FROM BOOK TO MOVIE
Rainer Zitelmann is a German historian, book author and entrepreneur. He gained recognition on the Polish publishing market with his book “The Power of Capitalism: A Journey Through Recent History Across Five Continents”. As reviewed by Professor Leszek Balcerowicz, ”the book emphatically illustrates a fundamental fact: the greatest, sometimes shocking, differences in the standard of living of societies that result from huge differences in their economic systems. Contrary to Marxist research, the replacement of private property and free market, i.e. capitalism, by state ownership and the government control in the economy, i.e. socialism, leads to backwardness and sometimes misery.”
According to Prof. Balcerowicz, a particularly important part of the book is the analysis of regime changes or differences in different countries. Rainer Zitelmann often says that all over the world there is a struggle between opposing forces: market versus state; capitalism versus socialism. ”While the 1980s and 1990s saw a strengthening of free market forces in many countries, today we are seeing how the other side – the state – is becoming increasingly entrenched in this battle of opposites. That is why the content of this book is so important – especially in Poland,” writes the author in the book’s introduction.
In December 2022, the Economic Freedom Foundation purchased and donated 460 copies of Zitelmann’s book to all members of the Polish Parliament to encourage them to read and be inspired by the ideas contained therein in their daily work.
IMPORTANT PRODUCTION ABOUT POLISH ECONOMIC HISTORY
Following the publication of the book, the author has made a film, which is a story about Poland’s economic breakthrough and successful economic transformation. In the film “Poland: From Socialism to Prosperity. The rise of the white eagle” Rainer Zitelmann visits key historical sites and talks to people who remember the communist era and witnessed the transition to a market economy. The result of these conversations is a fascinating story of Poland’s transformation from one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe to one of the fastest growing countries.
On the one hand, the film is a portrait of the pre-transformation era: the absurd prohibitions and orders and their consequences, the waning belief in the myth of the power of socialism, and the omnipresent cynicism and revolts in giant workplaces. On the other hand, it is a reminder of how important it is to maintain a pro-market and pro-entrepreneurial course in the economy.
At the premiere of the film, held on June 24, 2023 at the Arche Hotel in Warsaw, the German historian reminded attendees that people’s living conditions can be improved only by private ownership and free-market reforms. Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz, who was present at the launch, pointed out that Rainer Zitelmann educates about Poland the way Alexis de Tocqueville once educated about the United States. ”Today, defending freedom in Poland does not require heroism, it simply requires the sacrifice of time,” said the author of the economic reforms of the early 1990s.
The video is available on YouTube.