In the 1980s, fighting inequality appeared to be a top priority for the government of Poland, as it had been since the country embraced communism – though not necessarily willingly – after World War II. The Gini coefficient, considered the most accurate metric of inequality, hovered somewhere around .25, about the same level as it is today in the Scandinavian countries just to the north, and a far cry from the current ballooning inequalities in pretty much every other country in the world.
Nevertheless, people were unhappy. Peter Johnsson of Baltic News, on assignment in the country at the time, reports that the only product available at most of the country’s markets was vinegar.
But what really got to average Poles was their work situation. According to Paul Jay of The Real News, filming a documentary there during that time, the general consensus was that there was no reason to bother working.… Read the rest