Europäische Mythen, Europäische Realitäten

Nach Jahrhunderten mutiger, wissenschaftlicher Forschung und der Entwicklungen in Seefahrt und Technik brachte Kontinentaleuropa im 20. Jahrhundert größere soziale Neuerungen auf den Weg. Neue Ausrichtungen der Wirtschaftspolitik und neue Institutionen wurden in dem Glauben entwickelt, dass eine rationaler und menschlicher organisierte Wirtschaft höhere Produktivität, bessere Löhne, größere Arbeitszufriedenheit, niedrigere Arbeitslosigkeit, eine breitere Mitbestimmung und geringere Wirtschaftsschwankungen bieten würden.

Jetzt betreibt der Kontinent zum größten Teil eine Art Marktwirtschaft, die zwar Privatbesitz an Produktionsmitteln beibehält aber auch Merkmale aufweist, die sie von einigen anderen Marktwirtschaften, wie von derjenigen Amerikas unterscheidet.

Die typische kontinentale Wirtschaft folgt in etwa den Zügen des korporativen Modells, das während der Zwischenkriegsjahre (1919-1939) in Europa geschaffen worden war. Es handelt sich um ein dreiteiliges System. Dazu gehören große, kurz gehaltene Unternehmen, große Industriegewerkschaften und eine große Bürokratie, die bei Konflikten vermittelt und Veränderungen durch Zulassungsbeschränkungen, Auflagen und Standards aufhalten kann, und die Großbanken, den großen Aktienbesitz, und - in einigen Ländern - die Schlüsselindustrie im Staatsbesitz fest im Griff hat.

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