Investeren in een goede afloop

LONDEN – De publieke en particuliere investeringen in de reële economie staan sinds de financiële crisis van 2008 onder druk. In moeilijke economische tijden lijkt het misschien logisch om te bezuinigen op investeringen die pas op de langere termijn resultaat opleveren, zodat je geld en middelen kunt vrijmaken voor de aanpak van kortetermijnproblemen. Maar in feite is het kortwieken van de investeringen in onze toekomst – of het nu om mensen, de planeet, politieke instellingen of bedrijven gaat – zeer irrationeel.

Slechts door te investeren in visionaire ideeën, innovatie, en onderzoek en ontwikkeling kunnen we ervoor zorgen dat de toekomst beter – vrijer, vreedzamer en welvarender – zal zijn dan het verleden.

Onderwijs aan jonge kinderen, preventieve geneesmiddelen, bibliotheken, fysieke infrastructuur en fundamenteel wetenschappelijk onderzoek kosten bijvoorbeeld allemaal geld – en uit onderzoek blijkt dat die investeringen de moeite waard zijn. Maar als beleidsmakers moeten bezuinigen, zijn de investeringen in deze publieke goederen dikwijls als eerste de klos, omdat de kiezers de gevolgen daarvan op de korte termijn niet voelen. De meeste pijn manifesteert zich pas later, wat precies de reden is dat zulke bezuinigingen politiek aantrekkelijk zijn.

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