Pikettys fehlendes Know-how

CAMBRIDGE – Theoretische Rahmenwerke sind eine großartige Sache, weil sie grundlegende Aspekte einer komplexen Welt in vereinfachter Weise darstellen und uns damit ermöglichen, sie zu verstehen. Ein Beispiel dafür sind Landkarten. Doch diese Rahmenwerke sind, ebenso wie Landkarten, nur bis zu einem gewissen Grad von Nutzen. Straßenkarten beispielsweise sagen nichts über die aktuelle Verkehrssituation aus und bieten auch keine Aktualisierungen im Hinblick auf Baustellen.

Eine nützliche Methode für das Verständnis der Weltwirtschaft ist das elegante Rahmenwerk von Thomas Piketty in Form seines gefeierten Buchs Das Kapital im 21. Jahrhundert. Piketty teilt darin die ökonomische Welt in zwei grundlegende Aspekte auf – Kapital und Arbeit. Beide werden in der Produktion genutzt und an den Erträgen beteiligt.

Der Hauptunterschied zwischen den beiden Faktoren besteht darin, dass man Kapital kaufen, besitzen, verkaufen und prinzipiell grenzenlos anhäufen kann, wie es die Superreichen tun. Bei Arbeit hingegen bedient man sich einer individuellen Kapazität, die zwar entlohnt, aber nicht besessen werden kann, weil die Sklaverei abgeschafft wurde.

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