The Industrial Development of Poland

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(1871 - 1919)
Rosa Luxemburg (German: [ˈʁoːza ˈlʊksəmbʊʁk] (About this soundlisten); Polish: Róża Luksemburg; also Rozalia Luksenburg; 5 March 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a Polish Marxist, philosopher, economist, anti-war activist and revolutionary socialist who became a naturalized German citizen at the age of 28. Successively, she was a member of the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL), the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD) and the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). (From : Wikipedia.org.)

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The Industrial Development of Poland

From : Marxists.org

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This document contains 12 sections, with 30,049 words or 207,376 characters.

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First Published: 1898, under the title Die Industrielle Entwicklung Polens in Leipzig. Source: 1977 by Campaigner Publications, of New York Translated: (from the German) Tessa DeCarlo [Translator’s Note] Updated by Tessa DeCarlo in 2004 for the Marxists Internet Archive. Transcription/Markup: Ted Crawford/Brian Baggins Copyright: Campaigner Publishers 1977; published with permission from Campaigner Publishers. Although the subject of the following treatise is a very specialized one, we nonetheless believe that it may be of more than slight interest to the Western European reader, for several reasons. Today economic questions stand in the forefront of the intellectual life of all civilized countries; they have already been recognized as the mainspring of all social being and becoming. The political physiognomy, the historic destiny of a country is a sealed book to us if we do not know about its economic life, with all... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Part I: The History and Present State of Polish Industry 1.1 The Manufacturing Period, 1820-1850 Political events moved Poland into a completely new situation at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The partition brought it out of the peculiar natural-economic, feudal-anarchic conditions of the republic of the nobles which we find in the Poland of the eighteenth century, and placed it under the rule of enlightened absolutism and under the centralized bureaucratic administration of Prussia. Austria, and Russia. The Russian section of Poland, which interests us here, admittedly maintained its own corporative constitution while still the Duchy of Warsaw and later after the Vienna Congress. But it was as different from the old Poland as heaven from earth, and the whole administrative, financial, military, legal government apparatus was tailored to a modern centralized state. The latter found itself in the harshest contradiction w... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Part I: The History and Present State of Polish Industry 1.2 The Transition to Large-Scale Industry, 1850-1870 We have become acquainted with the first beginnings and development of industry in Poland within the internal market. We have seen that it owes its start to the efforts of the government, and that as a result of the limited internal market it was not able to divest itself of the manufacturing form even into the 1850s. But here the first epoch of its history ends, and a new page begins. Beginning in the 1850s a series of new circumstances arose which, although in themselves very diverse, ultimately had the effect that the Russian market was opened up to Polish production, which was thus assured a mass market. This gradually brought about a complete revolution in Polish industry and transformed it from manufacture into genuine mass-production, large-scale industry. Therefore we can characterize the second period of it... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Part I: The History and Present State of Polish Industry 1.3 The Period of Large-Scale Industry in Poland Since the beginning of the century, Russia, as was mentioned, adhered to a highly protectionist policy. The Crimean War, however, caused a change here as in all other areas of social life. In the “liberal period” of the 1860s tariffs were significantly reduced. This free-trade turn did not last long, however. Because of the reforms themselves, especially the costly railroad construction, the government ran enormously into debt to foreign countries, and the gold tariff was introduced in 1877 with the object of getting hold of gold. With this, Russia entered onto a course of even stricter protectionist policies. With the exchange rate of the paper ruble falling, the gold tariff meant an increase in the tariff rate of 30 per cent in the first years and of 40 to 50 per cent in following years. In 1880 a defi... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Part I: The History and Present State of Polish Industry 1.4 Poland’s Main Industrial Districts Now that we have given a general summary of the development of Polish industry, it remains for us to illustrate this in detail in the individual histories of the most important branches of industry, and to sketch the outward local grouping of factory production. If we disregard the scattered, insignificant factories to the right of the Vistula and along the Prussian border, the industry of the Kingdom of Poland is concentrated in three districts with strongly stamped physiognomies, different characters, and different histories. The most important among them is the Lodz district. It includes the city of Lodz and its region, the cities of Pabianice, Tomaszow, and some districts of the Kalisch Gubernia. The production of this district amounted to 49 million rubles in 1885, and today at least 120 million. This is... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Part I: The History and Present State of Polish Industry 1.5 Poland’s Industrial Market It has become clear from the foregoing that the Russian market forms the real mainspring of the current industrial development of Poland. It would therefore be interesting to hear more precise statements about the extent of the market for Polish commodities in Russia, but this can be determined only with difficulty. As in the statistics of all nations, there exists in those of Russia a great lack of data on internal trade. Here an overview can be obtained only indirectly and approximately. The official inquiry that took place in 1886 showed that of the 141 largest factories, which together represent a third of all production, 37 factories with 7,061,984 rubles produce exclusively for Poland, 27 factories with 7,480,645 rubles produce exclusively for Russia, 11 factories with 13,224,... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Part 2: Russia’s Economic Policy in Poland The picture given thus far of the development and present state of industry in Poland is completely different from that offered by the history of the urban trades in the Poland of the Middle Ages. Despite the identical nature of their origins – artificial, governmental transplanting from Germany – manufacture in Poland not only did not perish, as had urban handicraft earlier, but developed itself into heavy industry. And despite its foreign German beginnings, it not only drove deep roots into Poland’s national life, but actually became the ruling, tone-setting factor. Only recently certain phenomena have appeared that have awakened fears on many sides about the continued future of Polish industry. It is clear that the market in Russia, and in connection with that the market opened up since then in Asia, forms the mainspring of Polish industry. In all these areas, howeve... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Part 2: Russia’s Economic Policy in Poland 2.2 Conditions of Industrial Production in Poland and in Russia 1. Fuel. One of the by far most important conditions of production for any factory industry is fuel. For Polish industry this factor is seen by many researchers as the decisive one in its development, and is regarded as the most important in its competitive struggle with Russian industry. So says the report of the above-mentioned commission of 1886: “Fuel is doubtless that factor of production which makes up the most important difference in the conditions of production of the central gubernias and the Kingdom of Poland.” Polish industry possesses large and rich collieries, while the center of Russian industry, the Moscow district, lies far away from the collieries of the Donets area and is in the main forced to rely on more expensive wood or peat. “The price of wood in the Moscow g... (From : Marxists.org.)

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2.3 The Economic Ties Between Poland and Russia After the foregoing, it is clear that – were only free competition to be decisive in the battle between Polish and Russian industry – the future of the former would be assured, at least to the degree that the capitalist development of the Russian Empire is granted a shorter or longer term by the general fate of the world economy. However, we have already mentioned the other important factor that is of the greatest significance for the future of Polish capitalism: we mean the economic policy of the Russian government. It is all the more necessary to throw some light on precisely this factor, since the question (as is well known) stirred up so much dust a few years ago and one even comes across the notion that since the middle of the 1880s a real “era of persecution” has dawned for Polish industry. Actually there are grounds enough to regard all assertions of this sort a p... (From : Marxists.org.)

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2.4 Russia’s Political Interests in Poland Although the economic relations between Russia and Poland treated above unquestionably represent the leading feature in the shape of Russia’s economic policy toward Poland, it would nevertheless be one-sided to see this policy as determined simply and solely by the interests of the Russian bourgeoisie. For the present, the absolutist government of Russia is more able than that of any other country to carry through its own political interests, its sovereign interests, as well. In this connection, however, the historic state of affairs between the Russian government and Polish industry has formed a unique relationship. It is easy to see that absolutism’s interests in terms of Poland are based above all on maintaining and fortifying the annexation. Since the Vienna Congress, Russia’s special attention has been directed to tenaciously suppressing all traces of national opposition in Poland, particularly... (From : Marxists.org.)

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2.5 Russia’s Economic Interests in the Orient Of eminent significance for the question we are dealing with, finally, is the new direction in Russian foreign economic policy that has become evident in the last ten years. Up until that time, Russia’s efforts were directed to satisfying its needs for manufactured goods and raw materials through its own production and emancipating itself from foreign imports. Today its efforts go further; today Russia wants to venture out into the world market and challenge the other capitalist nations on foreign ground. To be sure, this tendency does not stem from the Russian bourgeoisie; because of the peculiar economic-political development of Russia, politics frequently grasps the initiative of economic progress out of its own interests. While industry in most capitalist countries, to the extent that the boundaries of the internal market are too narrow, pushes the government to acquire new markets by conqu... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Conclusion Our task is finished. We believe that we can conclude from the foregoing that all apprehensions about the future of Polish industry – at least insofar as they relate to the danger threatened by the Russian government – are quite groundless and nothing but an uncritical, superficial reflection of the intimate entrepreneurial wrangle between the Lodz and Moscow entrepreneurs. If one looks deeper into the situation, one must arrive at the conclusion that Poland, in economic terms, not only does not have any separation from Russia in store, but, rather, the tendencies arising from the general internal nature of large-scale capitalist production itself are binding Poland much more strongly to Russia with every passing year. It is an immanent law of the capitalist method of production that it strives to materially bind together the most distant places, little by little, to make them economically dependent on each other, and eventually transform the... (From : Marxists.org.)

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