Wie Ungleichheit die Krise anheizte

CHICAGO – Vor der jüngsten Finanzkrise stachelten Politiker aus beiden Lagern in den Vereinigten Staaten die riesigen, staatlich unterstützten Hypothekenbanken Fannie Mae und Freddie Mac an, die Kreditvergabe an Haushalte mit geringem Einkommen in ihrem Kundenkreis zu fördern. Hinter dieser neu entdeckten Leidenschaft für den Wohnungsbau für die Armen steckte ein tiefer liegendes Problem: zunehmende Einkommensungleichheit.

Seit den 1970er Jahren sind die Löhne für Arbeitnehmer am 90. Perzentil der Lohnverteilung in den USA – z. B. Büroleiter – wesentlich schneller angestiegen als die mittleren Löhne (am 50. Perzentil) für Fabrikarbeiter und Bürogehilfen. Eine Reihe von Faktoren ist für die Vergrößerung des 90-50-Differentials verantwortlich.

Der wichtigste ist vielleicht, dass die Arbeitskräfte durch den technischen Fortschritt in den USA immer besser ausgebildet sein müssen. Ein Highschool-Abschluss (vergleichbar etwa mit dem Abitur) reichte vor 40 Jahren für Büroangestellte aus, wohingegen heute kaum ein Bachelor-Abschluss genügt. Doch ist es dem Bildungssystem nicht gelungen, genügend Arbeitskräften die notwendige Ausbildung zukommen zu lassen. Dafür gibt es unterschiedliche Gründe, u. a. spielen schlechte Ernährung, Sozialisierung und Frühpädagogik bis hin zu dysfunktionalen Grund- und Sekundarschulen eine Rolle, die zu viele Amerikaner nicht ausreichend auf das College vorbereiten.

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