Thursday, January 28, 2010

Poland's Donald Tusk: A New Free Market Leader or Just Confused Technocrat

FT recently interviewed Poland's Prime Minister, Donald Tusk.

The theme of the interview was the Prime Minister's view that Poland in needs maintain a free market approach to the economy. Indeed,to be a role model in free market development, for Eastern Europe. At one point he says Poland has the courage to be such. Yet, the start of the video has Tusk talking like an econ technocrat has he discusses how he wants a limit on the size of the government budget BUT a limit that is actually annual growth in the government budget of 1%. Methinks real courage would be a politician or government that shows how to decrease government's annual budget, not increase it. He sounds more like President Obama then a free market advocate here.

Tusk also discusses energy purchases as though there needs to be a national energy buying policy. Indeed, he calls for EU solidarity in energy policy. This is a bit away from what Milton Friedman might think is a free market energy policy. Why not just let energy providers, including Russia's Gazprom, simply compete to sell gasoline and heating oil to Poland's consumers? What does a national oil policy have anything to do with free markets?

Tusk talks a good game about free markets and private property throughout the interview, which is a good thing. Talk about private property and free markets is important, but I wonder if he really understand what it means. In the two examples during the interview, when he leaves generalities and starts talking specifics, the budget and oil "policy", he sounds more like a technocrat than a free market disciple. Somebody in Poland should call him on it.

Here's the video.

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