Brain Drain from the End of the 1950s to the Beginning of the 1990s with an Emphasis on Slovenia
This article refreshes our memory about the time of the intensive (global) brain drain, looking at the way it is dealt with in selected studies as well as the position of Slovenia from the end of the 1950s to the beginning of the 1990s, that is, when Slovenia became independent. In the first part, the author considers the various theoretical concepts and their definitions. Then, in the second part, she illuminates the phenomenon using clear data to reveal Slovenia’s integral role in the broader world currents of that time. She asserts that understanding the wider context is the kay to understanding the phenomenon in all its dimensions.
KEYWORDS: brain drain, skill drain, highly skilled migration, migration
In recent years in Slovenia, there is ever more talk of brain drain, that is, the departure of the most highly educated workforce, especially scientists, to countries abroad. Although science is an international professional field, in certain contexts, it demands deliberation about the consequences of such departures, since a greater intensity of them can negatively affect the national economy and social life. Today’s discussions take place as if similar problems have not existed in the past. Seemingly new, this phenomenon is already known in the history of the migration dynamics of Slovenia and elsewhere, especially from the 1960s to the 1980s. At that time, in light of the position that the Slovenian (Yugoslav) economy held in the global political-economic power relations, there was a considerable multi-year outflow of professionals or brain drain especially to the countries of Western Europe and the USA. The phenomenon not only affected the Slovenian space but was characteristic of global economic relations.
The article aims to refresh our memory about the time of the intensive (global) brain drain, by looking at the way it is dealt with in selected studies as well as the position of Slovenia from the end of the 1950s to the beginning of the 1990s, that is, until the time of Slovenian independence. The situation in the Slovenian space is (and was) integrated into the circumstances of the stranglehold of the Slovenian economy and society in the global relations of the social, economic and political powers. It not only significantly influenced the brain drain phenomenon in Slovenia, but also the individual decisions of persons who left or stayed.
In the first part of the article, the author focuses on the concept of brain drain, which in Slovenian language translates as “beg ali odtekanje možganov”. The discussions from the selected time use a considerable number of different expressions for the migration of highly trained and educated professionals. The article considers the various concepts and their definitions from a theoretical perspective. Then, in the second part, the author focuses on the phenomenon itself and illuminates it using clear data which reveal Slovenia’s integral role in the broader world currents of that time. The author emphasizes that for a true understanding of all the dimensions of the treated phenomenon and the search for possible alternative activities which would positively affect on the relations in the original – that is, Slovenian – environment, an understanding of the wider context is key.