Paul Lachine

Ökonomie für Papageien

BERKELEY: Vom britischen Ökonomen J.R. McCulloch, der Anfang des 19. Jahrhunderts lebte, stammt angeblich der alte Witz, die einzige Schulung, die ein Papagei brauche, um ein annehmbarer Volkswirt zu sein, bestünde aus der einen Wendung „Angebot und Nachfrage, Angebot und Nachfrage“. Letzte Woche erklärte US-Notenbankchef Ben Bernanke, die Ökonomie McCullochs – d.h. die Ökonomie von Angebot und Nachfrage – sei durch die Finanzkrise in keiner Weise diskreditiert und nach wie vor außerordentlich nützlich.

Es fällt schwer, dieser Einschätzung Bernankes zu widersprechen: Die Ökonomie wäre nützlich, wenn die Ökonomen tatsächlich wie McCullochs Papageien wären – d.h., wenn sie sich tatsächlich mit Angebot und Nachfrage beschäftigten. Ich glaube allerdings, dass die Ökonomie in starkem Maße dadurch diskreditiert wird, dass viele Ökonomen offensichtlich weniger klug sind als McCullochs Papageien.

Man betrachte etwa die Behauptung – die dieser Tage in den USA weit verbreitet ist –, dass weitere Versuche der Regierung zur Abmilderung der Arbeitslosigkeit fehlschlagen würden, weil Amerikas aktuelle hohe Arbeitslosigkeit „struktureller Art“ sei: Ein Versagen der Wirtschaftsrechnung habe dazu geführt, dass das Land die falschen produktiven Ressourcen habe, um die Nachfrage der Haushalte und Unternehmen zu erfüllen. Das Problem, so die Vertreter dieser Sichtweise, sei ein unzureichendes produktives Angebot, keine unzureichende Gesamtnachfrage.

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