Actually - someone 25 in the early 90's would have just finished university or would have just finished training for a trade, and would have been in a prime position to do something with themselves. There's plenty of people now aged 45-50 who have really achieved something with themselves without being a party member - it seems to me that most of the spite from that generation comes from realising that they could've had it all, but they didn't.
I mean, in the beginning, it wouldn't have been easy - but plenty of people got their start by taking advantage of the price differences between the newly-free Eastern countries. I'll try and dig up one article for you that I found - people were making a fortune from travelling between Warsaw and Moscow and exploiting the huge price differences. I know one guy who actually paid his way through university by going to Germany, buying TV's and selling them in Poland for a handsome profit - same era, but it mostly involved bribing the Polish border guards a few deutschmarks to turn a blind eye.
The money was definitely there, but it wasn't easy money like nowadays. Probably best to say that it involved that old Polish sport, kombinowac - but what Pole wouldn't have been used to it at that point?
To elaborate a bit more - I think a golden rule in Poland is to avoid any business dealings where there are more than two people involved. It just ends in tears - I know people who have got caught up in a mess when buying a flat, because there were too many owners wanting to make as much money as possible. I'd actually steer well clear of any place that was the result of an inheritance.
because they live in crappy communist blocks and work crappy jobs. meanwhile those who were hardcore communists managed to come out of communism and make bank while doing so. one only needs to look at Polish banks, orlen, media, and the gov't to see this example.
I think a lot of it is because they didn't seize the opportunity while it was there. Like I said above - there was a lot of money to be made in the early 90's by ducking and diving a bit. The bitterness, at least to me, seems to come from the fact that they chose to stay doing what they were doing and ended up worse off as a result - although, it seems to me that many of them were working in dead-end State owned businesses anyway that were bound to close down.
Even plenty of people who were in the opposition came out well - perhaps because the lessons learnt during Communism allowed them to apply it in the free market. It certainly seems to me that the only people who ended up worse were the ones who perhaps didn't really want the system to change at all.
I mean the old blocks that were built after the war- particularly during the 70's. In Warsaw there are loads in Ursynow, Bielany and Pruszkow. I am aware of these places. They house a family of four, two dogs and the mother in law. All in 50 m2.
You don't even want to know what I've seen recently, but all I can say is - 60m2 flat, 3 rooms, 4 generations. And a dog, of course - and none of them appeared to work. And funnier still, they wanted the same price as a newly renovated flat in the same place. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry ;)
it's more like the small business get the brunt of taxation pressure and also not-so-fair competition from bigger business or business 'with connexions'
Actually - small businesses don't have it so bad. The real issue is with ZUS payments - but can Poland really afford to pay pensions for entrepreneurs who didn't save for their own pensions? The now-900zl a month payments is what guarantees their retirement pensions - I know you and I would save for a rainy day, but there's plenty of people out there who would see "oo, 500zl a month, let's buy a new TV and sound system!" and have nothing left when they reach 65.
The problem for a small business isn't their own taxation, but rather the ZUS payments for employees. I wanted to hire someone a while ago on umowa o prace - but it was just impossible :(