Thursday, 29 October 2009

Markets and analysts go insane...

For three consecutive days the indices of stock exchanges were taking on red colour. Analysts finally started arguing whether what we saw was the beginning of the correction and tried to foresee the scale of it. Today the markets around the world turned green and as it’s said in the stockbrokers’ slang, are heading north.

This has something to do with the psychology, to be precise with the phenomenon of self-delusion. Just look at what the investors have just believed in (probably for a short time and to take profits quickly). The US Trade Department trumpeted today the end of the recession in the United States. The growth domestic product of the country rose by 3,5 per cent year-on-year. Taking into account the doom and gloom we had been looking forward to experiencing over a year ago the figure is excellent, no wonder that markets shot up. But wait… Why has the US economy grown by 3,5 per cent? The plan I dubbed a few months ago “resuscitating the corpse” must have worked out. Patient was brought back to life, but at the expense of zillions of dollars and running up huge debts. The subsidies granted under the “Cash for clunkers” scheme and depreciation of dollar also contributed to it. They even seemed to worked a miracle – the inflation rate hasn’t gone up… Yet…!

Dear politicians. If you want to stimulate the economy of your country, print money, blow up the budget deficit, keep the interest rates down. Keynes said: In the long run we are all dead, but why should we die on our knees?

A day earlier the season of announcing the quarterly results began in Poland. The first big company to report its key figures was the TP Group. In general they were worse than expected, to boot some figures topped out for the first time since many quarters. The price of TP shares reacted quickly and plummeted by over five per cent during Wednesday trading session. In an evening commentary analysts put the poor results down to the crisis. How come? The telecommunication industry is not prone to fluctuate during downturns – firstly cause people still need to communicate, secondly many clients are under contracts so they can’t just give up on their phones whenever they wish to. It’s the business model they had adapted and consistently implemented. Lots of trade unions standing up to their privileges, splendid salons, and deplorable infrastructure combined with unreasonable prices (fifty zlotys for the cheapest monthly plan with 60 minutes to landlines included in the charge) only bring people of getting read of the fixed line – the thing of the past in the era of prevalent mobility. Its branch accountable for mobile services – Orange also needs to change its strategy – the rates in post-paid plan are, to put it mildly, unattractive, pre-paid offer doesn’t stand out, but TP managers are presumptively plotting to hammer another nail to its coffin. Prices and transfer limits of mobile internet connections can’t stack up against the ones offered by competitors. Not only by Play, Era and Plus are also much forward. Under such circumstances the outflow of clients is only a matter of time, just like the death of the ailing cash cow. And for this fundamental reason I would never, ever buy the shares of TP…

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

What happened to my facebook?

I’ve recently realised two years had gone by since I joined facebook. At that time (October 2007, a few days before elections) there were few and far between people in Poland who had heard about this social networking website. That was the time it made it big in the States and in United Kingdom, but its popularity hadn’t spilled over the rest of the world yet. The makeover which took place later only dragged the service down – at least to me.

Facebook has lost its character, as it happens to every social networking utility. One of the sociologists said when you join a certain community, you appreciate its exclusivity, then many other people sign up, after several months you get an invitation from your mother at this is the last straw – you switch to another website. As I joined it, it was totally unknown in Poland, at the beginning I had four connections and, what was the most important, facebook was available only in English. Everyone who wanted to use it, had to accept it. Facebook was a tool to learn the foreign language, pick up some slang vocabulary, two years ago it was an international socialising platform for people around the world, who used the lingua franca – English to communicate. The basic rule was the popular saying: “shape up or ship out”. The ones, who didn’t put up with this had to make do with popular Polish websites like or nasza-klasa. Here’s what I put the blame on.

In 2008 the drive to jack the profits up brought about the initiative to translate facebook into other languages. Polish was one of the first languages of the new facebook, Polish version of the website was launched over a year ago. In the subsequent months I could observe the abrupt inflow of new people to my English website. The annoying applications in English were supplanted by the Polish ones, translated or created by Polish users. The level of those applications is beyond the pale. If you’re getting bored, you can check out if your day will be lucky, how much do you want sex at the moment (below),

take a test in Polish to find out, who’s going to do the blow job today

(that’s unbelievable I’ve heard some people are already addicted to the application), or become a fan of Auschwitz.

Just put these three things together and imagine an ad of concentration camp popping up between the results of the tests described above.

I still remain faithful to the origins of the utility. I’ve never tried out the Polish version, screens I’ve seen were clumsily translated, so I still use facebook in English (UK) and watch my friends from primary school merrily signing up. As one of the Polish newspapers reports, in terms of popularity facebook has outrun nasza-klasa, which is now for nerds. It’s time to get away from there, from all those accursed websites. – I pop in out of the habit once in a few days and log out after twenty seconds, as much time as I spend on nasza-klasa. Daily dosage of facebook takes up around five minutes a day. On professional Goldenline which is still the most bearable of all the social networking services I log in once in a week. I’d give them all up with alacrity. Why won’t I do it? Out of curiosity. Tough I don’t upload my own photos, don’t update statuses, don’t take idiotic tests, I can keep up with my friends. But that’s not the way it should be – we should return to the face-to-face world instead of collecting friends…

Friday, 23 October 2009

Szybki magister was just a hoax...

…but I fell for it as well. Now I can have a sigh of relief…

There was something absurd in it, but the fictional university did a roaring trade – within a few days around five thousand people wanted to inquire about the fees, terms of studying, etc. I’d dearly step up the blogging frequency (you’re reading the 100th post on my blog), however this weekend I’m a bit short of time. To find out more about the made up university of Wyborcza, read their comprehensive report.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Elections, elections...

The parliamentary ones would be held this October, if the previous term of the Polish parliament hadn’t been shortened. I still dread to think what would have happened if the Law and Justice party had remained in power for next two years. They’d probably kept on spoiling the country and its institutions, in the worst (though not really likely) scenario, the next elections in 2009 could have been rigged. Why unlikely? People of my country wouldn’t let them do this, we would take into the streets, picket, show our disagreement, or EU would step in.

The review of the last two years – it could have been better and could have been worse. Currently there’s no alternative for Civic Platform in Poland. Turning Tusk and his entourage away would mean bringing Kaczyński back to power. The last scandals didn’t outrage me much – in every party there will be individuals aiming to set themselves up, make a few profitable deals, arrange a swindle and so on – so no surprise. Those who claim Tusk’s move was a PR stunt are partly right – however I couldn’t see any better way of resolving a problem of suspected ministers than firing them – for sake of transparency. The thought of early elections makes me feel apprehensive. If Poles turn their backs on PO it will mean PiS may earn more votes in the elections. Hopefully our memory is not short as on financial markets and the mistake of 2005 is still being borne in mind.

This weeks the elections are being held in my school. The students vote for their representatives in the senate and other bodies which I won’t mention cause I have too little time to think or check how to translate them. I went to the makeshift polling station put up on the courtyard of my school on Monday. I picked up the ballot papers and dashed off a bit to put my crosses on them. After a moment a group of fellow students, for sure including one who was running for a seat in senate came up to me and offered to help me choose the right candidates. Once again I could kick myself for being not enough assertive – I just kindly turned down their proposal. Should I’ve reported it as irregularity? I only wish I hadn’t hurried with marking the names – had I taken a moment for consideration I could have shown my disapproval and contempt for that cesspit by casting invalid votes…

Monday, 19 October 2009

University of complacency – update

Like on cue, Gazeta Wyborcza published today an extensive report on the pitiful state of education on Polish universities. I’ve just skimmed it, after one of the lecturers told us about the articles in GW. The headings suggest my school is really not that bad…

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Free market can engender pathologies

The public debate in Poland has recently concentrated on the issue of the level of education on Polish universities. Commentators and scholars after years deigned to notice how degraded the academic title of Master had been. Today virtually everyone who can afford to pay the fee can get the master’s degree. Why - the private universities have been mushrooming in last two decades. Set up by the businessmen willing to make money such schools churn out thousands of magisters with little knowledge and depressing feeling of wasted five years. No wonder, if their whole activity is based on “pretending” – we pretend that we teach them, they pretend to learn, at the end totally seriously we award them a master’s degree, because they have been paying us for five years, so the deserve to be “magistry”. Free market, although not flawless can pick out tawdry items. Such product are the qualifications of the graduates of those universities, often proved worthless by the labour market.

Reading the Friday issue of Gazeta Wyborcza I found an appalling example of master’s-for-money deal. I was mostly shocked by the message of the ad – Masz maturę – zrób magistra w dwa lata. Firstly the if not broken, then at least cracked Polish – zrób magistra. Should I draw it with crayons or conjure it up from my household waste? Or maybe look for an attractive creature of the opposite sex, do my job and wait for nine months – that’s even faster than two years! But how the hell can a high school leaver get the master’s degree within two years? On average it takes five. The ad gave the address of the School’s website. Curious to see what’s the catch I wasted some of my transfer limit and entered it. Below – the site only confirms the ad’s content and encourages the candidate with the drivelling summary of its offer.

“Unique teaching system” probably means nobody could stoop any lower. The further exploration of the website consumes my precious time and draws my exhausted eyes to the bottom of the page, where my sight runs across a caption (below).

Akademia nie gwarantuje zdobycia należytej wiedzy z zakresu wybranych kierunków w okresie studiów. Umożliwia w szybkim tempie przygotowanie studenta do obrony pracy magisterskiej.

I am deeply struck by the honesty of the school’s authorities. In other words they make no bones about the real goal of the undertaking – producing a graduate whose qualifications and knowledge won’t stand for anything!

At first it occurred to me such school should be shut down. But as I cooled off a bit and came to my senses I realised that according to the premise of rationality of choices made by the individuals such university should go bust without any regulatory help. If it does any harm to anyone, those harmed are the ones who choose to pay for education there – their choice and their potential misery after graduation.

Unfortunately it won’t go bust. There will always be the students who decide to study only to get the slip of paper called “a diploma”. We can only pin our hopes in the labour market – may it be able to verify the real value of job applicants.

Free market has in built-in inclination to favour mediocrity as it conforms to the expectations of the majority. That’s why in the prime time instead of an interesting documentary or a decent recognised film we have to watch “Taniec z gwiazdami”.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Development, but sustainable

The morning ride to school made me mull over the capacity of infrastructure as a barrier in the development. This barrier is a bit similar to a brick wall – to high to jump over it, too wide to go round it, but not heavy and not fixed to the ground so that people can push it forward, but their movement is slowed up and it wears them down along the way.

Let’s look at the example of the main roads out of Warsaw, like ul. Puławska. What’s the most effective choice for the roads users? Today the road was packed with cars, but also all buses I saw were packed with commuters. Let’s analyse a few variants…

Variant 1 – everyone who can changes the bus for a car. Buses run almost empty, those who choose to ride, travel more comfortably, but longer.

Variant 2 – some of the drivers give up their cars and decide to commute by bus. The passengers in the buses are packed like sardines, but their journey last shorter, other drivers also benefit from this.

Variant 3 – urban authorities decide to mark out a bus lane. Hard-line drivers swear like troopers, their journeys to work are fifty per cent longer. Buses are packed but run quickly.

I could come up with some more alternatives, if you want more, use your imagination, maybe leave a comment. The option 1 is undeniably the worst. The second has a certain drawback – the drivers won’t get the incentive to leave their cars because the number of buses serving the line will be too small to provide a decent standard of commuting. The third would not accelerate the journey so much. It wouldn’t last shorter off-peak, but would cause an unnecessary traffic restriction. It the rush hours it would speed it up a bit, but not as much as for instance on Trasa Łazienkowska. On ul. Puławska there are too many bus stops and too many traffic lights so the buses wouldn’t even manage to pick up speed on short sections between junctions and lay-bys.

It turns out that to ensure the decent transport link between the capital and the suburban town the authorities would have to either launch buses which would run once in two minutes in morning peak, or to widen the road to six lanes in each direction. But to unclog it would be imperative to remove most of the traffic lights and build a system of service roads (funnily enough I don’t know the Polish equivalent of the term – is it infeasible then?) along ul. Puławska to serve the residents living along the artery…

New estates spring up, the new dwellers move in, living on the suburbs inexorably evolves into a hell. The residents of my locality can be divided in three groups. The first have lived here almost since ever, like their fathers, grandfathers and so on. The second group moved out of Warsaw to run away from the city groan, fumes and noise. In return they lose two hours a day they spend in a traffic jam. Some of them already gave up and returned to Warsaw. The third group consists of people who arrived here from province in search for a better life. They settled down here cause the property prices were lower than in Warsaw. No wonder, they sought a better future for themselves and their children. We all pay the price.

When a developer builds a new estate, it’s interested in selling the flats or houses, reaping the profits. Hardly ever the developers care about the roads which link their buildings with the rest of the world. Even if they repair or modernise them it’s because the local council conditioned granting the planning permission on their contribution to the infrastructure. As far as I can observe, my locality has reached its limits of development. It should be cut back until the new infrastructure is built. Instead of quantity we should opt for a quality – quality of our lives.

Middle of the summer. I leave work, spend over an hour in stinky bus with people getting sweaty, come back home and what…? I can’t even take a shower cause the water doesn’t flow! Once again the infrastructure is overloaded. The underground water resources are scarce, the capacity of water treatment station is limited, so when a selfish jerk turns his garden watering system on, I can’t take a bath. People don’t care by their nature – they’d rather prevent their lawns and shrubs from withering than let their neighbours take an invigorating shower. In some countries (Great Britain, Sweden) it is forbidden to use water for watering the garden plants or car washing during the drought and people tend to comply to it. It someone breaks away, it’s a… Pole. Here authorities can impose bans to no effect…

Can we afford the development? Will the poor infrastructure turn the further development into an obstacle course. Will the electricity outages like the ones after the last winter attack paralyse the industry?

Look ahead, but don’t dismiss the black scenarios…

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

On bears, bulls and irrational expectations

In the string of distressing events of the previous week I didn’t manage to find time to highlight the two excellent articles from The Economist – Please do feed the bears and Unrepentant bears – the end is nigh. Not accidentally have they been published after seven months of unreasonable rallies on stock markets. Both are a must for the investors who want to steer clear of herd instinct and mistakes made by many too credulous fellows in 2007. I won’t summarise the content of them, but I’ll share some reflections I’ve had after the reading.

Firstly – why are the ones who bet the declines condemned? Journalists, analysts and commentators boiled down the picture of stock market to a simple rule: green – good, red – bad. No matter how blown up the stock prices are, it’s appropriate to fall into delight over the upward trend. Nobody cares about the underlying of the increase and the possible aftermaths. In the long run the big players start taking profits and puncture the balloon. If the stock indices rise in a reasonable pace, which reflect the state of economy, profits of the companies, increased work productivity and so on, such situation is evitable. But stock exchange is not only a place where the price is fixed and the companies are valued. It’s also a battlefield for speculators who chase the quick, short term profit. They also increase the volatility of the market, mostly visible in the range of consolidation we’re in now. The bears represent the put down voice of the common sense, which tentatively asks about the fundamentals. It’s not a convenient question, it takes the gloss off the gorgeous picture of the market which interminably heads upwards.

There are the ones in whose vested interests are the next rallies. They aim to persuade the others to buy, then when the market drifts up they hold the shares in their portfolios or play on futures market. If they represent investment funds they also seek after higher commission, boast about superb investment results and draw in the naive savers who heat up the bubble at the peak.

But how about governments? Those weren’t only the good macroeconomic data that pushed the indices up. The forecasts could have been lowered so that the real economy could exceed them easily. We owe it to the stimulus packages and loosened monetary policy. The market players flooded with the cheap money (the price of money is… the interest rate) had to invest that money somewhere. The decision-makers chose the stock market cause they had nothing to lose – when the interest rates are high, bank deposits and gilt-edged bond offer a safe return and can make alternative to volatile and rather risky stock market. In a few years we’ll have a perspective which will allow us to assess the measures taken to tackle the crisis. Then we’ll have known if they’d have done more harm than good or the other way round.

To conclude optimistically – I forecast that next week the stocks will tumble, but in spite of those tragic news we’ll be enjoying the sunshine and daytime temperature of at least fifteen degrees (Celsius degrees). 14 October is too early date to be an onset of winter… Sleet and blustery have to get lost!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The winter bike

Left: my newly-bought piece of equipment – a stationary bike. For some it’s an item allowing them to exercise on a daily basis, for others a substitute of a real bike for the months when for various reasons one can’t cycle. I’d opt for the first application of a stationary bike – I made a resolution to get on it each day and pedal for a half an hour, what in my pace, according to the device’s meter means riding thirteen kilometres (average speed – 26 kmph). Irrespective of the weather it gives me the opportunity to have an everyday workout, but it can’t make up for normal cycling, which involves contact with the nature, breathing in fresh air (or fumes from exhaust pipes – depends on where you ride), exploring new places, exposing your skin to the sun, contemplating the beauty of the landscape. Here, staying in one place for thirty minutes I need to get busy with something else – that’s why I have to take a book, a newspaper, a copybook, a phone (more pedalling means more top-ups, more points on allegro, more bonuses, etc.), eventually I can turn to my last resort – the TV is just in front of the bicycle, but that must be really the last resort…

Friday, 9 October 2009

A miracle... in a way...

Fancy reading a joyful post? Better click away this time…

Every road user knows what to do when they see an ambulance in the wing mirror. Cars on cue pull over to give way to the emergency vehicle and then orderly pull back into their lanes. Many realise the importance of such reaction, but few think what is happening on board of an ambulance. Once, probably around a year ago, after the death of my grandfather I thought “maybe the death passed by”. The moment when an ambulance hurtles next to your car rescuers might resuscitate the patient, trying to throw the balance for the life…

The last farewell ceremony is becoming increasingly popular in Poland these days. It is held in a church usually the day before a funeral. The ones invited are only the close family and friends, who can say goodbye to the departed person for the last time.
The classes finished three quarters earlier so I covered the whole distance between SGH and church by Rzymowskiego on foot rather than by underground and then bus and after an hour long walk I managed to get there just a minute before the rain lashed down. Although over ten people were invited only my parents and I arrived. “I cannot come because I live too far” or “I am on holiday so it will have to go without me” are lame excuses, but “it is too much for me” is a wicked excuse! Presence on such ceremony means paying respects to the deceased and keeping company to the family, whose tragedy it is. Theirs, not mine! It was not pleasant neither too see the corpse for the first time nor to see the reaction of the family. Unpleasant, but necessary, such situations must not be shunned, they are a part of our life. I’d say more, they let us look at our everyday problems from a different perspective and see how diminutive they are, compared to bereavement for instance.

The essential part of each funeral are condolences offered to the mourners. It is customary to come up to them and say… But what to say in such situation, avoiding corny fixed expressions and remaining sincere? I am so sorry (przykro mi) – that indeed might be true, it is one of the most obvious phrases which occur to you. You may feel compassion or sympathy for the bereaved. The former is for me much more sincere, the latter quite often less. Compassion is more about feeling sorry, sympathy is about feeling the same, both translate into Polish as “współczucie”, which means sharing other person’s feelings. This is why I never use those hackneyed phrases and try to come up with the words suitable for the situation and still be sincere. I do not think I can mention any sympathy if I do not know how it feels to lose a mother in the age of sixteen. I could not tell that nor to the older daughter of my mother’s friend. I have not lost any of my parents so I do not feel I can speak about sympathy. Maybe I will never understand it because my parents might die naturally in the ripe old age, which is different from the premature death.

But coming back to the older daughter. I cannot be sure my parents will be alive when I turn twenty seven, so there is an element of uncertainty which creeps up to my reasoning. The likelihood of decease is just smaller in case of healthier and younger people, but accidents, heart attacks, diseases diagnosed too late or common cessations of blood circulation happen and strike us out of the blue. I wonder how many people also feel a kind of thankfulness to the God of fate that “it did not happen to me”. This gratitude is soon outshined by the uncertainty and thought: “I did not happen to me… only today. But what about tomorrow?” If you feel like reading some more reflections on this topic, pop in here?

All those events made me ponder upon the inexorable – my own departure. I hope I will stay fit until the old age and pass away quickly, without unnecessary suffering. Senility and cancer – those are the things I had seen prior to the deceases of people I knew well. Lots of us would love to depart this life like this. It usually means a shock for the family, but some claim it’s better than watching your relative’s long lasting suffering. At least your dearest one will be recalled health and fit, not ailing and suffering. And most of all I hope I will outlive my parents and my children will outlive me. Every time I saw mother standing over the grave of her child I felt that was at odds with the order of the nature…

It is often said a birth is a miracle. Death is a miracle in the very similar way. Death is the most difficult things for the humans to comprehend. There used to be a man and they departed forever. The body stiffens, then decomposes, the spirit flies away. It is a mystery for the human kind and it will probably remain forever. Is there an afterlife? Are the Christian teachings about heaven, purgatory and hell true? Is there a reincarnation? Will we start another life after death or will we be plunged into nonentity?

Rozłąka jest naszym losem,
Spotkanie naszą nadzieją.

Monday, 5 October 2009

The small end of the world

Koniec świata

W dzień końca świata
Pszczoła krąży nad kwiatem nasturcji,
Rybak naprawia błyszczącą sieć.
Skaczą w morzu wesołe delfiny,
Młode wróble czepiają się rynny
I wąż ma złotą skórę, jak powinien mieć.
W dzień końca świata
Kobiety idą polem pod parasolkami,
Pijak zasypia na brzegu trawnika,
Nawołują na ulicy sprzedawcy warzywa
I łódka z żółtym żaglem do wyspy podpływa,
Dźwięk skrzypiec w powietrzu trwa
I noc gwiaździstą odmyka.
A którzy czekali błyskawic i gromów,
Są zawiedzeni.
A którzy czekali znaków i archanielskich trąb,
Nie wierzą, że staje się już.
Dopóki słońce i księżyc są w górze,
Dopóki trzmiel nawiedza różę,
Dopóki dzieci różowe się rodzą,
Nikt nie wierzy, że staje się już.
Tylko siwy staruszek, który byłby prorokiem,
Ale nie jest prorokiem, bo ma inne zajęcie,
Powiada przewiązując pomidory:
Innego końca świata nie będzie,
Innego końca świata nie będzie.

by Czesław Miłosz

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A Fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it it should always be.
On the day the world ends
Women walk through fields under their umbrellas
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.
And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.
Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet,
Yet is not a prophet, for he's much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world there will be,
No other end of the world there will be.

Translation by Anthony Miłosz, poet’s son

Have you ever realised the end of the world occurs every day, every minute, every second? It’s mostly up to the reader how to interpret a poem, but in this case comparing this work to a biblical vision of apocalypse is at least inept.

I wondered today how unbearable it is for the bereaved to reconcile themselves that the world has not come to a halt with the departure of their dearest one. Somebody passes away and the world unrelentingly doesn’t notice the spirit flying away from the body. People hurry to work, cars jam the roads, journalists in the radio crack jokes, planes touch down and take off, weather doesn’t react, everything indifferently runs its course. And the fact is that pretty everyone is unconscious of the tragedies which take place round the corner. “It doesn’t affect me” – they’d say, contemporary culture pushes away the death from its collective mind. One the individuals bring it back, whenever the death reminds about its presence by taking away one of our relatives, friends, acquaintances. This morning world also did not cease to move on – the palpable injustice?

Memento Mori!


Sunday, 4 October 2009

Where you stand depends on where you sit

So why should they check if the third time is really lucky, if the second was twice as enough? The Irish voters chose on Friday to adopt the Lisbon Treaty, which they rejected in the previous referendum, held on 12th June 2008. Their decision, this time totally predictable doesn’t necessarily prove their support for the further integration within the European Union (though the framework of the process was vastly abridged in comparison to the draft of European Constitution), but it’s an excellent evidence for the old, but still up-to-date Polish saying: “Punkt widzenia zależy od punktu siedzenia”. In the last months before the outbreak of the financial crisis Irish citizens were definitely reluctant to embrace the document. Now, after their country has been hit be the crisis (the rapid rise in unemployment may serve as the best indicator) and its financial sector has been bailed out by the government they simply seek more security, which in their view can be given by the EU.

People’s views quite often depend on their situation. The disadvantaged, the poor, the unemployed usually tend to support socialists, whereas entrepreneurs and the well-off back liberals. My generation more and more often gives lie to that tendency. Some of my friends from university come from poverty-stricken families but their favour liberal solutions. The group of the ones from wealthy families eager to share their income with the poorer is still rather sparse, but the society is drifting in a good direction. That road will be long and rough unless the public figures realise they should serve as an example in this respect. How can an ordinary citizen stick to his views if the politicians change their minds according to the PR needs or if many biggest figures of financial sector claim less regulation when the business goes well (like in 2006 or 2007 in banks) and when they face serious troubles, they submissively queue up and beg for help from the public purse?

I could write more about those partly moral choices. Unfortunately, I’m short of time this weekend. My school, after the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection levied the fine of 270 thousand złoty on it, has launched a new austerity programme under which students are obliged to give lectures instead of lecturers and I have to prepare for the first one I’m delivering on Thursday. Well, to be precise it’s not a new internal regulation, but more and more lecturers shift the unpleasant duty of giving a lecture onto the students. It takes on a form of blackmailing – if you don’t do it, you won’t get a credit… I think it’s the third time within my course of studies when the teacher just sits and watches the presentations of students without making a substantial contribution. Is this the way the “leading” Polish school of economics” wants to catch up with the western universities. It’s a downfall…