Hat der Kapitalismus Zukunft?

NEW YORK – Während sich das Jahr 2008 dem Ende näherte, begannen viele Europäer vom Ende des Kapitalismus zu sprechen. Sie haben vergessen, dass der Kapitalismus in Europa bereits in den 1930er Jahren einmal der Planwirtschaft und dem Korporatismus weichen musste, häufig mit Gewalt, um in nur einer Handvoll von Ländern in den 1980ern wiederbelebt zu werden.

Angesichts der aktuellen Finanzkrise – der letzten in einer ganzen Reihe, die der Kapitalismus erlebt hat – kann man zu Recht fragen, ob die Vorteile des Kapitalismus, wenn es überhaupt welche gibt, immer noch größer als die Nachteile sind. Obwohl Marx eine beträchtliche Bewunderung für den Kapitalismus zugab, wird nun vorgeschlagen, dass das Gute daran – das Unternehmertum – genetisch in ein anderes System verpflanzt werden kann, ohne die Destruktivität, für die der Kapitalismus anfällig ist.

Der Kapitalismus wurde zuerst dafür bewundert, „fortschrittlich“ zu sein, wie Marx es ausdrückte. Als die Produktivität stieg, fiel sie nicht wieder zurück. Tatsächlich stieg mit dem allmählichen Entstehen des Finanzkapitalismus um ca. 1820 die Produktivität in einem europäischen Land nach dem anderen – Großbritannien, Belgien, Frankreich, Deutschland und Österreich. Die Produktivität steigerte sich sogar noch stärker in den Vereinigten Staaten – und fing dort eher an zuzunehmen. Die dürftigen historischen Daten, die zur Analyse zur Verfügung stehen, deuten darauf hin, dass die Löhne (nach unten bereinigt um plötzliche Inflationssprünge in den vorhergehenden Jahrzehnten und nach oben um die Deflation in den folgenden Jahren) gegen 1820 in ähnlicher Weise anfingen zu klettern.

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