Pingpong und politische Ökonomie

PRINCETON – In den vergangenen hundert Jahren hat sich die wirtschaftspolitische Debatte immer wieder um die jeweiligen Aufgaben und Vorzüge des Staates und des Marktes gedreht. Kontrolliert der Markt den Staat, in dem Sinne, dass er den Möglichkeiten der Regierungen Kredite aufzunehmen eine Grenze setzt? Oder übernimmt der Staat die Regie, wenn der Markt gesellschaftlich notwendige Aufgaben nicht erfüllt – wie etwa Kriege führen oder für Vollbeschäftigung sorgen?

Diese alte Debatte steht im Mittelpunkt der vollkommen unterschiedlichen Auffassungen, wie Europa auf seine Schuldenkrise regieren sollte. Die gleiche Frage spaltet die amerikanische Politik im Vorfeld der Präsidentschafts- und Kongresswahlen im kommenden November.

Während der zwei Jahrzehnte vor der Finanzkrise sind die meisten von uns – auch die meisten Politiker – von der Überlegenheit des Marktes ausgegangen. Inzwischen könnte das intellektuelle Pendel zu der Überzeugung zurückschwingen, dass staatliches Handeln den Schlamassel der Märkte beseitigen kann – so wie die Bewunderung für den Staat in den 1930er-Jahren die Anbetung des Marktes in den 1920er-Jahren ablöste.

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