Wie man eine Krise verschwendet

Die globale Finanzkrise nähert sich einer Talsohle, und doch wächst die politische Frustration, weil der Tiefpunkt des Zusammenbruches eine letzte Gelegenheit zur Förderung eines dramatischen Wandels zu bieten scheint und diese Gelegenheit möglicherweise verpasst wird. Im vergangenen Jahr äußerte Präsident Obamas Stabschef Rahm Emanuel, dass man eine gute Krise nie verschwenden dürfe. Katastrophen bieten Gelegenheit, sich Möglichkeiten auszudenken, um die Welt grundlegend zu verbessern und auch, um zukünftige Krisen zu verhindern. Und die Leute denken eine Menge – manchmal freilich so viel, dass sie sich dabei widersprüchliche Antworten einfallen lassen.

Tatsächlich macht gerade die breite Vielfalt unterschiedlicher Diagnosen und Arzneien eine wirklich schwere Krise aus. Die durch widerstreitende Interpretationen entfachten politischen Leidenschaften machen Krisen oftmals scheinbar unlösbar. Es waren derartige Konflikte und kein irgendwie gearteter technischer Fehler im Betrieb der Volkswirtschaft, die die Große Depression der 1930er Jahre zu einem so trostlosen und destruktiven Ereignis machten.

Antworten auf Krisen lassen sich in zwei Kategorien einordnen. Die eine Sorte strebt nach einer institutionellen Neuordnung, damit Ineffizienzen und Fehlanreize beseitigt werden und die Wirtschaft reibungsloser und effizienter funktioniert. Der zweite, radikalere Ansatz versucht, nicht die Wirtschaft, sondern die Art und Weise, in der die Menschen selbst ihr Leben führen, zu verbessern.

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