Through the Back Door: The Black Market in Poland 1944-1989

Through the Back Door: The Black Market in Poland 1944-1989

by Jerzy Kochanowski


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This book analyzes the history of the black market in Poland before the 1940s and the development of black-market phenomena in post-war Poland. The author evaluates the interrelation between black-market phenomena and historical and geographical conditions. At first, the black market stabilized the system by making it more flexible and creating a margin of freedom, albeit in the short term. In the long run, the informal economic activities of the people ran counter to and undermined the official ideology of the state. The author concludes that in post-war Poland, owing to a singular coincidence of historical, political, economic and social factors, the second economy had its own unique character and an endemic presence that loomed large in the Soviet Bloc.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783631655856
Publisher: Peter Lang GmbH, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften
Publication date: 12/29/2016
Series: Studies in Contemporary History Series , #5
Edition description: New
Pages: 436
Sales rank: 895,929
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x (d)

About the Author

Jerzy Kochanowski is Full Professor at the Institute of History of the University of Warsaw. He was Visiting Professor at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz as well as Senior Fellow at the Imre-Kertész-Kolleg in Jena. His main areas of interest are the social history of Poland and Eastern Europe in the 20th Century, Polish-German relations, and forced migrations.

Table of Contents

Black Market – Legal Markets – Semi-legal Markets – Illegal Markets – The Black Market in Communist Poland: Problems with Definition – The First World War – The Interwar Period – The Second World War – After the War – The Front Line of the War on Speculation: The Central Commission – Geography of the Black Market in the Polish People’s Republic – Periphery – Center – Big Cities – Municipal and District Poland – The North versus the South – East–West – Meat on the Black Market: Between Repression and Consent – Alcohol – A National Hobby: Illegal Alcohol Production – The Clandestine Distilleries: Moonshine and the Authorities – Gasoline – Dollar and Gold: A Panacea for Tough Times – The Greenback Game: Mechanisms and Players – Money Changers: A Portrait Study – The Tourist Trade in Communist Poland – Smugglers

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