding politicians and economists, with a deep
knowledge of Poland’s economic problems and the capability to address
them.

By Prof. Vlad M. Kaczynski

More about Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz

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