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1990 Polish presidential election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1990 Polish presidential election

25 November 1990 (first round)
9 December 1990 (second round)
1995 →
Turnout60.6% (first round)
53.4% (second round)
Lech Walesa.jpg
Stan Tyminski.jpg
Nominee Lech Wałęsa Stanisław Tymiński
Party Solidarity Independent
Popular vote 10,622,696 3,683,098
Percentage 74.3% 25.7%

Polish presidential elections, 1990, second round results by voivodeships.svg
Second round results by voivodeship

President before election

Wojciech Jaruzelski


Lech Wałęsa

Presidential elections were held in Poland on 25 November 1990, with a second round on 9 December.[1] They were the first direct presidential elections in the history of Poland, and the first free presidential elections since the May Coup of 1926. Before World War II, presidents were elected by the Sejm. From 1952 to 1989—the bulk of the Communist era—the presidency did not exist as a separate institution, and most of its functions were fulfilled by the State Council of Poland, whose chairman was considered the equivalent of a president.

The leader of the Solidarity movement, Lech Wałęsa, won the first round. However, he did not earn over 50% of the vote, which led to a runoff election. Wałęsa faced Polish-Canadian businessman Stanisław Tymiński in the second round, defeating him easily.

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  • ✪ Free To Choose 1990 - Vol. 02 The Tyranny of Control - Full Video
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  • ✪ China's Warlord Era and Yuan's Monarchical Fiasco (1912-1928)


I'm George Shultz. I used to be secretary of state and before that, secretary of the treasury. I have also known Milton Friedman for about four decades, and I have benefited greatly from my exposure to him and to his ideas. He's a great economist, a great scholar and a great idea man. He also has an abundance of common sense and good judgment. The program you are about to see has to do with international trade. The lessons here are the same as for our domestic markets. Open markets and free markets lead to low prices, good quality products and high wages. As a government official, I used to work hard to keep our markets open and I had many battles with people who wanted to close them. I didn't always win. The reason is that people fight hard to protect themselves when they find competition from abroad is too tough. Protectionism is a big problem for all of us. We need to say to those who are having trouble competing that you have got to get in there and compete. And if they can't compete, we've got to help them adjust and find new jobs. But in the meantime, from the standpoint of our whole society, we're all so much better off if we keep ourselves open to the competition from international trade; particularly so these days in markets that are becoming increasingly global. Government is essential to our well-being. We need it to protect our security, and we need government to provide stable and orderly and lawful conditions in which our society can operate. But practically all governments go too far, and intrude themselves much too much in economic and business affairs. It seems an almost irresistible temptation. So, let's remember what that great humorist Will Rodgers used to say, "Just be thankful you are not getting all the government you are paying for." But then, it would be better if we got less and also paid less. Human and political freedom has never existed, and cannot exist without a large measure of economic freedom. Freedom is making choices: what's best for me? What do I want to do? We all want to be free to choose. No government official is telling these people what to do. Parental control‚ parents choosing the teacher, parents monitoring the schooling. Free to live your own life, pursue your own goals, chase your own rainbow without the government breathing down on your neck or standing on your shoes. Most of us would choose prosperity if we could. But what's the best road to that goal? Free trade set off a process that revolutionized Japan and the lives of its people. The pilgrims tried a form of socialism over 300 years ago. Unfortunately, for their fair-minded plans, they prospered only after they were allowed to keep for themselves all the food they grew. Who says economic institutions don't matter? We may dream of a perfect world, but we all know that's not possible. Hong Kong is very far from utopian. Life is unfair‚ there's nothing fair about one man being born blind and another man being born with sight. I do not know any exception to the proposition that if you compare like with like, the freer the system, the better off the ordinary poor people have been. Dr. Friedman has spent a lifetime studying freedom and prosperity. To him, the lessons of history are clear. People are better off making their own choices. Better off not relying on government. Free to Choose is a survival kit for you and for Liberty. (Birds singing) It is harvest time and Japanese farmers gather their crops for the rice market in Kyoto. Of course they will try to get as much for it as possible and the buyers will try to buy it as cheaply as possible. That is how markets are supposed to work. That is what Adam Smith, the Scotsman who turned economics into a modern science, observed 200 years ago. He observed something else, too. “In every country it is always and must be in the interest of the great body of people to buy whatever they want of those who sell it cheapest. The proposition is so very manifest that it seems ridiculous to take any pains to prove it. Nor could it ever have been called in question had not the interested sophistry of merchants and manufacturers confounded the common sense of mankind. Their interest is, in this respect, directly opposite to that of the great body of people.” Adam Smith's flash of genius was to see how prices that emerged in the market, the prices of goods, the wages of labor, the cost of transport, could coordinate the activities of millions of independent people, strangers to one another, without anybody telling them what to do. His key idea was that self-interest could produce an orderly society benefiting everybody. It was as though there were an invisible hand at work. The “invisible hand” is a phrase that was introduced by Adam Smith in his great book, The Wealth Of Nations, in which he talked about the way in which individuals, who intended only to pursue their own interests, were led by an invisible hand to promote the public welfare, which was no part of their intention. He was talking about the economic market, about the market in which people buy and sell, and he was pointing out that in order for a butcher, or a baker or a candlestick maker to make an income, he had to produce something that somebody wanted to buy. Therefore, in the process of promoting his own interests and looking to his own profit, he ended up serving the interests of his customers. When Adam Smith published The Wealth Of Nations, Britain was still a largely rural and placid place. But the Industrial Revolution was already getting started, and standards of life were beginning to rise. One obstacle was that trade with other nations was still tightly controlled. Merchants in the home market had persuaded the government of the day to impose heavy duties and taxes on all foreign imports, in order to insure themselves a protected market. (sound of waves) One of the results was to turn Britain into a nation of lawbreakers. Smuggling was a national pastime: brandy, wines, tobacco, anything with a heavy customs duty on it. For years, the revenue men fought a losing battle along the shores and inlets of the British Isles. In 1846, after years of argument and partial success, the followers of Adam Smith finally persuaded the British Parliament to remove all duties on goods imported from abroad. Britain embarked on complete free trade, giving a further push to the rising standard of life. What happened in Britain as a consequence of releasing the tremendous force of self-interest had the unintended effect of benefiting millions of people all over the world, and by 1851 the evidence was proudly on show at the great Crystal Palace Exhibition. (steam engine sounds) Free trade enabled Britain to become the work place of the world. (city sounds, horses, trains, whistle) But was it all an accident? I don't think it was. Consider what happened in 1868 on the other side of the world, in Japan. (gong sound, Oriental music) For the preceding 300 years, the Japanese had lived in almost complete isolation. They had discouraged visitors from other nations, especially from the West. The result was that by the standards of the West, Japan was backward. It was a feudal society with lords and serfs, and woe betide anyone who tried to change the order of things. Women were third-class citizens. In 1868, a new generation of rulers decided that the time had come for Japan to make contact with the outside world. And with the arrival of the first foreign traders from the West, things began to change. The Japanese followed the British trading pattern because Britain was the leading nation of the world. So free trade came to Japan. Japan became a magnet for other people's ideas and developments. One of the first traditional industries to feel the effects was weaving. From Europe, the Japanese imported the jacquard method, a way of programming a loom to control the accuracy of the weave, and so, to standardize output. Workers did well in the new atmosphere, and so did their employers. (sounds of loom working) The adoption of mass production techniques meant that workers were able to move out of the traditional industries and into the new industries, which all added to the trade boom. None of us can help being affected by the intellectual atmosphere that we breathe. In the middle of the 19th century, when Japan ended her self-imposed isolation and entered the modern age, it never occurred to her leaders to follow any other course than that of free enterprise and free markets. That was the intellectual atmosphere of the time, created by Britain's success in applying the principles of Adam Smith. In 1948, when India achieved independence, her leaders had all been trained in Great Britain. They had sat at the feet of Harold Laski and his associates at the London School of Economics, or of their counterparts at Oxford and Cambridge. It never occurred to them to follow any other course than that of central planning and government control. That was the intellectual atmosphere of the time. And the intellectual seed took root. As it grew, it needed to be honored, even worshiped. Every year on the anniversary of Gandhi's birth, people all over India do just that: in homage to the great Mahatma, they sit and spin using methods handed down through the centuries. But it is more than just a symbol of honoring the past. It typifies the policy that they are actually following. The new government in 1948 decided that India's traditional weaving industry and its workers should be protected from 20th century industrialization. What were the consequences of that policy? This is India today, 30 years after winning independence. These are scenes of a very typical Indian community, one of thousands. It is called Anakaputhur, and it is about a thousand miles south of the capital, New Delhi. This is not the kind of life the government intended to perpetuate, but it is one result of their policy. By subsidizing the cotton that the villagers spin and the cloth that they weave, they made it difficult for modern industry to develop. (village sounds, vendor selling wares) This is sizing. It's an essential technique in cloth production where the yarn is smoothed clean. (people working, talking) A modern machine could do the same thing in a hundredth of the time. The result of government planning to modernize industry, is that the number of handlooms roughly doubled in the first 30 years after India's independence. Today, in thousands of villages throughout India, the sound of handlooms can be heard from early in the morning until late at night. In this village alone, there are more than 3,000 handlooms in operation. Since 1948, three generations of villagers have sat at these looms, making cloth with patterns that never vary, using methods that never change. There is nothing wrong with this activity, provided it survives the test of the market, provided it is the way in which these people can use their abilities and their energies most effectively. After all, in Japan, where the government has not specially encouraged the handloom industry, there remains a very small, but very productive, handloom segment. The trouble here is that this industry exists only because the government has subsidized it, supported it; because it has, in effect, imposed taxes, direct and indirect, on the rest of the people of India, people who are no better off than these people are, in order to enable this activity to continue. Other industries, both textile industries and industries of a variety of kinds, have been restricted, explicitly kept back, prevented from providing more productive employment, in order to make room for this industry. The effect has been to inhibit the development, to prevent the growth, to prevent the dynamic activity that could otherwise develop out of the energies and the abilities of the people of India. (hand looms operating) This looks like a factory, but it is also home for the people who work here. When they are not sitting at their looms, they eat and sleep in a corner of this hut. Throughout the world, governments always profess to be forward-looking. In practice, they are always backward-looking, either protecting the industries that exist, or making sure that whatever ventures they have decided to undertake are encouraged and developed. This occurs at the expense of the kind of healthy development of new, dynamic, adaptive industries that would surely occur if the market were allowed to operate freely; if it were allowed to separate out the unsuccessful ventures from the successful ones, discouraging the unsuccessful and encouraging the successful. India has tremendous economic and human potential, every bit as much as Japan had a century ago. The human tragedy is that in India, that potential has been stifled by the straightjacket imposed by an all-wise and paternalistic government. Central planning, in practice, has condemned India's masses to poverty and misery. (people walking, street sounds) We know what has happened in Japan; free trade set off a process that revolutionized Japan and the lives of its people. Improvements in material well-being went hand-in-hand with the elimination of the rigid social structure of a century ago. It's no accident. As always, economic freedom promotes human freedom. And in the meantime, what has happened to the Japanese weaving industry? This is how textiles start life in a Japanese weaving shed today. A design for cloth is placed on a drum. As it revolves, it is scanned by an electric eye. Each color, each variation in the pattern and texture, is transmitted faithfully to a computer. (mechanical loom operating) It's all that the modern loom of Japan requires. This loom is fitted with electronics that make it one of the most sophisticated of its sort in the world. The fabric that it produces is the best silk of its kind. Thanks to the speed and efficiency of these machines, the price of the silk is competitive. The workers are highly skilled and well-paid. With the new technology, there is very little a loom like this cannot produce. This piece will become the sash of a traditional bridal gown. These are machine-made products, but by any standards, they are beautiful. They can stand comparison with the very finest work of the handloom. And it's not merely the end product itself that is remarkable. The sophisticated technology which was developed to make all of this possible, has been adapted to other processes, part of the self-generating development under free enterprise, and it all stems from an ancient, traditional industry, weaving, that imported a new method for controlling its looms when Japan turned to free trade more than a century ago. Yet believe it or not, many still maintain today that markets cannot be left to operate freely, that they must be controlled by government. This dockside is in Scotland. A British government, a socialist government, decided that its role was to protect the workers here from competition. So down there in governed shipyards, they are building these vessels for the Polish government. To get the order, the British government is using the money of British taxpayers to subsidize the work. In other words, British people are making these ships in order to sell them at a loss to the Poles. (heavy machinery sounds) Not only the Poles, but also we in America benefit from this kind of philanthropy. The steel industry in the United States makes a fine product. Other countries do, too. And their steel is often cheaper, sometimes because their taxpayers subsidize it. So why shouldn't the American consumer buy steel wherever he can get it cheapest -- at home or abroad? The American steel industry works very hard trying to persuade us that it's not in our self-interest to buy in the cheapest market. They urge the government to restrict what they call unfair competition, though, of course, they recognize that there are dangers in this. The dilemma of asking our government for assistance in this problem of unfair competition bothers many of us, because the sword does cut both ways. But we believe that what we have attempted to do is far different than the kinds of direct government involvement that occur in many of the foreign nations around the world, where the governments provide direct financial assistance in the form of either ownership or loans or subsidies in some fashion or another. What we have attempted to do is simply to get our government to enforce the United States laws against unfair competition that have been on the United States' books. We draw clear distinction between that and, for example, the several hundred-million dollars that the French government has granted to the French steel companies, or that the British Steel Corporation has received $1.3 billion for capital investment this year. So that while we are uneasy in any way interfacing with our government in what we traditionally believe are the free enterprise prerogatives, yet what we are only asking for is that the government enforce the laws that our congress has passed. When anyone complains about unfair competition, consumers beware. That is really a cry for special privilege always at the expense of the consumer. What we needed in this country is free competition. As consumers buying in an international market, the more unfair the competition the better. That means lower prices and better quality for us. If foreign governments want to use their taxpayers’ money to sell people in the United States goods below cost, why should we complain? Their own taxpayers will complain soon enough, and it will not last for very long. History provides lots of evidence on what happens when a government-protected industry competes with industries who have to operate in an open and free market. It's almost always the government-protected industries that come out second best. Nothing would promote the long run health of the steel industry, make it into a more efficient, profitable and productive industry, than for the U.S. government to keep its hands off, neither providing special privileges, nor imposing special restraints. And what is true for the steel industry is true for every other industry in the country. These women work in an industry that so far hasn't asked for special protection, the silicon chip industry. Every one of these small squares on this disk is a highly complicated and integrated microcircuit. An American technician examines them for defects. It is highly skilled work, and she's had a lot of training. When she has done her job, the rejects will be separated from the rest, and the good circuits will be packed up and sent halfway around the world to Malaysia. The product of American technological skills returns looking like this. Each microcircuit has been enclosed in ceramic by a Malaysian worker who is highly productive at this sort of work. But the Malaysians are not able to test their products, so back they come here to America to be fed into these machines. American engineers are good at producing sophisticated machines. In an operation that lasts a fraction of a second, these machines can test every circuit, can grade it for quality, and then can sort it into one of six different categories of reliability. And that's not the end yet, because American silicon chips are exported to many countries where foreign workers assemble them. The final product is then returned to our stores so that you and I, the consumers, can benefit from $10.00 calculators, as well as from a lot of other electronic devices that not long ago simply did not exist. But even when the international market in labor is seen to work to everyone's advantage, people still put up arguments against it. The usual argument against complete free trade is that cheap labor from abroad will take jobs away from workers at home. Well...what is cheap? A Japanese worker is paid in yen; an American worker is paid in dollars. How do we compare the yen with the dollar? We need some way of transforming the one into the other. That is where the exchange rate enters in -- the price of yen in terms of the dollar. Suppose, at some exchange rate, Japanese goods are in general cheaper than American goods. Then we will be buying much from Japan and selling little to them. But what will the Japanese do with the extra dollars they earn? They don't want to buy American goods. By assumption, those are all dear. They want to buy Japanese goods. But to buy Japanese goods, they need yen. Calls will come in from all over the world to places like this, offering to buy yen for dollars. But there will be more offers to buy yen than to sell yen. In order to get customers, those offering to buy will have to raise the price. The price of yen in terms of dollars will go up. As you remember, that is what happened in 1977 and 1978. By late 1978, it took 50% more dollars to buy a given amount of yen than it had taken a year earlier. But what happens when the price of yen in terms of dollars goes up? Japanese labor is no longer so cheap. Japanese goods are no longer so attractive to American consumers. On the other hand, American labor is no longer so dear to Japanese. American goods are more attractive to the Japanese. We will export more to them. We will import less from them. New jobs will be created in export industries to replace any jobs that might have been lost in industries competing with imports. That is how a free market and foreign exchange balances trade around the world when it is permitted to operate. As you contemplate this, you may come to agree with me that what we need are Constitutional restraints on the power of government to interfere with free markets in foreign exchange, in foreign trade, in many other aspects of our lives. (music) I'm Linda Chavez. Welcome to Free To Choose. Joining Dr. Friedman tonight for discussion of free trade are Michael Walker of the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Steven Cohen of the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Cohen, is Dr. Friedman right? Should we keep government totally out of it and allow Adam Smith's invisible hand to operate? It's not even a question of right; it's a question of impossible. We've been trying to keep government out of our economy now for several hundred years. Have we? Oh, I think we definitely have. The last ten years have witnessed the greatest crusade to pull government out of the economy in this country in many, many years. The net result is that we have much more of it. This is- Alexander Hamilton, in his report on manufacturing, came out in favor of government involvement, and tariffs on steel were introduced early in the 19th century because steel was said to be an infant industry. And it was. It was and it still is. Are you saying there is more government control because we've been trying to get it out? No, of course not. What I am trying to say is we are fighting against the unreal. We are dealing at the level of ideology right now that government should go away and stay out of the economy. And we're talking as though in the United States we can determine our own future. For instance, if you take Japan, which has been the most successful competitor to the United States, they came from frankly- nowhere a couple of generations ago, to now have wages that are higher than ours. They produce superior products. And they've done this with very active government involvement. Maybe they were wrong to do that; maybe they were right. Maybe, as Professor Friedman said, had the government butted out, they would have done yet better. The fact remains if we say, take the government out, it is like saying, let's play football with sneakers and t-shirts and touch- which is a game I like. And the other guys are still using hard-shell helmets. You can't do it yourself. The fundamental problem with your analogy is that the competition that we have in trade is not a competition which somebody loses and somebody wins. It is a competition in which everybody wins. And this idea that the Japanese as a competitor to the Americans, that the Japanese in some sense won- is nonsense. Look at all the Japanese automobiles on American roads. Everybody who drives a Japanese automobile, or uses a Japanese product, is a winner as a result of this competition that there has been between the Japanese and the Americans for the sympathies of the American consumer. So it's quite wrong to take this sort of military or combative notion. That might be right if the whole world did that sort of thing, and that Japanese consumers would have had the choice during the 60s and 70s to drive Fords or Volkswagens. They didn't. That is a fallacy. It is a fact. Any individual country by itself, on the average, tends to benefit from free trade, regardless of what the other countries do. What you seem to be saying in your argument against free trade is that the customer is always right, unless they pick an imported item. No. And if they pick an imported item, then they require the help of the government to assist them, to tell them, look, you have made an unwise choice here, and therefore we are going to put a tariff or a quota on to prevent you from selecting the imported article, whether it is the Japanese automobile or a Korean television set or whatever, because you don't have the ability to make this kind of choice yourself. That is not what I am saying. Well, what are you saying Dr. Cohen? Now I'm saying there is a problem here. We gain in the very short run. If we assume that this whole place is going to have an earthquake and we are going to be out of business in a year and a half, this is a brilliant idea. No... we gain in the long run. We send them paper, they send us cars. Let me finish. If however, we go in the long run, the first round is Japanese semi-conductors come in, terrific. Let's even assume the Japanese are dumping them, they are subsidizing; they are pushing them through. The first thing we get a lot of cheap semi-conductors- terrific. This wonderful, fictional person called the consumer has a gain. However, the same person happens to be a producer. That's where he gets his income to become a consumer. He's suddenly put out of business. Two things occur: it turns out you can't suddenly go back in the semi-conductor business; that is, we have been put out but we are going to rally and go back in. It takes a long time to develop the skills, the know-how, the scales. So, you are pushed out of that business. Steven, neither one of us knows what the future will hold. We don't know whether it is wise for us to accept these free or almost free semi-conductors and use them to develop our industries and so on, but we can stand back and ask, what is going on? What are these Japanese, who you apparently think know the future and are taking a competitive position that says, we are going to invest in subsidizing these things and shipping them to the United States to destroy their industry. Where are they investing? Where are they who take such a long-term view? They are investing in the United States. And they are investing in the United States because they realize that for example, in the industry that you selected, the consumer electronics industry, they realize that anybody can make a VCR, but it takes a good, well-developed service industry for example, to develop the software that is played on the VCR. No, that's not true. That is why they are buying- Nobody can make a VCR except the Japanese. There are no American VCRs. But who cares? Sony is just buying MGM- Sony is buying MGM because they realized that the product that's produced by a VCR is not the machine. That's a $200 item. There's a $1,000 item that is made up of the software, namely the films that are going to be played on that VCR, and they are investing in America because America produces the software. Let me interject here for a second because I want to ask Dr. Friedman a question. Dr. Friedman, maybe VCRs aren't that important, but what about the defense industry? Should we really keep hands off there, or should we step in and protect? Even Adam Smith made national defense an exception. But I think that while in principle it's an exception, in practice it's an excuse. I think one of the greatest statements I have heard about this whole problem was by Colin Clark, a famous economist, who said, you know, people say that free trade is fine in theory. That is what Mr. Cohen is saying. But it doesn't work in practice. He says they are absolutely just wrong; it's just the opposite. Any half-baked graduate student can give you a half a dozen special cases for tariffs: infant industry arguments, the problem of getting back in, the kind of thing you have mentioned, and so on. The trouble is that those arguments don't work in practice. In practice we put on the wrong tariffs in the wrong places in the wrong way. The same thing is true of Japan. You are talking about Japan's great success, but let me ask you, does the average Japanese citizen- you say his wages are higher than they are in the United States? That is only because of an artificial exchange rate. There is no Japanese who will tell you that the standard of living in Japan is higher than the standard of living in the United States. It is not. And why not? Because of the Japanese protectionist policies with respect to rice and with respect to land. The average Japanese pays something like 6-7 times the world price for rice. We do the same thing in the United States. The average American citizen pays 2-3 times the world price for sugar. How does the United States benefit from that? Once we adopt your policy, we move in a direction whose only outcome is a waste of national resources through centralized direction of our activities. Germany's industrialization went like an express train all through that last quarter of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century. German industrialization did not follow what was then the dominant ideology of free trade. Oh please...come on...there was the marriage of rye and iron when Bismarck came in- What was the first thing the Germans did? They copied all the possible British technologies. They eliminated- they first of all eliminated all of their internal tariffs. I mean Germany was an archetypal- Within the nation, they opened up markets, and between the German nation and the rest of the world, they had lots and lots of trade, but they had targeted development. They had strategic policies- not stupid, mass government interventions. They said look, the future chemical industry, we go- we push resources and we help the chemical industry, we protect it for a while because the British are well ahead. They did the same thing in steel, chemicals and machines. Nobody is ahead of the Germans in chemicals right now. But if you look at it, the problem is we lose our sense of perspective. By today's standard, what Germany did in the period you are talking about, we would today call free trade. Ah, well I don't know what you mean. Whereas, that is exactly the same thing that you are doing with respect to Japan. You are not allowing for the extent to which Japan's- see what happened in Japan is between 1914 and 1939, Japan shifted policy and became a highly protectionist, a highly centralized, a highly controlled, and its real income went down. In 1939 it went into war, and after the war it did abolish, in fact, Japan since World War II has been much less of a centralized and protectionist state than it was between the wars. That is probably very true, but since World War II . . . And by comparison to the United States, by my judgments, the United States is every bit as protectionist as Japan is. I am not saying the United States is snow white. I think we have a lot of protectionism but we have stupid protectionism. The question is: is there any other kind? Yes, there is. Take a look at Japan. In post-war Japan, take a concrete industry, automobiles, because they are important and everyone understands them. Which, strategically, METI, don't forget, tried to suppress. Don't forget that when you are talking about this wonderfully intelligent policy pursued by the Japanese government. They actively try to suppress the exportation of automobiles because they felt that Japan, it was silly for Japanese to compete in the world. The Japanese government has not batted a thousand in its policy. I would say they have been hitting about .465, which- Well, you used the example of automobiles. One minute, I will. Which, a .465 hitter is Nobel Prize baseball. I don't believe they have been batting. I believe that the development- the post-war development of Japan is a tribute to the force of free markets in opposition to METI. I think you cannot attribute it to METI. This is all true but it has no concreteness. This is ideology. Let's look at automobiles. It is not ideology. It is concrete. Automobiles are concrete, I can understand them, I can count them, I can drive them. If you look at the automobile market in Japan in 1962, the year I was getting out of college so I remember the year, Detroit produced more cars in a week than Japan produced in a year. That's true. There was no way on earth Toyota or Nissan could have competed with Ford. And if we want to argue that Ford was too foolish to sell into Japan, there was Fiat, there was Volkswagen, there was Renault, and then there is a list of the dead: Austin and the other British- There was also very low Japanese real incomes. It was a smallish market. How many cars were imported into Japan in 1962? Zippo. Go to 1965- zippo, 1970- zippo, 1975- zip; 1980... pretty much nothing, a couple of BMWs with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the road. During all of that period, there was no way the outside automobile makers could get into the Japanese market, either by selling product or by setting up a wholly-owned subsidiary, making the product in the Japan market. Well, what is your point? That is what I call a protected market. It sure is. It sure is. And what happened as a result is that the Japanese automobile industry now makes more cars than the American auto industry. Not as a result of that- far from it. You mean despite that? Despite that, of course. If the government policy, they would have been producing twice as many cars now. I don't know about twice as many; I don't even know if they would have been producing as many, but they would have had a more productive automobile industry, and it would have contributed more to the well-being of the people of Japan- Who can be against progress? That's not what we are talking about. But you are against it. Quite the contrary. I think there is an important point we are missing here and that is that we are talking about this as though it were an economic problem. I don't think protectionism is an economic problem. Protectionism is a political disease. It follows the well-known pattern suggested by H. L. Mencken when he said that elections are a kind of a futures market in stolen property. Who is being stolen from here? It is the consumers who have to pay a higher price for the product. And who benefits? It's the manufacturers who get that tax that is levied on consumers. And the problem is that even if they know about it, consumers have no interest in going about and engaging in political action to stop it, because for them, it means a few dollars more on a car or a few dollars more on a VCR or whatever. They have no incentive to go and engage in the political action to get the tariffs taken down or get the quotas removed. And so it is therefore a very insidious and difficult thing. It has nothing to do with economics. It is a political problem. Dr. Cohen, I understand what you are against. You think that free trade doesn't work in practice. What are you for? It is not a question of free trade not just working in practice. It does not work in theory. Let's be very clear. Those films you have been showing, I have never seen anything with quite the ideological content of that, as I said, outside the Middle East. It assumes- You live a sheltered life. I have been fortunate. It assumes a set of assumptions that have been proven wrong. American economics sits around, spinning on the basis of its assumption, admitting of no facts, admitting of no foreign intervention. I beg your pardon. You simply are demonstrating the parochialism of your knowledge. The facts in that film are absolutely correct. Japan did progress very much under free trade from 1868 to 1914. India has remained relatively stagnant, under a system of policy of protection. Those facts are correct. It is also what we used to call glittering half-truths. The other half of those truths are, Germany in the late 19th century progressed splendidly under strategic policy- And in Germany in the last half of the 19th century progressed greatly. It progressed greatly, as Mike was saying earlier, because it eliminated tariffs within the country, it got a large free trade area in the same way the common market has been moving, in the same way the U.S./Canada has been moving. It progressed greatly despite the fact that it introduced some tariffs toward the external world. That's the two cases of the most successful rich country progress. Germany in the early 20th century and late 19th century, Japan in the post-war period. No, Japan in- One minute, I haven't finished my sentence. Japan in the post-war period are the two most startling and impressive examples of truly muscular and impressive industrial - both, you claim, were achieved despite the fact that they used strategic development policies. I would like to say England and the United States have, despite the fact, they've tried to use free market policies and have not; we've had tons of protectionism in this country. But the intellectual climate that says protectionism- you only have one word, protectionism. It is like people in Florida talking about snow; there is one word, snow. Eskimos have 100 words for snow. We have one word for protectionism, the Japanese have 100 words. Despite the fact that these two countries have succeeded so well, you say, well had they only done it our way, they would have done better. You had the last word Dr. Cohen. Thank you for joining us on Free To Choose. Next week we will be discussing Eastern Europe and the road to prosperity. (crowd chanting) This is where it all happened, in three days they got political freedom, the hopes were high; they thought economic miracles would follow quickly, yet now it is a year later and almost nothing has happened.



Wałęsa was an electrician and union leader with the image of an emotional, shirtsleeves populist. The first non-communist prime minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, was very popular and widely considered a front-runner. He appeared as a more respectable and intellectual leader than Wałęsa. but also as more of a compromiser. However, in the first round, Mazowiecki finished in a distant third, with only 18.7 percent of the vote, well behind Tymiński.

The reasons for Tymiński's unexpected success remain unclear. His vague promise to create wealth for everyone quickly, supported by his image as a patriotic Pole who had succeeded abroad, was well received at a time of radical political change and a worsening economic situation. There was increasing disappointment with the trench warfare that had broken out within the former anti-communist opposition so a mysterious, honest and patriotic stranger "straight out of nowhere" had considerable appeal.

Another factor was that Tymiński's use of political-marketing methods unknown in Poland at the time. A key element of his campaign was an omnipresent black briefcase, allegedly containing "secret documents" which would destroy his rivals' careers when the time was right. Although the elections passed without the briefcase being opened, its presence attracted constant attention. Tymiński's adversaries adopted a similar strategy; the daily Gazeta Wyborcza (which supported Mazowiecki) reported that Tymiński had had contact with the secret police, a story that was not withdrawn until after the elections.

Despite Tymiński's defeat, he had not only humiliated Mazowiecki (one of the best-known and most-respected figures in Polish politics), but also forced Wałęsa (who at that time was a national hero) into a runoff. After the election Tymiński tried to establish a new political party, but quickly disappeared from the political scene in Poland.



Winners of the first round by voivodeship
Winners of the first round by voivodeship
Candidate Party First round Second round
Votes % Votes %
Lech Wałęsa Solidarity 6,569,889 40.0 10,622,696 74.3
Stanisław Tymiński Independent 3,797,605 23.1 3,683,098 25.7
Tadeusz Mazowiecki Independent 2,973,264 18.1
Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz Independent[a] 1,514,025 9.2
Roman Bartoszcze Polish People's Party 1,176,175 7.2
Leszek Moczulski Confederation of Independent Poland 411,516 2.5
Invalid/blank votes 259,526 344,243
Total 16,702,000 100 14,650,037 100
Registered voters/turnout 27,545,625 60.6 27,436,078 53.4
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

a Although an independent, Cimoszewicz was supported by Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland (SdRP).


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1491 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  • Obwieszczenie PKW z dn. 26 XI 1990 r., Dziennik Ustaw. Nr 83, poz. 483 (Polish)
  • Obwieszczenie PKW z dn. 10 XII 1990 r., Dz.U. Nr 85, poz. 499 (Polish)
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