Poland a cultural analysis

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1. a, b, c

In central Europe, bordered by Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and the Baltic Sea, lies Poland. Poland sprawls 120,726 square miles, making it the 9th largest country in Europe, and the 69th largest in the world. The land forms into everything from coastal lowlands to mountain ranges. The coast bordering the Baltic Sea to the north has a low of six feet below sea level, while the Western Tatras peaks at 8,199 feet at the Rysy peak. Located within the borders is the Bledow desert, one of only five throughout Europe. Poland boasts over ten thousand lakes and many rivers that are used for navigation from the Baltic Sea to the rest of the country. The climate throughout Poland is generally temperate, with a more oceanic climate closer to the coast and growing more continental moving south west. Summers are warm and winters are chilly and dry, but both seasons tend to be mild with few extreme variances in the temperature either way.

     Like many countries in Europe, the borders have not always been as they are today. The Second World War in 1945 left much of Poland in ruins. Six million Poles were killed in the war, the highest population percentage of all countries involved. Afterwards, the western border of Poland was shifted, reducing Poland's size by approximately 20% and forcing a migration of millions of people, many of them Poles. Although I am not sure the exact date or reasons, it is estimated that my ancestors arrived in the States around the late 1940's. When my ancestors arrived in the United States, they migrated to Michigan where they began a farm that harvested Potatoes primarily. My grandmother still has memories of picking the rose bugs off the potato plants. Potatoes, in Poland, are largely grown in the western part of the country. With the border shift, it is likely my ancestor's farm there had been seized. Being uprooted either by the destruction of a house, or the loss of one during the border shift, would have provided the perfect opportunity to move to the United States for a more promising future.

2. A. a, b, c

     Hunting is used mainly for sport however; it can also be considered a subsistence strategy. There are also a few fishing operations that are located off the coast, and in some of the rivers inland fishing for smelt during the smelt season. These fisher-people are mainly men. Rifles, for hunting duck, pheasants, and deer. For fishing, nets and boats are used. As well as hooks and artificial bait in some cases.

     Farms across Poland practice Pastoralism by raising dairy cows, beef cattle, poultry, and pigs. The climate and terrain of Poland allows for the animals to live throughout the country, however most of the animal farms are concentrated in the south east of the country because there the land is relatively flat and has a pH that does not support crop growth. Fences to keep the animals contained, troughs for feeding, branding irons to keep track of the cattle, and slaughterhouses for when the animals are “harvested” are just some of the technologies that are used in pastoralism. Younger teens, on smaller farms, can help with the feeding of the animals and the cleaning of the animal's living area. Adults, considered ages 18 and older, work in the herding, branding, and slaughter of the animals. Most of the farms throughout Poland are small, approximately 1.2 million. Many of these are family farms or farms not owned by large corporations so the workers are usually local farmers and families.

     Horticulture is practiced about as much as pastoralism and usually by the same people. Over half of the farms in Poland are small family owned farms who produce enough to support themselves and little else. These farms grow corn, potatoes, tomatoes, fruits, and other crops. The labor is usually divided up amongst the family. The younger members tend to the more menial tasks: weeding, planting and harvesting, and the adults, usually male, tend to the more physically demanding work. In general, everyone is expected to pitch in and help on family farms. Some of the technology used in this kind of subsistence strategy are cutting sheers, shovles and spades, hoes, plows, scarecrows, and sprinklers.

     One of the main subsistence strategies in Poland is Agricultural, with farming employing nearly one third of the working Poles and over half of the land in Poland used for farming. Over 2 millions farms in Poland are small, privately owned operations. Some of the main crops that are grown are potatoes, sugar beets, rye, and tobacco. Corn, wheat, and flax are also grown in Poland. Potatoes and sugar beets are grown in the lower lands to the west, while, as the elevation raises to farther east, corn, wheat, and rye are grown. Poland is the world's second leading supplier of potatoes and is one of the main suppliers of rye. Depending on the scale of the farm, the technology for plowing, seeding, and harvesting are going to vary. Tractors for pulling plows, silos for keeping the crops, pesticides for protection against bugs, sprinklers or large irrigation systems and tools such as hoes and shovels are all used in farming. Some of the larger farms have machines used to separate the good crops from the bad, while in the smaller farms this is done by hand.

On small farms in Poland the work from plowing, to harvesting and even packaging, is done by the same people. These people have to be skilled in certain areas such as operating machinery, knowledge of the land, and knowledge of the crops themselves. On a larger scale, the work is divided among more people, who can become efficient in a single task. The knowledge needed to work is then significantly reduced. However, there are more people involved including business owners, manager, overseers, and possibly even scientists. In these fields the knowledge required is significantly increased.

Industrialism in Poland is utilized more than agriculture is, and is increasing with the growing economy. A major industry that has flourished in recent years is the production of tires for automobiles. In the factory the labor is divided up by education level and age. The younger and less educated workers will work the machines in the factory. While the older, more knowledgeable will hold management positions with less manual labor and operating of machines. The CEO's and business owners of the company are going to be the most highly educated and will require no hands on labor whatsoever. There are many different kinds of machines involved in this as well as molds, and rubber

2 B. a, b, c

Only as recent as the 1990's has Poland evolved into a democratic society. Poland has a constitution that was written in 1997 and a president that is elected by the people every five years. Poles elect a parliament consisting of a Senate (Senat) and a House (Sejm). There is also a prime minister who leads a Council of Ministers. The government receives its legitimacy from the people who elect these officials. The Judicial system in Poland plays a key role in government and decision making. The courts are divided into different branches with four supreme courts that divide cases based on type. Poland's military is broken up into four different branches: Land Forces, Navy, Air Force, and Special Forces. Its main purpose is to protect the homeland and Poland's interests in foreign countries. Poland has become increasingly interested in foreign affairs and active in peacekeeping missions for the United Nations. Poland is also a member of NATO and the European Union.

Since the death of a communistic government two decades ago, the Polish economy has thrived. Poland has shifted from a central economy to a capitalistic market economy. Many businesses have been liberated and are privatized and not run by the state. The GDP has grown from 1.4% to 7.0%. Many industries have flourished including the production of cars, coal, tools used in mining, fertilizers, yarns and fabric. The business throughout Poland, with the change of goods and services for other goods and services, practices a negative reciprocity and value added exchange. Poland has not yet qualified to be part of the European Single Currency, which is the Euro, and still uses PLN. The average income is 3137 PLN which is equivocal to 1,434 dollars. Poland has an unemployment rate of 10.5%.

The majority of Poles, about 89.8%, would consider themselves Roman Catholic, which is a denomination of Christianity. However, only about 75% of those actually practice the religion by going to church or attending other religious activities. Roman Catholics believe that you can only gain forgiveness for your sins through the ritual of the church therefore, those who do not practice the religion would not be considered part of the church. Most of the country celebrates Christmas and children go through baptism and then later catechism. Religion is taught in schools throughout Poland and alternative ethic courses are not offered. Other religious minorities include Protestants, Jehovah witnesses, Jews, and Muslims. The lack of religious diversity can be explained because the citizens of Poland have only recently been granted the Freedom of Religion. However, since then, the country has experienced an increase in diversity religiously.

Legally, in Poland, marriage is defined as between a man and a woman, therefore polygamy is illegal and not practiced throughout Poland. Also, this eliminates gay marriage, although gays are a prominent and growing minority group. Arranged marriages are very uncommon, yet not unheard of in certain religions or if valued by the family. Most marriages are love matched and the individual is free to choose who they would like to marry. More young people are moving towards the cities and out of the small rural towns, escaping pressures by those close knit societies to settle down. Because of this, multiple generations are no longer centered in one particular place. The country has even experienced a drop in the birthrate and this could be because the younger people of Poland are breaking out of traditional social behavior. However, with young women still living in the small towns, it is noted that there is still a pressure for to marry before the age of 25.

There are very few minorities throughout Poland. In a 2002 census, 96.7% of the population considered themselves Polish, and only 1.23% declared another nationality. The other 2% declared no nationality. Among those nationalities claimed were Ukrainians, Germans, Russians, Czechs, and Jews. The population of Poland has decreased because there is more emigration and less immigration, as well as the decrease in births.

Polish is the official language of Poland; however, English is the most common secondary language, with German pulling a close second. Poland is not known for its tourism; however, there are a few tourist areas on the coast along the Baltic Sea as well as Poland's 23 National Parks that yield high tourism rates. Outside recreational activities that also attract many tourists are hiking, skiing and mountain biking in Poland's varied terrain. Many Poles also enjoy these activities. The music in Poland is surprisingly alternative with Pop, Hip-Hop, and Rock topping the charts. Soccer, known as football in the United States, is the national sport. Basketball, boxing, volleyball, fencing, handball, and track and field are also major sports throughout Poland. The most note worthy Polish cuisines would have to be kielbasa, pierogi, borshct, and anything potato. The drinking age in Poland is 18, however most bars will sell to minors and alcohol is easy to obtain. The driving laws are very strictly enforced, even the speed limit and ignorance of tourists is no exception. There are also a handful of universities throughout Poland. If calling for help, instead of 911, as it is in America, you would have to dial 999 for an ambulance, 998 for firefighters, and 997 for the police. Many of the American fast food chains such as McDonald's, Burger King, and Pizza Hut are established in some parts of Poland.

Poland - Will This Online Gambling Ban Work Any Better?

By: Amy Shelby, Blackjack News

Monday, November 23rd, 2009 at 2:45 pm EST/EDT

Category: Casino Operation, Editorial, Follow Up, Industry News, Media

It wasn't that long ago that Poland was considering raising the rates of taxation on online gambling. Now the country has decided to go in the opposite direction altogether and introduce an online gambling ban instead.

Recently, we reported here about this as first news of the potential ban started to come through and now it would appear that this measure is actually going ahead.

Several officials and elected representatives in the Polish Government has been dogged by numerous corruption allegations that have involved connections with figures in the online gambling industry.

Some commentators have suggested that the timing of this ban appears to be very curious given the recent difficulties that the government has been facing in this area. Also, when one considers this in the context of the idea that this is also an about face in policy, there do seem to be a number of issues for which satisfactory answers have not really been forthcoming.

Other countries have recently introduced similar bans been experiencing severe difficulties with implementing them so we will have to wait to see if the Polish authorities do any better.

Online gambling in Poland has become a major target. Polish gambling laws are being tailored to make it illegal for Poles to gamble on foreign sites. All the reforms that are to be instilled serve the purpose of cutting back on gambling in Poland, reduce the risk of scandal in the government, and maximize the profits made by the government through the industry.

I chose this article because it was interesting to me to see that Poland is taxing online gambling. I am not sure if this is an example of how the government still controls a lot of the aspects of people's lives, or if this is an example of the government utilizing a popular activity to benefit economically. Either way, it is an interesting piece to see that they would make it illegal to access foreign gambling sites or just disrupt the ability to access them at all. That sort of reneging on the freedom aspect of democracy with access to things but only the things the government wants you to have access to.

Bibliography:

Why Poland? - Poland in the Lead - The Warsaw Journal http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Europe/Poland.html

http://www.commonwealth.pl/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice

www.euromonitor.com.

http://www.euromonitor.com/Travel_And_Tourism_in_Poland

google.com/maps

Video: Poland: The Catholic Church and the fall of Communism (documentary)

Interview: Sarah Kuligowski, lived in Poland until she was 12, then moved to the States. Interviewed: November 22, 2009

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