And presumably your Polish is good enough for you to understand well what the non-English speakers tell you?
Talking about emigration - if we're talking today, people seem to be going for two reasons. Either they have no hope (someone with no education in Poland is going to struggle) - or they had other reasons. Some of my friends have left, not for money/a better life, but solely because they wanted to get their English to a really high standard and it wouldn't happen in Poland. Others have gone because of loving different cultures - for instance, I know a girl now in Turkey. One thing is certain - the social mobility of young Poles is unbelievable for me, particularly as most of my school friends haven't even left the same city.
No, Polish people aren't poor by world standards.
Actually, the minimum wage isn't anywhere near so high as that. It's currently 1600zl a month in Poland, and in the UK, it is 4950zl a month. That's slightly over three times - which given the astronomical cost of living in the UK, the end result is pretty similar. Social insurance deductions aren't that much different - 12% employee, 14% employer versus 19% employee/20% employer in Poland. The lack of child allowance is replaced with tax deductions, too.
Poland, by Western European standards, is not an easy place for 'ordinary' people to live.
I don't see what's so difficult - there's a health service, a free education service, public transport is subsidised by the State, etc etc. No-one is saying it's easy, but then again, it's not easy to live on minimum wage in the UK either. What the real difference is that in Poland, no-one is going to pay you to sit around. If you went through school shouting swear words at teachers and being thick as mud, then you're going to have a very hard life. As it should be.
If you don't know that, then I'm afraid you don't know Poland.
I'm looking at it realistically - Poland is not anywhere near as bad as you paint it to be.
Of course, I know what 'kombinować' means. Do you?
Absolutely. We all know how social networks are very, very useful in Poland for getting things done.
I suspect that my knowledge of such issues is deeper than yours. It does not come from reading students essays, but rather from real-life experience.
The Polish black economy is huge - some estimates have it at 25% of GDP. The UK is also far, far more keen on hunting such people down.
I know about illegal and semi-legal ways of emploing people here.
People tend to get reported because of personal grudges, not because of do-gooders. This is the big difference.
Rules and regulations are tougher in Poland than in the UK, and are enforced in a far more arbitrary manner.
And yet those rules and regulations can often be completely ignored, like the Poles do. The trick is in knowing which to ignore. I don't want to go into specifics, but for example, I have permission to do something that in the UK would never be granted. There are conditions attached to the permission, but in general, I was able to negotiate with the authorities to get it - it just wouldn't happen in the UK like that.
I'm just stating facts. You are being arrogant for writing about a country you appear to know practically nothing about.
90% of the housing is owned by the city? I'd like to see some verification of that, given that in Poland, the owner-occupier rate in urban areas is 69%. I very much doubt that Szczecin is somehow different. Even my own building has 60% private owners. You do realise that Poland had her own Thatcher-style sell off of council stock, and that most of the flats in the 70's/80's building boom were bought at the time, right?
Perhaps some history lessons wouldn't go amiss.
Ifor bach is right, delph. That's why people emigrate.
Depends who we are talking about, as I think it's important to distinguish between "those who need to" and "those that want to".
Someone growing up in a terrible village somewhere who didn't bother getting an education doesn't have much choice, but then again, the same person in the UK would be sitting on the dole anyway - so fair play to the Poles for actually getting up and doing something.