Der lange Schatten des Sozialismus: Folgen für die Wirtschaftspolitik in Ostdeutschland

East Germany’s economy growth was not able to close, over the last ten years, the lag against the West German economy. This paper inquires into the economic reasons, especially those that can be traced in history. It is shown that the exodus of elites from what was Central Germany started in the 1930s because of the persecution of the Jewish elites. During the period after the Second World War until the construction of the wall in 1961 especially young and qualified people left the Soviet Zone and later the G.D.R. Thus, the elites destroyed in the Third Reich and the Second World War could not be replaced exogenously. In the 1970s, an inadequate economic system destroyed the still existing industrial middle class which was an important base of productivity and helped to generate foreign income because of its export intensity to the Western countries. This generated a current account crisis which was only overcome by a loan from West Germany, the so-called “Strauß-Kredit”. In 1988, however, the fundamental problems again became visible and enforced a change of the economic system. The privatisation strategy by the Treuhand by and large did not sell or restitute enterprises but sold plants out of the fragmented combines. Today, the visible deficit in headquarter function is the most important single obstacle against growth and wealth in the New Lander. It can be expected that this will only disappear within a new technology cycle.

15. September 2008

Authors Ulrich Blum

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