Humpty Dumpty und die globalen Finanzungleichgewichte

WASHINGTON, DC: Eine alte englische Redensart lautet: „Wenn man nur einen Hammer hat, sieht alles aus wie ein Nagel.“ Dies wird nirgends deutlicher als in den Diskussionen um das Handelsdefizit der Vereinigten Staaten und um die globalen Finanzungleichgewichte, zumal Ökonomen dazu neigen, die meisten Wirtschaftsprobleme auf Ersparnisfragen zu reduzieren. Leider verzerrt diese Fokussierung auf die Ersparnisse unser Verständnis und lenkt von der wirklichen Aufgabe ab: der Erschließung von Massenmärkten in Entwicklungsländern.

In der volkswirtschaftlichen Gesamtrechnung bedeutet ein Handelsdefizit, dass ein Land mehr verbraucht als es produziert. Aus der Sicht eines Buchhalters ist es daher folgerichtig, Handelsdefizite als negative Ersparnisse zu bezeichnen.

Die meisten Ökonomen gehen einen Schritt weiter und bestehen darauf, dass das US-Defizit durch einen Mangel an Ersparnissen hervorgerufen wurde. Doch da das Handelsdefizit des einen Landes einen Handelsbilanzüberschuss für ein anderes Land bedeutet, argumentiert der US-Notenbankchef Ben Bernanke dafür, die herkömmliche Logik auf den Kopf zu stellen: Das US-Handelsdefizit sei nicht die Folge eines Mangels an Ersparnissen, sondern das Ergebnis eines globalen Ersparnisüberschusses – besonders in China.

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