While Paris burns, Poland does not. Isn’t that strange? The Poles have an unemployment rate which is as high as the unemployment rates in French suburbs. Yet while “angry French youths” burn down their neighbourhoods, including their public transport buses and schools, Polish plumbers, construction workers and nurses are too busy to be angry. They travel abroad for several weeks at a time to work in foreign lands. One of the places they go to is France, where they work harder, often delivering better quality and at lower wages than French workers. Can’t the “French youths” do the same? Do not tell me that there are no plumbers, construction workers and nurses in places like Clichy-sous-Bois?
Mark Brands is a clever young Dutch entrepreneur. Last year he founded Eurostar25, a company which negotiates temporary contracts between Dutch employers and Polish workers. Four months ago Brands also opened offices in Belgium. He explained yesterday in a Flemish newspaper (De Tijd, Nov. 3) how his system works: the Polish workers remain in Belgium for eight consecutive weeks, and then have a one week holiday in Poland before returning to Western Europe. Eurostar25 guarantees its Belgian clients “well-motivated temporary workers.” Brands pays them the normal (high) Belgian wages. This allows the Poles to earn in four months what they would earn in Poland in a whole year.
Brands’ Belgian clients like the deal for two reasons. The first reason is that despite all the talk about unemployment, there are many low-skilled jobs that hardly get filled. The Poles are prepared to do jobs which many Belgians spurn. The second reason is that the Poles work harder than Belgian employees. Brands takes great care to ensure that his workforce remains “flexible.” The Poles never work too long in the same place: “If they work too long with the same group of Belgian employees, they adopt the slower working pace of the Belgians,” says Brands.
Eurostar25 is a booming business. Last month Brands opened his first offices in Denmark and Switzerland. There is a demand for well-motivated flexible and temporary workers in Western Europe. Brands now offers not only Poles, but also workers from the Czech Republic and Greece.
Anti-immigration parties take it out on the so-called “youths” in Clichy because they do not work, while the West European socialists take it out on the Poles because they do work. Two weeks ago Belgian employees of Struik Foods, a meat processing factory near Antwerp, went on strike because the management had employed a dozen temporary Polish workers through a Dutch company similar to that of Mark Brands. The trade unions crippled the plant with strikes until the management complied with the demand that no Poles would be allowed to work at Struik Foods. This was a setback, acknowledges Brands, “but the invasion of Polish workers will be impossible to stop.” The unemployed from Eastern Europe will keep coming to the West.
An obvious solution to the “anger” of the unemployed “youths” in
Clichy-sous-Bois and the other burning suburbs of Paris would be to
send in an entrepreneur like Mark Brands to offer them the same kind of
jobs that he is offering to Poles, Czechs and Greeks. Why doesn’t that
happen? Why is there no “invasion” of unemployed workers from Clichy-sous-Bois and similar places? Why do they prefer to burn down schools rather than to follow the Polish example?
Perhaps because despite the so-called poverty and destitution of which they are victims (at least according to the media), the Islamic “youths” of Clichy are the spoiled brats of the West European welfare state. Despite the media talk of “discrimination” (if there is any discrimination of immigrants in Western Europe, it is “positive” discrimination), they get the same generous welfare benefits as other Frenchmen. The West European government handouts are so high that none of the allegedly “frustrated and angry unemployed” are willing to do the kind of jobs that the Poles gladly take. The moral perversion which accompanies socialism has affected Muslims to a larger extent than it has affected people raised in the traditional Christian culture of the West with its stronger sense of individual responsibility – and even among the latter social welfarism has had devastating effects on traditional morality, which has almost disappeared.
The Poles on the other hand have lived under almost half a century of communist dictatorship, but socialism did not affect them to the same extent as it has affected the peoples of Western Europe. They remained faithful to their Catholic religion. The Western media maintain that they voted in favour of social welfarism in the last elections. But did they really?
In last Saturday’s The Wall Street Journal Daniel Schwammenthal reminds us that three things – free markets, family values and patriotism – have been the hallmarks of every successful conservative movement. When the Poles had to choose which party to make the biggest in the country they chose Law and Justice (PiS), a conservative party emphasing family values and patriotism rather than free markets, above Civic Platform (PO), a conservative party emphasing free markets rather than family values and patriotism.
Last week Alex Chafuen of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation pointed out that many of the voters who prefered PO’s economic proposals ended up voting for PiS because they disliked PO’s commitment to the European Union. “Both parties need each other and they will need to find a consensus,” Alex wrote. Unfortunately, the Polish party leaders started quarrelling over personal and personnel issues, forcing PiS to form a minority government. The new government, however, has many convinced freemarketeers in its ranks and is proposing an economic policy that is economically more sound than what many right wing parties in Western Europe propose. Unfortunately, the Poles will not get the flat tax that PO suggested, but they will at least get a simplification of the tax code of which West Europeans can only dream.
The spectacle of politics in Warsaw is as disheartening as the political spectacle in Paris, where some are trying to use the ongoing riots in Paris and elsewhere as an excuse to bring down Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s Interior Minister. But as long as the Poles are not losing their willingness to work, to create wealth, to improve their lot, as long as they realise that their future is their own responsibility rather than the state’s and the politicians’, Poland’s prospects are bright, while those of Western Europe grow bleaker day by day.