Laziest Country in World

Lazy PolesIt has come to my attention that Poland and the Poles could well be regarded as the laziest nation in the European Union and perhaps the world. Why? How? According to the latest forecasts of the Social Insurance Fund (FUS) it seems that the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) will need sizeable state subsidies in order to function in the upcoming years. The annual deficit of FUS in the period 2008-2012 will be somewhere between a staggering PLN 18.8 billion and PLN 36.7 billion. If one takes into account that the new Pensions Act may be passed this year guaranteeing intermediary pensions for miners (how ridiculous is that!) the state will have to subsidise FUS to the tune of anything between PLN 93.8 billion and PLN 183.6 billion.

FUS is actually made up of four funds – the pension fund, disability fund, accident fund and sickness fund. They are responsible for collecting contributions and paying out benefit. According to the forecast, the pension fund will have the largest deficit which will be a minimum of PLN 152.9 billion within the next five years. 

One of the major reasons why this is the case is the fact that the average real age of retirement in Poland is 58.7 for men and 56 for women, the lowest age of retirement in the world. Poland also has the lowest number of working people between the ages of 55 and 64 in the European Union (27% compared with 42.2% in the EU).

I have always wondered why there are so many national holidays in Poland and always been annoyed at the work ethic (i.e. the lack of one) in this country. These statistics just bring the scary truth home to me. Poland either has to buck its ideas up and get to work or fall behind. Just imagine what could happen if they became the hardest working country in the world. The potential for change is more than just significant…


11 thoughts on “Laziest Country in World

  1. If you haven’t noticed yet, the productive and resourceful part of our workforce has already emigrated and is colonizing western europe;p Give them a few years and the Free West will look like San Marino- more signs in Polish than in any other language (mostly on liquor stores, too).

    A country is formed by a nation, not the other way around. Jews had no home for thousands of years and right after big part of them rained down, they still had the steam to go and kick out some harmless towelheads (no offense towards towels is intended) out of a piece of desert and turn it into a nice little paradise with 20 suicidal bombings a day. Poles spent 200 years trying to kick out those dirty russian/austrian/german stealing, corrupt and drunken bastards (and Jews) and hey! We did it, we even managed to get dirty stealing, corrupt and drunken bastards of our own! Now that’s what I call progress.

    And a bit more seriously: Polish goverment, instead of making Poland a better country for Poles with hard work and good ideas (which are actually not the things that you get into politics for), is making legal (and taxable) work for our eastern neighbours a little bit easier to get. Mr. President will probably say “This way russian will be the official language in our hospitals in about three years, but hey, as long as they don’t know english, they’ll stay and won’t ask for a raise, right?” Plus, they will pay for all those hardheaded “goody-doers” who voted for PiS and LPR to “sort out the past, then start thinking about the future”. The big joke is that the world keeps turning, no stops for PiS and the witch-hunt intended, the smart leave, the lazy stay behind and whine about the way it is… shit, that sounds a bit like me… but still, although this country might be a dump, it’s MY dump, and I love hating to live here.

    I don;t think that even a third of this comment is on the topic of the post, but I still think that this slightly cynnical and largly racist/chauvinistic essay is worth posting as a self-therapy session after a week of exams ;p

  2. Hmm? A rant, indeed. Our thoughts on Polish migration are neither here nor there. The important factor is what is inside the individual. If one does not possess the necessary work ethic then one might as well pack one’s bags and… leave. Wherever one goes, whichever country one chooses very little can be achieved without hard work. Bummer, eh?

  3. I don’t know much about the current situation in Poland, but my first reaction on reading the blog was the same as Czibo’s: maybe a lot of the more active, less lazy people have left to seek different working/living conditions. I think that Polish migration is entirely relevant here, as every country has people who choose to minimise the work they have to do. In the UK, which has benefitted heavily from Polish migrants, there are many who choose not to work – and the UK government seems to have given up on them – and decided to let them just live off benefits ad infinitum, as it seeks to encourage immigration more than ever before (albeit in non-transparent ways).

    I think Raf’s point about having to work hard to get results IS true wherever you go, but there are clear international variations in working conditions and benefits. For example, I now live and work in Norway. I emigrated from the UK, where there was a culture of white collar workers working very long hours without paid overtime. Norway, tends to be more family-oriented in my experience, and I am seeing more of a work-life balance here. On the other hand, the tax is higher, the pay differentials between the highly qualified and less qualified are lower, the cost of living is higher etc. I could probably double my salary with a move to a similar job in the US – but then, politics aside, might struggle to get by on the annual leave – which is much less than in many European countries.

    I think it is inevitable that if the benefits (and I don’t mean purely financial benefits) aren’t there for working hard, then talented people will leave – if this persists for a long time, then what you’ll have left is an apparently lazy country. So there are two factors at work here possibly: 1. Relatively poor reward for hard work (encouraging migration, and also lack of work) and 2. Migration itself. However, I believe that this situation is reversible. At the end of the day, I think a lot of migrants would return “home” if the conditions were attractive.

  4. Fair point, Andy. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s always a toss up between quality of life/standard of living and the amount of work time you have to put in or that you’re prepared to put in in order to achieve this quality of life/standard of living.
    For example, we’d both earn much more if we moved to the States but we’re both well aware of the fact that the work ethic is very ‘un-European’ over there. Would we do it? Could we do it?

  5. Bush goes ballistic about other countries being evil and dangerous, because they have weapons of mass destruction. But, he insists on building up even a more deadly supply of nuclear arms right here in the US. What do you think? Why has bush turned our country from a country of hope and prosperity to a country of belligerence and fear.
    If ever there was ever a time in our nation’s history that called for a change, this is it!
    The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren’t living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

  6. Look at France and its 35 hours workweek! this is a lazy country :). you can work 35 hours per week and still have a good standard of living.
    where did you found the data about the real age of retirement in Poland? I agree that the official data might be 58 for men and 56 for women. Very often the retired people work illegally because their pension doesn’t cover their basic needs for life.
    Hopefully the work ethic heritated from the communisme will be dead in some 30-40 years but still you cannot generalise, it concerns a small part of the people who used to do nothing and be correctly paid during the socialist era.

  7. Dorota: The data was taken from Polish/EU press release. I’m not so sure about the work ethic dying. Certain things, unfortunately, seem to go round in circles and never change.

  8. i am not sure if this article is true… what i am sure about is there’s another country somewhere in the middle east that is a lot more home of laziest people in the universe… ones who are praising their money being so rich, using it as a tool to be excused in everything… they just pretend to be working when they are not… no wonder the late Saddam Hussein wanted to nail them under the ground.

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