OTHER LOCAL THEMES
culture and customs
introducing the area
quotes about economics
key testimonies featuring economics
The economy of the Klodzko Valley is primarily based on agriculture, with limited industry and even more limited tourism, although it is in the latter sector that most people see the future. The local economy was considerably affected in the 1990s by changes in national politics, particularly the transition from communism (state-run) to democracy (privatisation and a market-run economy). Farming has been particularly hard-hit, with one man commenting that "without state-imposed prices for food products.... growing crops or breeding livestock .have become rather expensive hobbies.... One had to look for more original methods of earning a living."
Several narrators felt the change quite severely: "I don't understand the world now. Not everyone can be a businessman, majority are poor people, older people." It seems they are not alone in feeling vulnerable and concerned for the future. As one narrator claimed, if people "have jobs, they are afraid the company may go bankrupt, get liquidated . And now they often say, 'I'm afraid they're going to close down the company. What will I do on benefit?' ". Certainly, many narrators testify to the lack of jobs in the area and the steady decline of local industry.
Another problem is an increasing cost of living running parallel to the rising expectations of younger people, as the influence of the 'West' is more keenly felt. In many cases, wages or pensions are not keeping up with the cost of living. Further changes to the local economy can be expected as Poland feels the effects of globalisation and prepares to join the European Union.
quotes about economics
""When they tell you how wonderful the country was before the war - don't believe them. It was such a poor country. You know, we had those soldiers from the Eastern Borderland.... [they] would come up to me and say how glad they were to have received army shoes. They were their first shoes ever.... True, it was, we had achievements. After all, we managed to unite the nation after the three partitions, but as far as the nation's affluence - or the lack of it - nothing can be compared to it.""
Stanislaw, M/86, army officer, Poland 15
""People live under great stress. Back then it wasn't like this, everyone knew that if they worked, they would get paid, and how much they would be paid. There were certain norms, quotas, if you met them, you got what you deserved .[Now] it's unbelievable. Simple things like pencils, notebooks, and all, everything is so expensive. If they gave us western wages, if it is already the west here, let them give us western wages - the way it is now, we've got western prices and Polish wages.""
Anonymous, F/67, housewife, Poland 5
""It is not an easy process, it's difficult to get a job here, you have to try and look for a new model, go more in the direction of developing services. This region has a lot of potential for the development of tourism, regeneration, health, there are health resorts, spas, etc. But you have to do it in a modern way, I think finding new forms is the key.""
Andrzej, M/47, construction engineer, Poland 23
""In the past, there were three to four inns in a village, two to three mills, small factories, people had jobs all the time. For example, in the summer people worked in their farms, in the winter they would get employed in such factories. They made their living, everybody profited from that. Now nothing pays.""
Jan, M/60, former baker/hunter, Poland 12
""You go to the doctor and he says he would prescribe something to you, but you say I can't afford buying it, so the doctor has to find something cheaper, but what can you do if you need the more expensive medicines? And so I go there, I buy them and then I think how to live for the rest of the month on what's left. That's not the way it used to be. You could buy medicines, you could afford being ill. When my parents were still living, you had to pay for the hospital, but it was much cheaper.""
Stefania, F/67, housewife, Poland 5