During Poland’s transition from communism to democracy after 1989, the previously nationalized farms were either sold out or reduced to bankruptcy, leaving sixty thousand agricultural workers unemployed. These farms cover thirty percent of all Polish land devoted to agriculture. While the overall Polish unemployment rate was 13.8 percent in 1996 (compared to 5.4 percent in the U.S., 7 percent in Austria, and 6.6 percent in Holland), the unemployment rate is even higher in Poland’s rural, post-collective areas. The unemployed population has no access to job retraining programs, and finds itself without the necessary skills to compete for jobs. The concentration of unemployed reinforces a general sense of hopelessness in these rural regions; lethargy, frustration, and feelings of helplessness are common elements in the social picture of small Polish towns. Historically, the residents of these areas have been managed by a central authority or „someone else,” rather than defining and solving their own problems. The difficulties of finding a niche in the competitive new economy can result in turning others into scapegoats, especially in border areas where people of different origins live together.