Wall Street New York City Sergi Reboredo/ZumaPress

Werden die Amerikaner ärmer?

CAMBRIDGE – Robert Gordon von der Northwestern University hat eine lebhafte und wichtige Debatte über die zukünftige Rate des Wirtschaftswachstums in den Vereinigten Staaten eröffnet. Sein Buch The Rise and Fall of American Growth wird zwar erst im Januar 2016 veröffentlicht, aber seine These wurde bereits im Economist und in Foreign Affairs vorgestellt. Gordons düstere Einschätzung der amerikanischen Wachstumsaussichten verdient es, ernst genommen zu werden. Aber stimmt sie auch?

Gordon argumentiert, die großen technologischen Veränderungen, die in der Vergangenheit den Lebensstandard erhöht haben, seien viel wichtiger als alles, was in der Zukunft geschehen könne. Beispiele dafür seien sanitäre Einrichtungen im Haus, Automobile, Elektrizität, Telefone und Zentralheizungen, die alle viel wichtiger für den Lebensstandard seien als neuere Innovationen wie das Internet oder Mobiltelefone.

Ich stimme mit Gordon insofern überein, als dass ich lieber mein Mobiltelefon oder sogar das Internet aufgeben würde, als auf sanitäre Einrichtungen im Haus und Elektrizität zu verzichten. Aber dies bedeutet lediglich, dass wir Glück haben, in der heutigen Zeit zu leben und nicht vor hundert Jahren (geschweige denn vor zweihundert Jahren oder im Mittelalter). Die Tatsache, dass diese großen Innovationen in der Vergangenheit stattfanden, ist kein Grund dafür, die Zukunft pessimistisch zu sehen.

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