by Ulf Brunnbauer
This article is based on a talk at the Polanyi Center, Corvinus University, Budapest, on March 2, 2016
In 1971 the Yugoslav economic Ivo Vinski published an assessment of the Gastarbeiter’s economic contribution to Yugoslavia. Vinski calculated that the average Yugoslav worker in Germany produced a net product worth of 1,250 German Marks. 400 of that were profits for the employer as well as taxes and social security contributions. Out of the remaining salary, the average Gastarbeiter spent 440 Marks on his (or her) subsistence in Germany; that is, money spent in Germany. He (or she) saved 410 Marks, out of with 145 Marks were put on a savings account at a bank in Germany and 265 Marks repatriated to Yugoslavia. Summing up, Vinski concluded that four fifths of the added value produced by the Gastarbeiter benefitted the German, that is, a capitalist economy and only one fifth the Yugoslav one. If the costs of schooling and training were factored in, Yugoslavia’s balance of the Gastarbeiter economy would even be negative.