Poland’s Economy, Explained: The Secret Behind its Shock Therapy Plan

Jan Kubań,

Release Date
May 31, 2022


Economics Free Markets and Capitalism Tech Liberty

Communism crippled the Soviet Union’s satellite states during the 20th century, but when the USSR fell, one country was quickest to move to capitalism: Poland.

More than 30 years later, the results are in: Poland is outperforming its neighbors economically and socially. That much was evident in the way it has recovered from the global financial crisis and from the Covid economic downturn, but Poland’s rapid transition to capitalism — known as the “cold bath” or “shock therapy” — has especially paid dividends in the video game industry.

For this video, we spoke to Jan Kubań, President of the Polish-American Foundation for Education and Economic Development. He described life in communist-controlled Poland, including how many pairs of pants he had (hint: it wasn’t many.)

He also touched on the one advantage Poland had during its time as a satellite country, the propaganda the Polish people were subjected to, and what the boom of the early 1990s looked like, as the transition to a market economy took effect.

Finally, we highlighted CD Projekt, a Polish video game distributor which has become a pillar of the Polish economy.

This video features footage from the Noclip – Video Game Documentaries channel, whose in-depth interview with Marcin Iwiński, Co-Founder of CD Projekt, discusses how a free market for video games enabled the development of his company. That interview can be seen here.

0:00-1:00 The Sociological Laboratory
1:00-1:55 Jan Kubań on Poland’s One Big Advantage
1:56-3:10 “Poland is gradually going down;” Propaganda Says Otherwise
3:11-4:02 Life in a Socialist Country
4:03-6:50 Shock Therapy: “Cut the hands of the state”
6:51-7:57 How Free Markets Boosted the Gaming Industry
7:58-9:16 The Story of CD Projekt, feat. Marcin Iwiński, Co-Founder