This highly readable short volume, which originated as the Robbins Lectures at the London School of Economics, offers a succinct review of the history and rationale of the dramatic economic reforms in Poland since late 1989, sometimes misleadingly called the "big bang" approach to economic restructuring. Sachs, a Harvard professor and sometime advisor both to Poland's Solidarity and to Russia's Gaidar, makes a spirited and persuasive defense of Poland's main approach, given the circumstances there. In particular, he says the frequently lamented decline in output in former communist countries should not be lamented; it represents a necessary step in shifting resources away from the production that no one wants to output that is socially desirable. Sachs makes an interesting analogy between Poland's current efforts to "return to Europe" and those that began in Spain 30 years earlier.
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