Essay: Political Corruption in Poland

Poland is already the member of European Union, but the heritage from communist time is still felt in this country. A number of investigations were provided by European Commission and Euro Union in order to get the recent data on the political corruption in Poland. The statistical data shows that Pole find corruption essential for their state but still they think it is an acute social problem: “Poles seem to be aware of the scale and gravity of corruption in Poland. The existing data show that Poles think that corruption is pervading the Polish state and the Polish political system. Poles increasingly think that corruption is an acute social problem. Although between 1991 and 2003 the percentage of people who think that corruption is a big social problem increased from 71% to 81%, the share of those who think that it is a very big social problem increased from 23% to 68%. The scale of corruption is better seen when societal perception is compared across nations. The Corruption Perception Index compiled by Transparency International shows the salience of this issue in international comparison. The data from 2000 and 2004 show that all post-communist countries are situated relatively low in this ranking, indicating that the conditions of post-communist transformations create fertile ground for corruption” (Alexander Surdej and Kaja Gadowska, 5-6).

The researches of this problem define, that the main reason for political corruption growth is historical and cultural factors.

Historically Poland was dependent from economics of the other countries and did not have personal independent state structure that was ruled under the suppression of totalitarian or authoritarian powers: “In the case of Poland, the discussion of the cause of corruption typically starts by pointing to historical and cultural factors characterizing Polish society, such as the lack of autonomy or statehood for over 120 years (from the end of the 18th century until 1918), followed by subordination to occupational authorities (1939–1945) and over 40 years of communist regimes during which the state had little social legitimacy. In this type of explanation the underlying causal mechanism can be summarized as follows: If the state is perceived as hostile to society, people approve corruption as a way of cheating and undermining the functioning of such a state. Furthermore, if the patterns of corruption are firmly established they persist even if other conditions change; corrupt practices remain widespread even if the state has been „reclaimed” by society in becoming independent and democratic” (Alexander Surdej and Kaja Gadowska, 12). Still the investigators came to the conclusion that the situation in the Poland is under the control. The rate of corruption is still too high, much higher than in other members of European Union. But among the countries, which joined European Union during the recent years Poland is obtaining reasonable place and rapidly moving ahead the statistical data, struggling against political corruption in the area: “The most diffused form of corruption in Poland seems to be so called” low corruption”, i.e. corruption in dealing with public functionaries as administrators and providers of public services.

When Poles speak about their experiences of corruption they most often refer to paying bribes for the delivery of medical services to which they are entitled or for passing the driving test to obtain a licence. It should be noted that in Poland the state budget finances and the public administration manages a relatively broad range of public services” (Alexander Surdej and Kaja Gadowska, 10). Regular control after the corruption level helps to provide necessary measures in order to stabilize the situation and decrease the level of corruption: “As pointed out by Susan Rose-Ackerman, such corrupt practices are relatively easy to eliminate because citizens are asked for bribes as additional payments for services they should receive for free; further cases could be eliminated by a relatively simple reorganization in the way public services are delivered, or by reducing the scope and range of public services. Much more difficult to eradicate is “high corruption” – corruption within the government or corruption resulting from the collusion between public officials and businesses (citizens) to create or share gains at the public’s expense” (Alexander Surdej and Kaja Gadowska, 10).

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