Der Untergang des Hauses Samuelson

LONDON – Die Lektüre des Buches The Samuelson Sampler im Schatten der Großen Rezession bedeutet, Einblicke in die Denkweise eines vergangenen Zeitalters zu gewinnen. Bei diesem Band handelt es sich um eine Zusammenstellung wöchentlicher Kolumnen, die der verstorbene Paul Samuelson von 1966 bis 1973 für das Magazin Newsweek schrieb.

Samuelson war Nobelpreisträger und Doyen der amerikanischen Ökonomen: sein berühmtes Lehrbuch Volkswirtschaftslehre erreichte zu Lebzeiten des Autors 14 Auflagen und weihte angehende Ökonomen weltweit in die Grundlagen ihrer Zunft ein. Obwohl nicht alleiniger Urheber, war Samuelson doch derjenige, der die „neoklassische Synthese“ populär machte – jene Mischung aus neoklassischer und keynesianischer Ökonomie, die den Mainstream der Disziplin über 50 Jahre lang definierte.

Samuelson war überzeugter Keynesianer, wenn auch mit Einschränkungen. Er lehnte den größten Teil der Attacke Keynes auf die orthodoxe Ökonomie seiner Zeit als unnötig ab und schrieb: „Hätte Keynes einfach erklärt, dass er die Annahme für realistisch hält, wonach Geldlöhne … unbeweglich sind und sich einer Abwärtsbewegung widersetzen… würden die meisten seiner Erkenntnisse ebenso ihre Gültigkeit behalten.“ In den Augen Samuelsons bestand Keynes’ wahrer Beitrag  in den Instrumenten, die er den Regierungen zur Verfügung stellte, um wirtschaftliche Depressionen abzuwenden.

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