Bilder der Knappheit

NEW HAVEN – Wir alle haben im Fernsehen das Bild von der Eisdecke Grönlands gesehen, die aufgrund der Erderwärmung ins Meer stürzt. Könnte dieses Bild irgendwie – indirekt und psychologisch – teilweise für die hohen Öl- und anderen Rohstoffpreise verantwortlich sein?

Die herkömmliche Erklärung für die derzeitige Knappheit und die hohen Preise konzentriert sich auf das explosive Wachstum in den Schwellenländern, vor allem in China und Indien, deren Bedarf an knappen Ressourcen „unersättlich“ ist. Doch spielt auch die Psychologie auf den spekulativen Märkten eine Rolle, und vielleicht lässt das Bild vom schwindenden grönländischen Eis es allzu plausibel erscheinen, dass auch alles andere – Land, Wasser und sogar Frischluft – bald erschöpft sein werden.

Nehmen wir eine Fallstudie: den letzten allgemeinen Boom-Bust-Zyklus (ein rascher Anstieg mit darauf folgender Krise) der Rohstoffpreise, der dazu führte, dass diese Preise insgesamt seit den 1960ern etwa bis in die 1980er (mehr oder weniger) anstiegen und dann insgesamt bis Mitte der 1990er Jahre fielen. Vielleicht sind Bilder für die Erklärung des Phänomens genauso wichtig wie Fakten.

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