Competitive solidarity and regional development
The relationships between competitiveness and solidarity are especially interesting in Central-Eastern European countries, which experienced the transition from state socialism to capitalism. The chapter explores how, in Poland, an enhanced competitiveness and a higher quality of life at the national level affect economic and social conditions at the regional level. If social justice is primarily understood in terms of reduced social exclusion, it can be concluded that the post-socialist development of Poland brought about enhanced competitiveness together with positive social consequences in the previously under-privileged regions, even though the gap between them and metropolitan areas have increased. Thus, competitiveness and solidarity can be seen as mutually reinforcing, rather than contradictory, in this particular historical period. This was largely achieved through overcoming infrastructural and institutional legacies from the pre-socialist and socialist times. Still, there are also evident losers from Polish capitalist development since the 1990s at the sub-regional and especially the local levels. The remaining areas of social exclusion are reproduced by a complex nexus of demographic, social, economic, and institutional structures and mechanisms, partly rooted in the past and partly generated by the contemporary global economy.