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PARIS – Politiker aus der ganzen Welt gratulieren sich regelmäßig dazu, während der Finanzkrise, die 2008 begann, die politischen Fehler der 1930er Jahre vermieden zu haben. Unter der Führung des Vorsitzenden der US-Notenbank, Ben Bernanke, eines auf die Große Depression spezialisierten Wirtschaftshistorikers, haben sie sich an die Ideen von John Maynard Keynes erinnert und die Geld- und Haushaltspolitik gelockert, um das Schlimmste zu verhindern. Zwar sind wir insbesondere in Europa immer noch mit den Konsequenzen für die Haushaltslage beschäftigt, aber es ist wahr, dass die Welt 2008 nicht untergegangen ist.

Die Straffung der Geldpolitik war nicht der einzige Fehler der 1930er. Ein weiterer war der Rückzug in den Protektionismus, symbolisiert durch die Erhöhung der Smoot-Hawley-Zolltarife zu Beginn des Jahrzehnts. Historiker streiten sich immer noch darüber, welchen Einfluss das Smoot-Hawley-Gesetz wirklich hatte, aber die daraus hervorgehenden Zolltarife haben mit Sicherheit das Wachstum von Handel und Wirtschaft beschädigt und die schlechte Lage noch verschlimmert.

Heute sagen Staatsmänner gern, dass sie auch den Fehler des Protektionismus vermieden haben, aber ist das wahr? Sicher müssen wir kurzfristig keinen Ausbruch eines Zollkrieges befürchten, aber es gibt gefährliche Anzeichen für zukünftige Handelsprobleme.

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