Auf der Suche nach Konvergenz

CAMBRIDGE – Ein Rätsel der Weltwirtschaft ist, dass die reichen Länder der Welt 200 Jahre lang schneller wuchsen als die armen – ein Prozess, den Lant Pritchett als „gewaltige Divergenz“ beschrieben hat. Als Adam Smith im Jahr 1776 Der Wohlstand der Nationen schrieb, war das Pro-Kopf-Einkommen im reichsten Land der Welt – das waren damals wohl die Niederlande – etwa viermal so hoch wie das der ärmsten Länder. Zwei Jahrhunderte später waren die Niederlande 40-mal reicher als China, 24-mal reicher als Indien und zehnmal reicher als Thailand.

Doch während der vergangenen drei Jahrzehnte hat sich der Trend umgekehrt. Inzwischen sind die Niederlande nur noch elfmal reicher als Indien und gerade mal viermal reicher als China und Thailand. Angesichts dieser Trendumkehr hat der Ökonom und Nobelpreisträger Michael Spence argumentiert, dass die Welt vor der nächsten Konvergenz stehe.

Doch in einigen Ländern setzt sich die Divergenz fort. Während die Niederlande im Jahre 1980 5,8-mal reicher als Nicaragua, 7,7-mal reicher als die Elfenbeinküste und 15-mal reicher als Kenia waren, waren sie im Jahr 2012 10,5-, 21,1- bzw. 24,4-mal reicher.

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