Europas Abkehr von der Vernunft

NEW YORK – Die USA zeigen endlich Anzeichen der Erholung von jener Krise, die zum Ende der Präsidentschaft von George W. Bush ausgebrochen war, als der Beinahe-Zusammenbruch ihres Finanzsystems die Welt erschütterte. Aber es ist keine starke Erholung; bestenfalls verbreitert sich die Kluft zwischen jenem Punkt, an dem die Konjunktur stehen könnte, und dem, an dem sie heute steht, nicht weiter. Falls sie sich schließt, so tut sie dies sehr langsam; der von der Krise angerichtete Schaden scheint ein langfristiger zu sein.

Andererseits könnte die Lage schlimmer sein. Auf der anderen Seite des Atlantiks gibt es kaum Anzeichen selbst für einen so bescheidenen Aufschwung wie in den USA: Die Kluft zwischen dem Punkt, an dem Europa steht, und jenem, an dem es ohne die Krise stehen würde, weitet sich aus. In den meisten Ländern der Europäischen Union liegt das BIP pro Kopf unter seinem Stand vor der Krise. Ein verlorenes halbes Jahrzehnt verwandelt sich in raschem Tempo in ein ganzes. Jenseits der kalten Statistik werden angesichts der Jahr um Jahr fortdauernden Stagnation – und mancherorts Depression – Leben ruiniert, platzen Träume, und zerfallen Familien (oder werden gar nicht erst gegründet).

Die EU verfügt über viele talentierte und hochgebildete Menschen. Ihre Mitgliedsstaaten haben starke Rechtssysteme und gut funktionierende Gesellschaften. Vor der Krise hatten die meisten sogar gut funktionierende Volkswirtschaften. An einigen Orten gehörte die Produktivität pro Stunde – oder ihre Wachstumsrate – zu den höchsten weltweit.

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