IN A NUSTHELL 35/2019-20
WHOSE PAIN IS GOING TO BE BIGGER?
Controversies around Trójka, the Polish Radio’s best music station, have just reached their peak. Now they concern Trójka’s best recognizable programme aired for a stunning 38 years, the LP3 (Lista przebojów Programu Trzeciego) which every Friday presents the songs that the listeners voted for over the week. Hosted by Marek Niedźwiecki and Piotr Baron the music chart became a real icon and gathered huge audience each time. Last week during its edition number 1998 the song which won was ”Twój ból jest lepszy niż mój” (Your pain is better than mine) by Kazik Staszewski. In the song Kazik criticizes Jarosław Kaczyński’s visit at the cementary at the time when no one else could do it and is an obvious protest song. The next day the authorities of Trójka announced a song from outside the list was introduced during the voting and there was a manupulation when the votes were counted. As a result, the station’s chairman – Tomasz Kowalczewski – decided to invalidate this edition of LP3. The decision brought about serious consequences. The station was accused of censorship, Marek Niedźwiecki and Piotr Metz resigned, many artists declared they would not cooperate with Trójka anymore. Metz showed a text message from Kowalczewski in which the chairman asks him not to broadcast Kazik’s song. The general public is shocked and outraged by what is going on. In the end, whose pain is going to be bigger — the station’s, or the listeners?
DROUGHT – GREEN AND BLACK PROBLEM
The drought we are noticing in Poland nowadays will surely worsen the agricultural situation. But this is not the only endangered sector. The other one is energy production. Some power plants are using water from rivers and other natural basins as a coolant. If they suffer from water insufficiency in their systems, the water in it is getting too warm, and cannot be poured back to the river. As a consequence of such situation energy production is reduced. This scenario was already fulfilled back in the August 2015, when Połaniec and Kozienice power plants were not able to operate at their full power, due to the low level of the Vistula water. The perspective of the summer heat and a next dry year wake up fears about the continuous work of power plants in Połaniec, Kozienice as well as in Ostrołęka, Dolna Odra and Stara Wola. They all combined can deliver nearly 8 GW. To put it in a scale, all operating plants in Poland altogether generate some 47 GW. The PSE (Polish Power Networks) assure there is no risk of power deficiency. The spokesman said that some events cannot be predicted and if hot temperature last for a long time then we can expect limits in production of that five blocks, but it is hard to predict the exact scale of reduction. The PSE have some sort of backup measures to ease the energetic balance problems. In the worst scenario, we can just buy power from abroad. The spokesman also pointed out the role of solar panels in stabilising the power system. During sunny days smaller electricity consumption from KSE (National Power System) is being noticed. All solar panels installed in Poland have a total power of 1.83 GW, and it is expected to exceed 2 GW this year. However, the Energy Solutions experts consider renewable energy sources as not stable enough, and because our control over them is very limited we should use conventional power stations as backup system for renewable ones, not vice versa. Also, one of the experts added that at the moment they cannot fully protect us from a potential blackout.
CHILDREN’S COMMISSIONER WANTS TO FIGHT WITH PEDOPHILIA
Children’s Commissioner Mikołaj Pawlak, on 15 May appointed dr. Blazej Kmieciak as a member of the state committee for the investigation of pedophilia cases. Pawlak emphasized that there would be no discounted tariff for any person, for any environment, which was surely referring to the church institution itself. The newly released movie by the Sekielski brothers, ”Playing hide and seek” whose main message is pedophilia present in the church environment, probably contributed to this step. The over two-hour-long document contained the shocking confessions of the victims, who stood up eye to eye with their torturers. There are also confessions of those who plead guilty. Kmieciak said that it was a great responsibility for him to be appointed to the committee but also a great honour. In one of the interviews he described his position saying: ”My goal is to correct an evil that should never happen. Evil at its worst. That’s why anyone who has done such an evil crime must answer for it. And I will do everything I can to meet this mission’s and people’s expectations.” The law, which was established by the State Commission, was administered by the current Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin. According to the assumptions, the committee is to have seven people, a budget of PLN 12 million and 44 employees. The committee members are elected by the Sejm (three members), the Senate, the President, the Prime Minister and the Children’s Commissioner (one person each).
POLISH ECONOMY COULD BE BETTER OFF THAN EXPECTED
You are going to hear a lot of the following in the upcoming months, if not years: the economy is shrinking/has shrunk/will be shrinking. But what does the phrase actually mean, how is it measured? It means that less business is being done and the most common quantifier is the gross domestic product (GDP). Its simplest definition would be „How much a place/a country produces in an amount of time” – measured in money, of course. For example, China’s 2019 GDP was around 14 trillion and Poland’s 605 billion USD. When they say that the Polish economy will shrink by 2 to 4,3% in 2020, it is the GDP value from the previous year that they refer to. While this forecast marks the biggest setback since the beginning of the free market in Poland, it’s a relatively small one in comparison to other European countries. According to the European Commission, EU’s economy is bound to shrink by 7,4%, UK’s by 20%, Germany’s by 6,5%. The Guardian reports that China’s GDP took a 6,8% hit in the first three months of 2020. What is the reason of Poland (hopefully) not being struck as hard? Number one, relatively low production costs and number two, a big market share of the industry sector in our economy. In normal times this would be viewed as underdevelopment, but in the times of global pandemics/recession this can actually be an advantage. Why? Because it’s the services sector that suffers the most during this (or any) pandemic and in Poland only 60% of people are employed in it. In contrast, the EU’s economy is built on the services sector (75% of all working people are employed there). Naturally, our industry is also affected by the recession, but thanks to the lower production costs the damage is again not as severe. Plus our factories might become an attractive alternative for western Europe in times of possible problems with ordering from/manufacturing in China.
Someone please appreciate that it took a great deal of self-denial for the author of this piece to write about post-pandemic economy rather than about the brilliance of „The Last Dance” documentary, the final two episodes of which premiered last Sunday. This is what you call the commitment to students’ general world knowledge in face of powerful temptations.
Sources: Tygodnik Powszechny, May 17th, 2020; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/17/china-economy-shrinks-record-wuhan-covid-19-death-toll-rises-50-percent
- Employers should never let their best workers go.
- Poland should build nuclear power stations as soon as possible.
- You social position or good reputation should not make your punishment smaller in any case.
- We should be happy that our economy relies so heavily on industry.