Poland's Davos — old vodka in new bottles

By On September 06, 2018

Poland's Davos â€" old vodka in new bottles

We use cookies to improve our service for you. You can find more information in our data protection declaration.

More info OK
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Suche
  5. Choose from 30 Languages
  • Albanian Shqip
  • Amharic አማርኛ
  • Arabic العربية
  • Bengali বাংলা
  • Bosnian B/H/S
  • Bulgarian Ð'ългарски
  • Chinese (Simplified) 简
  • Chinese (Traditional) 繁
  • Croatian Hrvatski
  • Dari دری
  • English English
  • French Français
  • German Deutsch
  • Greek Ελληνικά
  • Hausa Hausa
  • Hindi हिन्दी
  • Indonesian Indonesia
  • Kiswahili Kiswahili
  • Macedonian Македонски
  • Pashto پښتو
  • Persian ÙØ §Ø±Ø³ÛŒ
  • Polish Polski
  • Portuguese Português para África
  • Portuguese Português do Brasil
  • Romanian Română
  • Russian Русский
  • Serbian Српски/Srpski
  • Spanish Español
  • Turkish Türkçe
  • Ukrainian Українська
  • Urdu اردو
Wrong language? Change it here DW.COM has chosen English as your language setting.


Poland's Davos â€" old vodka in new bottles

The Polish Economic Forum in Krynica-Zdroj is often dubbed "Poland's Davos," offering a wide range of debates on global or regional economic issues. DW's Jo Harper shares his personal view on the gathering.

The buil   ding where the Economic Forum is being held. European country flags can be seen hanging from the buidling.

Imagine being stuck on a long plane journey with Roger Stone on one side and Ivanka Trump on the other. Then, when you try to change seats, you realize the whole plane is full of Roger and Ivanka clones.

It's three years since I last visited the Polish Economic Forum in Krynica-Zdroj in southern Poland. I vowed then never to come back and after a tortuous almost 4-hour bus journey from the capital, Krakow, to the small spa town near the Polish-Slovakian border, I remembered why.

Roger and Ivanka mill around, Polish hipsters with flash suits, color-rimmed glasses, trimmed beards, sipping authentic local soup in authentically wooden restaurants before making their way to the ultracool forum site.

Uniform for aspiring entrepreneurs

See the forceful business women in sharp suits sip skinny latte coffees and smoke skinny ci garettes. See the startups start up here, the block chains block chains there. Everyone mixing the blue suits and the brown brogues.

What was once cool and different is now just another uniform for the aspiring entrepreneur. The eccentric entrepreneur is now ubiquitous. Red or green socks and the obligatory unkempt hair. The odd dinosaur wanders lost among the throng, the purple-suited mustachioed relics of the early 1990s Polish business world.

Long-legged girls in short skirts wander around handing out chocolates and apples. Short-haired goons glare into the crowd. Other businessmen who look a lot like what one might imagine a Russian gangster to look like mill around. Donald Trump would fit right in.

Watch video 01:36 Now live 01:36 mins.

How long will Poland's economic boom last?

The prezes, the CEO â€" roles seem to be awfully important here. One man and his leadership, surrounded by fawning and aspiring middle managers and pretty secretaries. Always marching, led by the Big Man, to some important event or another. A lot of back-scratching, peacock strutting, peeing contests. The winner-takes-all attitude smacks from the first moment.

Where style matters

Direct and lacking in much semblance of humility, the world here is one where wearing the wrong suit can mean social exclusion. Botox and plastic surgery booths are not here on show, but the whiff of self-improvement is everywhere.

Poland has come a long way since 1989, no doubt, and Krynica perhaps doesn't do justice to that fact. But Krynica seems to be the place new money comes to show itself. To be seen, to show how smart it is, in all senses.

Organizers say the event has about 4,000 guests and the small town is packed. The three days are a mass of panels.

Throw in a few foreigners and you get the feeling it's a reall y international affair. The shrill and entitled sound of British voices filter through wherever one goes in the world. And Krynica is no exception. The Financial Times correspondent interviews the British minister on one panel about Brexit.

Russian bodies with sharp elbows and little by way of gentility slump aggressively in another. The Chinese delegations seem like they are on well-drilled military exercises.

Poland seems to have arrived

So, the Polish brand. It was easy to love Poland when it was a poor, beleaguered but essentially a European neighbor in need. So easy it was to feel sorry, to look slightly down one's nose at those learning the capitalist game. They came to learn, to pick up the style, to learn the lingo. But now, where is Poland?

It seems to have arrived. It is now a middle-income country, well placed and reasonably balanced economically. It has all the trappings of a Western country. But when you cease f eeling sorry, what do you feel?

It feels like a rather brutal, parochial place. It says, we have arrived, look at us. The locals don't seem much enamored of the visitors either. Service culture is a distant memory for urban visitors in these parts. Perhaps that's its charm, but it jars with the "Poland â€" Open-For-Business" mantra that seeps through almost all panel discussions.

Invitations to non-business actors, the prospect of civil society and NGO actors on show seems to have disappeared. Perhaps that window-dressing is also no longer needed. Business after all is all about what you can get out of an unfair world, a zero-sum game of social Darwinism. I might like to come back to Krynica next year, but probably not.

Watch video 04:40 Now live 04:40 mins.

Post-Brexit: Back to Poland?

DW recommends

Ivanka Trump shutters fas hion brand

The US president's daughter said she made the decision so she could focus more on work as a White House adviser. Ivanka Trump's brand has been facing boycotts from shoppers after Donald Trump's election. (25.07.2018)

Poland's pro-coal government goes green

Europe's fourth-biggest greenhouse gas polluter has given a boost to offshore wind power plans in the Baltic Sea. After its pro-coal rhetoric tarnished the Polish government's good name, Warsaw is looking to green up. (05.09.2018)

Macron’s eurozone plans put eastern EU members on the spot

French President Emmanuel Macron is impatient to reinvigorate the eurozone. But this poses a dilemma for the EU's eastern members: Stay out and risk losing clout in Brussels or join and risk losing economic sovereignty. (28.09.2017)

Poland fears economic hit as EU opens door to Ukrainians

With the EU easing travel re strictions for Ukrainians, Warsaw is worried fewer of its eastern neighbors will come to Poland for work. Cheap Ukrainian labor has helped contain inflation and boost growth. (30.01.2018)

Will Brexit kill The City?

The City of London will lose its status as a global financial services hub if Brexit goes ahead without certain guarantees for the services sector. It could take time, but it will happen, French regulatory experts warn. (06.09.2018)

Audios and videos on the topic

Post-Brexit: Back to Poland?

How long will Poland's economic boom last?

  • Date 06.09.2018
  • Author Jo Harper (Krynica)
  • Related Subjects Poland, Davos
  • Keywords Davos, Krynica, economic forum, global economy, entrepreneurs, Poland, Vodka
  • Feedback: Send us your feedback.
  • Print< /strong> Print this page
  • Permalink https://p.dw.com/p/34PBZ

Related content

Schweiz Weltwirtschaftsforum WEF in Davos

Globalization: Even Davos gets the blues 23.01.2018

The global elite is doing a lot of soul-searching at this year's World Economic Forum in Switzerland. But does globalization need to be fixed? And is Davos the place to answer such a question?

  • Date 06.09.2018
  • Author Jo Harper (Krynica)
  • Related Subjects Poland, Davos
  • Keywords Davos, Krynica, economic forum, global economy, entrepreneurs, Poland, Vodka
  • Send us your feedback.
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink https://p.dw.com/p/34PBZ
Advertisement Protesters raise their hands in a demonstration against oil company Chevron demanding compensation (Getty Images/AFP/S. Platt)

World in Progress: Waiting for the Cleanup

Fossil funding in Africa -- Waiting for the cleanup in Ecuador -- Migrant workers Italy -- Interview Western Union

Donald Trump's politics tops list of Germans' greatest fears

Angela Merkel, head in hands, with Donald Trump (picture-alliance/AP Photo/NTB Scanpix/T. Meek)

Nothing scares Germans more than the US president's policies and their global impact, according to a new survey. Concerns about refugees and integration came in second and third place.

Bavaria can own Neuschwanstein Castle brand , rules ECJ

Neuschwanstein Castle (picture-alliance/ZB/F. Baumgart)

Neuschwanstein is not only located in Bavaria, its brand now also belongs to the southern German state. The top EU court ruled that Bavaria can trademark the castle's name, much to the dismay of the souvenir industry.

Crimea: Mysterious chemical incident evokes memories of Chernobyl disaster

Children wear face masks in Crimea (picture-alliance/dpa/TASS/S. Malgavko)

People in Crimea are experiencing unusual symptoms after reports of an incident at a titanium plant. Authorities claim there is no threat to public health on the peninsula, but children have nonetheless been evacuated.

Source: Google News Poland | Netizen 24 Poland

« Prev Post
Next Post »