07 March 1980

Credit, Beethoven and bear steak

Usual classes in the morning.

Rudolf Buchbinder
At 5:00 pm we listen to a lecture by a Polish professor on "East-West Trade". He says nothing unpredictable: we need to increase East-West trade, we need to raise the volume of exchanges. He also asks for "cheap credit" from the West to finance it. Right. Well not surprising: Poland is running out of cash. During the 1970s Gierek's government has been splurging to keep people happy but the coffers are empty. Lacking market reforms cheap credit is the only way forward. I ask him how Poland could increase productivity and thus afford international credit but he is rather evasive. Poland, like other Comecon countries, is getting subsidies from the USSR in the form of cheap energy but it's not enough.

In the evening great concert by the Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder. The three of us manage to get good seats (second row for only 60 zlotys).  All-Beethoven program, including the "Appassionata", one of my favorites.

After the concert we go for dinner at the Canaletto restaurant of the Victoria hotel and for the first time in my life I eat a steak of bear meat! Delicious. Only 1500 zlotys (about 13 dollars) for the three of us and this is the most expensive restaurant in the city. This can't work. Something has to give. The day ends with a long talk in the car with Ann, until 3:00am.

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