Demokratie im 21. Jahrhundert

NEW YORK – Die Aufmerksamkeit, die das jüngste Buch von Thomas Piketty, Das Kapital im 21. Jahrhundert,in den Vereinigten Staaten und anderen Industrieländern erhielt, lässt auf wachsende Besorgnis über steigende Ungleichheit schließen. Das Buch betont besonders die bereits jetzt überwältigenden Beweise für die zunehmende Konzentration von Einkommen und Reichtum in den obersten Einkommensschichten.

Weiterhin werden die etwa dreißig Jahre nach der Großen Depression und dem zweiten Weltkrieg aus einem anderen Blickwinkel dargestellt, und zwar als historische Anomalie, die möglicherweise Folge eines durch umwälzende Ereignisse erzeugten ungewöhnlichen sozialen Zusammenhalts war. In dieser Ära schnellen Wirtschaftswachstums wurde der Wohlstand breit verteilt, und alle Gruppen machten Fortschritte, auch wenn diejenigen ganz unten prozentual am wenigsten profitierten.

Piketty wirft auch ein Licht auf die von Ronald Reagan und Margaret Thatcher in den 1980ern als Wachstumsverstärker verkauften „Reformen“, die allen zugute kommen sollten. Nach diesen Reformen gingen das Wachstum und die weltweite Stabilität zurück, und von dem Wachstum, das tatsächlich stattfand, profitierten vor allem die obersten Einkommensschichten.

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