Guter und schlechter Kapitalismus

PARIS: Die Realität des Markthandelns – in Form direkter Geschäfte zwischen Händlern und Kunden – kam allmählich vor etwa 3000 oder 4000 Jahren auf. Bei dieser neuartigen sozialen Beziehung stand es dem Kunden frei, zu kaufen, was er wollte, wann er wollte und von wem er wollte, und er feilschte häufig mit dem Verkäufer über den Preis.

Aufgrund dieser Merkmale ist der freie Markt Bestandteil einer grundlegenden Freiheit, die fest im Alltagsleben verwurzelt ist. Er bleibt auch heute dominant, denn alle Versuche, eine Alternative herbeizuführen – selbst der Totalitarismus – sind gescheitert. Tatsächlich sind inzwischen 20 Jahre vergangen, seit die ehemals kommunistischen Länder Osteuropas wieder der Welt des Markthandelns beitraten, ein Schritt, den Sozialdemokraten weltweit bereits 1946 unternommen hatten.

Mehrere tausend Jahre lang bestand der freie Markt aus Einzelpersonen: Handwerkern, Händlern und Verbrauchern. Der Kapitalismus, der vor dreihundert Jahren aufkam, war lediglich dieselbe Aktivität im größeren Maßstab. Aufgrund von Dampfmaschinen und Elektrizität konnte eine größere Anzahl von Menschen zusammenarbeiten, und Kapitalgesellschaften konnten eine große Zahl von Kleinsparern anlocken, die so zu Kapitalisten wurden.

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