The paper is focused on economic and institutional developments in Poland during the last 30 years of transition from its centrally planned socialist economy to a market-based capitalist economy. The main purposes of the paper are three. One is to identify and explain the developments that were either surprising or specifically Polish. The second purpose is to note and explain the differences between the rate of growth of the Polish economy and that of the other emerging economies, in particular to explain ‘the green island’ phenomenon during the global financial crisis 2008-2009. The third purpose is to note and discuss the new risks that may prevent Poland to reduce further the development gap to technologically most advanced economies.
This paper compares three lists of basic ‘stylized facts’ of global economic growth and proposes a list of five ‘stylized trends’ that describe the main developments of the global economy in the 20th century. The author’s main purpose is to answer the question whether, in the light of the contemporary growth theory and demographic forecasts, these trends are likely to continue in the 21st century. Considering this theory, it is argued that the global economy rate of growth of the per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is likely to continue to be high in the first half of the current century, but decline significantly in the second half. This paper offers forecasts for the average growth rates during this century, and the levels by its end, of the per capita GDP for the technology frontier area (TFA) of the world, and for the countries outside the TFA. According to these forecasts, the strong divergence trend of the 19th and 20th centuries will be replaced by a strong convergence between the TFA and the other countries during the 21st century.