Polish Language Blog

Global Economic Crisis Posted by on Feb 27, 2009 in Culture, Vocabulary

I didn’t really want to write about the global economic crisis, because I’m sure you all get enough of that from your normal media outlets. It seems these days it’s all crisis all the time.

But people from near and far have been asking me just how bad (or good) it is in Poland right now when it comes to financial and economic matters, so I thought I’d talk about it very briefly today.

I’m not an economist and I can’t offer you any predictions (only very uneducated guesses) as to how badly this economic downturn will affect Poland.

My father was one of those early “conspiracy theorists,” who mumbled under their noses that the złoty was being purposely weakened thanks to shenanigans by foreign banks. I dismissed it, because I thought that’s what currencies are supposed to do, they get stronger or weaker all the time. But last week it turned out my dad had been right all along. Goldman Sachs admitted to doing goofy things to keep the złoty purposely undervalued.

But what does this mean for the average man on the street? Apart from all the financial mumbo jumbo spouted by the so-called experts, journalists and everybody who’s anybody caught on camera, the red graphs shown on TV and printed in almost every newspaper, and all sorts of doomsday predictions, not that much has changed, really.

It might be hard to fathom but for many Poles the country has been in a state of perpetual economic crisis at since the fall of communism, if not for longer. How is this crisis different?

Prices have gone up somewhat, but they’ve been going up in the best of times, too. People complain about the economy, but they’ve been complaining about the economy in the best of times, too.
Despite hearing all the bad news from across Europe, my friends still intend to go abroad to find work. Crisis schmisis, life goes on.

  • kryzys (noun, masc., pl. kryzysy) – crisis
  • kryzys gospodarczy – economic crisis
  • gospodarka (noun, fem., pl. gospodarki) – economy
  • kurs waluty or kurs wymiany walut – foreign exchange rates
  • ogłosić upadłość – to declare bankruptcy
  • cena (noun, fem., pl. ceny) – price
  • pożyczka (noun, fem., pl. pożyczki) – loan
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  1. michael:

    I think that Poland won’t suffer as badly as high cost countries in western Europe.

    It has a well educated, plentiful supply of young people, many speaking perfect English. Costs are low in Poland which attracts companies like Dell to Łódź and Ericsson.

    I think now that Polish people have a reputation in Europe as good people and hard working, it isn’t a gamble for any company to move there.

    But if anyone asks how things are in Poland I think it is best to tell them how bad things are and that you were better off with communism!!

    The Polish currency going up and down is a difficult issue for Polish people living abroad I think, on the one hand they want it to go down so that they will benefit more in the exchange rate, I assume that any mortgage payments are a lot smaller now than they were a year ago when you could get 3pln for 1 euro. Now you can get 4,6pln for 1 euro.

  2. michael:

    on the other hand they feel sorry for their parents etc. who suffer becuase their income/pension/social welfare isn’t a lot compared to their expenses.

    I don’t know what the costs are of living in Poland, Dell may pay 2,000pln per month which I have heard isn’t enough to live with dignity in Poland. Although I do believe that any economic activity will have a positive effect.

  3. Borkat:

    My own Polish parents left for Canada many years ago, and it’s been a surprise how many Poles here and in the USA and Australia have been returning home to Poland.

    On the one hand, IMHO Poles are in a decent position because they’re often well-trained, speak very good German and/or English (sometimes French, too) and have a tech orientation, which opens up work opportunities.

    Also, Poland’s economy is very closely integrated with Austria and Germany which are also in recession, but focus more on manufacturing and tech, so they’re less vulnerable to this kind of crisis and also open up more work opportunities for Poles.

    OTOH, Polish economy was also boosted by EU subsidies (like Ireland) which are drying up, and Polish households have high debt. Key IMHO is how well Poland’s neighbors do, esp. Germany/Austria– as long as they hum along, they’ll provide markets and work opportunities for Poles. Otherwise, there might be a disaster.

  4. thomas westcott:

    Hi Anna,

    Some Poles here in America do not seem to understand how American businesses can be in such crisis. My brother in law who has been here for over twenty years seems to think the government should take care of us.
    Human nature is the same everywhere regardless of which language one speaks. One of the biggest causes of the financial crisis is simple greed. Just follow the money. Another problem here is the lack of accountability. To many executives are rewarded even for poor performance.

    Ultimately, God is still the highest authority and I will continue to put my trust in Him. As you said “life goes on.”

  5. tumi:

    i think people should unite firstly. in that way they could fight this.