Fehleinschätzung der britischen Sparpolitik

LONDON – War die Entscheidung der britischen Regierung, nach der globalen Finanzkrise Sparmaßnahmen zu ergreifen, letzten Endes die richtige Politik? Ja, behauptet der Wirtschaftswissenschaftler Kenneth Rogoff in einem viel diskutierten neueren Kommentar. Rogoff argumentiert, obwohl die Regierung rückblickend mehr Kredite hätte aufnehmen sollen, bestand damals die reale Gefahr, dass es Großbritannien wie Griechenland ergehen würde. Somit erweist sich Schatzkanzler George Osborne dieser Sichtweise zufolge als Held der globalen Finanzwirtschaft.

Um zu zeigen, dass eine reale Gefahr der Kapitalflucht bestand, demonstriert Rogoff anhand historischer Fälle, dass die Bonitätsentwicklung des Vereinigten Königreichs von glaubwürdig weit entfernt war. Er erwähnt die Einstellung der Zahlungen an die Vereinigten Staaten 1932 für die britischen Schulden aus dem Ersten Weltkrieg, die Schulden, die sich nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg angehäuft hatten, und Großbritanniens „wiederkehrende Abhängigkeit von Rettungspaketen des Internationalen Währungsfonds von Mitte der 1950er Jahre bis Mitte der 1970er Jahre.“

Was in Rogoffs Analyse fehlt, ist der Zusammenhang, in dem diese angeblichen Verstöße begangen wurden. Die ab 1932 nicht mehr an Amerika zurückgezahlten britischen Schulden aus dem Ersten Weltkrieg bleiben der größte Makel in der Schuldengeschichte des Vereinigten Königreichs, aber der Hintergrund ist entscheidend. Nach dem Großen Krieg war die Welt von einem Schuldenberg überschattet, den die siegreichen Alliierten einander und die Verlierer den Siegern schuldeten (dabei waren die USA der einzige Nettogläubiger). John Maynard Keynes sagte richtig voraus, dass alle diese Schulden am Ende nicht zurückgezahlt würden.

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