Das Preisparadox

LONDON – Im Jahr 1923 hat sich John Maynard Keynes mit einer grundlegenden ökonomischen Frage beschäftigt, die auch heute noch wichtig ist. „[I]nflation ist ungerecht und Deflation ist unpraktisch“, schrieb er. „Von den beiden ist die Deflation vielleicht…die Schlechtere, da es schlimmer ist, Arbeitslosigkeit zu verursachen, als die Anleger zu enttäuschen. Aber es ist nicht nötig, dass wir ein Übel gegen das andere abwägen.“

Die Logik dieser Argumentation scheint unwiderlegbar. Weil viele Verträge in finanzieller Hinsicht „träge“ sind (sich also nicht leicht ändern lassen), sind sowohl Inflation als auch Deflation für die Wirtschaft gefährlich. Durch steigende Preise wird der Wert von Ersparnissen und Pensionen verringert, während fallende Preise die Gewinnerwartungen schmälern, das Hamstern fördern und den Realwert der Schulden erhöhen.

Keynes’ Grundsatz, einer der wenigen, die überlebt haben, wurde zum unangefochtenen Motto der Geldpolitik. Laut allgemeiner Ansicht sollten Regierungen stabile Preise anstreben. Eine kleine Inflation soll dabei gut sein, da sie in Unternehmern und Käufern „das Tier weckt“.

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