> What about Poland's alleged "boom"? Does anyone know what the real story is?
In addition to debt writeoffs and local resistance to the worst idiocies of neoliberalism, let's not forget the 1,000 pound gorilla in the corner, a.k.a. our old friend, Central European Keynesianism. All those West German subsidies to the East did three things: (1) create lots of effective demand for Polish exporters, many of whom already had contracts with Western firms, (2) wiped out the GDR's industrial base, thus neatly excising Poland's chief competitor in the market for semi-manufactured goods from the field, and (3) created indigenous accumulation by enabling Polish workers to moonlight in German firms, something especially apparent in the construction industry. The boomlet, though, has been mostly trade-driven, not consumption-driven; I suspect things won't really start to rock and roll in the East until the EU gets off its ass and starts spending some real money on its semiperipheries.