In Poland, by 1988, after 8 years of living in a police state, Lech Walesa finally gained power at the head of the Solidarity Party. A charismatic leader, he had the support of unions and much of the wider populous because of his promises for open democracy and a nationalised economy. The IMF and the US called for Poland's large debts to be repaid, offering further aid only on condition of free market changes, and opening up the economy to foreign investment and takeovers. Jeffrey Sachs suggested that Poland hold off on debt repayments, but immediately sell government holdings and privatise large industries to stimulate the economy.
Hounded by the international community, advised by the reputable Sachs, in the midst of economic hardtimes, all the while elated at their political victory, and experiencing early freedom from communist Russia, Klein suggests the people of Poland, perhaps even Walesa, didn't understand the consequences of large scale privatisation. The economy crashed further, with bouts of inflation, and unemployment reaching 25% by 1993, while foreign investors made gains on government assets sold at far less their worth. The international media praised Poland as an example of economic reform, as quality of life plummeted.