Margaret Scott

Vom Freihandel geblendet

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.: Ich war jüngst von zwei Kollegen in Harvard eingeladen, in ihrem Kurs zur Globalisierung einen Gastvortrag zu halten. „Ich muss Ihnen sagen“, warnte mich einer der beiden vorab, „dies ist eine ziemlich globalisierungsfreundliche Truppe.“ Er hatte die Studenten in der allerersten Kurssitzung gefragt, wie viele von ihnen den Freihandel Importbeschränkungen vorzögen, und mehr als 90% hatten sich für den Freihandel ausgesprochen. Und dies war, bevor man diese Studenten in den Wundern komparativer Kostenvorteile unterwiesen hatte!

Wir wissen, dass, wenn in echten Umfragen mit repräsentativen Stichproben – nicht nur Harvard-Studenten – dieselbe Frage gestellt wird, dass Ergebnis ganz anders aussieht. In den USA befürworten zwei Drittel der Befragten Handelsbeschränkungen. Doch völlig überraschend war die Reaktion der Harvard-Studenten nicht: Hochqualifizierte und besser ausgebildete Befragungsteilnehmer sind tendenziell erheblich freihandelsfreundlicher eingestellt als Arbeiter. Vielleicht hatten die Harvard-Studenten bei ihrem Abstimmungsverhalten einfach ihre eigenen (künftigen) Brieftaschen im Auge.

Vielleicht war ihnen auch nicht klar, wie Handel wirklich funktioniert. Schließlich stellte ich ihnen, als ich sie traf, dieselbe Frage in anderem Gewand, indem ich die voraussichtlichen Verteilungseffekte des Handels betonte. Diesmal verflüchtigte sich der Freihandelskonsens – und zwar sogar noch schneller, als ich das erwartet hatte.

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