Öffentlich finanzierte Ungleichheit

WASHINGTON, DC – Einer der Faktoren hinter dem massiven Anstieg der globalen Ungleichheit und der Konzentration des Wohlstandes an der Spitze der Einkommensverteilung ist das Zusammenspiel zwischen Innovation und globalen Märkten. In den Händen eines versierten Unternehmers kann ein technologischer Durchbruch aufgrund regulatorischer Schutzbestimmungen und des Winner-takes-all-Charakters der globalen Märkte  Milliarden Dollar wert sein.  Übersehen wird dabei allerdings oftmals die Rolle, die öffentlicher Gelder im Zusammenhang mit dieser Konzentration des privaten Wohlstandes in unserer Zeit spielen.

Wie der Entwicklungsökonom Dani Rodrik jüngst ausführte, wird in den Vereinigten Staaten ein großer Teil der Basisinvestitionen in neue Technologien aus öffentlichen Mitteln finanziert. Diese Finanzierung kann direkt über Institutionen wie das Verteidigungsministerium oder die Gesundheitsbehörde National Institutes of Health (NIH) erfolgen oder indirekt über Steuererleichterungen, Beschaffungsmethoden und Subventionen für wissenschaftliche Laboratorien oder Forschungszentren.

Gerät ein Forschungsvorhaben in die Sackgasse – wie dies zwangsläufig des Öfteren passiert – trägt der öffentliche Sektor die Kosten. Bei Projekten, die am Ende Früchte tragen, präsentiert sich die Situation allerdings häufig anders. Sobald sich eine neue Technologie etabliert hat, wird sie von privaten Unternehmern mithilfe von Risikokapital für die Nachfrage auf dem weltweiten Markt adaptiert, es werden zeitweilige oder langfristige Monopolpositionen aufgebaut und dabei große Gewinne eingefahren. Der Staat, der einen großen Teil der Entwicklungslast trug, geht leer aus oder bekommt nur wenig ab.

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