Chris JL/Flickr

Wo ist das Ungleichheitsproblem?

CAMBRIDGE – Wer Thomas Pikettys einflussreiches neues Buch Capital in the Twenty-First Centuryliest, könnte zu dem Schluss gelangen, dass die Welt seit den Tagen der Räuberbarone nie ungleicher war. Dies ist seltsam, denn aus der Lektüre eines anderen hervorragenden neuen Buches, The Great Escape von Angus Deaton (für das ich kürzlich eine Rezension geschrieben habe), könnte man schließen, dass die Welt gleicher geworden ist als je zuvor.

Welche Sicht stimmt? Die Antwort ist davon abhängig, ab man einzelne Länder betrachtet oder die Welt als Ganze.

Die überspannende Tatsache in Deatons Buch ist, dass während der letzten Jahrzehnte mehrere Milliarden Menschen in den Entwicklungsländern, insbesondere in Asien, erbärmlichster Armut entkommen sind. Dieselben Mechanismen, die die Ungleichheit in den reichen Ländern erhöht haben, haben weltweit Milliarden von Menschen mehr Chancengleichheit verschafft. Wer aus der Ferne hinsieht und etwa einem Inder das gleiche Gewicht zubilligt wie einem Amerikaner oder Franzosen, für den zählen die letzten 30 Jahre, was die Verbesserung der Lebensumstände der Armen angeht, zu den großartigsten in der menschlichen Geschichte.

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