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What was better in Poland under communism?


Borsukrates
6 Nov 2015 #61
I was 5 year old in 1989, so I can't remember the PRL era. But it didn't all suddenly change.

I remember that bottle recycling was extremely common. You could walk into any grocery shop and leave glass bottles. You received a nominal fee for that.

Clothes were sturdy and made of good fabrics. As a result, seamstresses and chemical laundries were common. Nowadays most clothes you buy are crap and not worth fixing or cleaning in a proffessional laundry. Most laundries went bankrupt.

Many wares were very hard to get, yes. But people were skilled at fixing stuff. And there was less environmental damage and junk as a result.

Healthcare was free and easily available. Each school had an on-site dentist.

Doctors and policemen had a LOT less paperwork. Everyone knew their "dzielnicowy" (community policeman).

If you had a job, you could probably keep it for decades. Of course it had downsides, like no incentives to work well, hidden unemployment (people paid to do basically nothing) but technically everyone had a job.

There was much less chemicals in food. When you buy a ham in a supermarket, especially a cheap one, it's likely that 3 kg of ham was produced from 1 kg of actual meat. Food in general was produced using very basic (and honest) methods.

You could choose any color of toilet paper as long as you chose grey.

University and higher education had a high bar. Few people were admitted. These days universities are pressured to lower the bar to let more people in. Most vocational schools have been closed and Poland is starting to suffer from down-to-earth worker shortage. Plumbers, electricians, builders, machine operators and so on. The problem is similar to UK's. There are talks about reopening vocational schools.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,916
6 Nov 2015 #62
And there was less environmental damage and junk as a result.

The environmental damage done during Communism was astounding. No amount of small scale activities could make up for the vast harm done then.

Healthcare was free and easily available.

And suffering appalling shortages with a culture of bribery. It was routine for people to be asked to bring their own supplies to hospitals!

Each school had an on-site dentist.

Not much use if the dental care was rubbish, which it was.

Of course it had downsides, like no incentives to work well, hidden unemployment (people paid to do basically nothing) but technically everyone had a job.

That's not exactly a good thing. Think how much people were paying through indirect taxation (essentially wages being kept artificially low) to provide jobs for everyone.

Food in general was produced using very basic (and honest) methods.

Blimey, that's a naive statement if there ever was one. That might have been true for someone that owned pigs in a village, but the stuff that was used to produce "meat" in shops was...well.

University and higher education had a high bar. Few people were admitted.

Not quite. A lot of emphasis was placed on who you were - if you were the daughter of factory workers (and they had a good political history), you were going to get a place at the expense of someone who performed academically. There was a huge amount of manipulation in university entries, so the bar was rather connected to who you were. For instance, if you were a nobody from a city, you weren't getting into law studies regardless of how well you did academically.

These days universities are pressured to lower the bar to let more people in.

Universities are applying the pressure themselves to provide more and more nice cushy positions for their own people. It's a problem of the autonomy granted by the PZPR back in the day.

Clothes were sturdy and made of good fabrics.

And also subject to shocking shortages.You couldn't get good quality clothes easily, especially in the 80's.
Billy9999 - | 34
6 Nov 2015 #63
Borsukrates

Post was very poignant. I remember the UK in the 70s we used to re-sole shoes, patch jeans. Families used to eat whatever was delivered to the table. Blackouts were tolerated as were were all in it together. There was a feeling that we were all in it for the greater good, that future times for better or worse would be weathered. But most of all there was a feeling of nationhood, that we had some common bond from centuries ago. We thought our political classes could be trusted.

Sadly that has all been eroded in the last 15-20 years by some sort of unshared plan.
Borsukrates
7 Nov 2015 #64
No amount of small scale activities could make up for the vast harm done then.

Big scale - yes, but now Poland has a huge problem with littering. Parks, forests look like crap. But hey, we got new pavements and walls are no longer cracked, yay!

I wouldn't prefer to live under PRL, but let's give credit where it's due, OK ?

Also note this thread is not titled: "Which is the better political system - socialism or communism?". It's about what *was* better in PRL. Some things just were, and replying with "yes, but" is intellectually dishonest.

If you completely deny your past, you can't learn from it. Learning involves taking only the good parts from something.
Dougpol1 32 | 3,296
7 Nov 2015 #65
Only westerners call it communist but they have no clue what PRL was about.

Enjoying reading this thread, after the death of Kisczak.

All of you like posters do talk some nonsense. If your parents left Poland in communist times and didn't return, their property was appropriated. And if it wasn't - they were one of them (the Party)

Otherwise known as criminal scum.

To Everyone here born after 1986 ( you wouldn't remember 1989....)

Winter 1987.....

Sosnowiec: supermarket near the Pld railway station - not the main one....

Fully stocked with...............

1. Toilet cleaner
2. Some sort of general cleaning powder
3. Stacks, and I do mean stacks - of British co-op tea.

THREE different items. In a large supermarket. Google the building, It's still there.

NO food - the meat counter was very clean.

THAT was communism. You WEREN'T there

PS: I was threatened by peoples deputies for NO reason. I just fisted the ****.
Crow 138 | 8,084
7 Nov 2015 #66
Economic policy in communism was suicidal.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
7 Nov 2015 #67
let's give credit where it's due

Konrad KoƂodziejski writing in Rzeczpospolita reminds us of one advantage of having been in the Soviet bloc that is often overlooked. Beneath a photo of two rather unpleasant looking "just married" blokes he writes:

"The West has shown itself to be far more receptive to social engineering than Poland. Spain is a star pupil in terms of legislating liberalised mores. Maybe if we had not landed under Soviet occupation after the war ,we would now resemble Spain which with a neophyte's zeal is trying to convince Europe how modern it is."

rp.pl/Plus-Minus/311069989-Jak-wychowac-spoleczenstwo.html


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