Until the mid-1980s the overwhelming majority of the opposition's leaders simply believed that “socialism was just a very good thing.” The only problem was that the opposition viewed the socialism that was constructed by the Communist party as distorted by systemic and ideological errors. From the early 1980s the first seeds of economic liberalism were attempting to sprout on what seemed to be a definitely hostile and infertile field since the Leftist weltunschauung dominated the minds and “...souls of the opposition's elite.” As a result, economic liberalism was rediscovered by some elements belonging to an entirely new generation of anti-Communist opposition. It first became popular within narrow circles of young economists centered in Warsaw, Gdansk and Cracow. Perhaps these groups would have remained on the social and intellectual margin if any of the socialistic schemes to rectify the systemic problems of the Polish “real socialism” had succeeded. With the failure of these various schemes, Poland's reformed Communists began to entertain other systemic options. While some of them still continued their attempts to carve out the uniquely Polish “Third Way” of combining socialism with petty-entrepreneurialism and democracy, others began to look more seriously at some systemic solutions that were influenced by economic liberalism. Eventually, in the second half of the 198Os, the Communist elite began to cross the ideological Rubikon that divided the statist/socialist from the free market/entrepreneurial weltanschauung. Against this sociopolitical background, this paper aims to explore the gradual emergence of economic liberalism in Poland in the 1980s and the elusive role that it played in the society's systemic transformation.

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