Gute und schlechte Ungleichheit

MAILAND – Die steigende Einkommens- und Wohlstandsungleichheit in vielen Ländern der ganzen Welt ist ein seit drei Jahrzehnten oder noch länger anhaltender Trend. Doch erst seit der Finanzkrise des Jahres 2008 steht dieser Trend wesentlich stärker im Zentrum der Aufmerksamkeit: bei langsamem Wachstum ist Ungleichheit stärker spürbar.

Die „alte“ Theorie über Ungleichheit besagte, dass Umverteilung durch das Steuersystem Anreize schwächt und das Wirtschaftswachstum untergräbt. Allerdings ist die Beziehung zwischen Ungleichheit und Wachstum viel komplexer und multidimensionaler als es dieser simple Zielkonflikt glauben lässt. Vielfältige mögliche Einflüsse und Rückkopplungsmechanismen erschweren definitive Schlussfolgerungen.

So sind beispielsweise die Vereinigten Staaten und China heute die am raschesten wachsenden großen Volkswirtschaften. Beide Länder verzeichnen ähnlich hohe und steigende Einkommensungleichheit. Obwohl man daraus nicht schließen sollte, dass Wachstum und Ungleichheit entweder in keinem Zusammenhang stehen oder positiv korrelieren, stimmt die globale Aussage, wonach Ungleichheit schlecht für das Wachstum sei, nicht mit den Tatsachen überein.

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