Right Man, Wrong Time

ROMAN KOSZOWSKI/AFP

UP IN SMOKE: Poles are angry over economic malaise, as shown during this May protest

Worried about your job? Be thankful you're not a Polish Finance Minister. Since the end of communism, Warsaw has seen no fewer than nine people in the post (two even served twice) and four in the past two years. The latest quit last week after just eight months in office. Marek Belka says he plans to return to academic life. Speaking to reporters, the 50-year-old University of Chicago-trained economist — whose appointment last October was hailed as a victory for professionalism over politics — pleaded intellectual exhaustion: "My energetic potential has burned out," he said.

His departure is...

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