Die vergessenen Vorzüge des Freihandels

LONDON – „Der Wirtschaftsliberalismus“, erklärte der französische Präsident Nicolas Sarkozy vor Kurzem, „ist erledigt.“ Vielleicht, aber sollten wir wirklich zufrieden sein, wenn er damit recht hat? Wenn das Rennen für den Wirtschaftliberalismus aus ist, was könnte ihn dann als Grundlage einer offenen, globalen Gesellschaft ersetzen?

Jetzt ist es wichtiger als je zuvor, sich in Erinnerung zu rufen, dass der letzte Finanzcrash nicht nur den New Deal in den Vereinigten Staaten auslöste, sondern die Welt auch in ein neues düsteres Mittelalter des wirtschaftlichen Nationalismus und Imperialismus stürzte. Freihandel ist bei weitem nicht perfekt, aber die Alternativen sind schlimmer. Protektionismus ist schlecht für den Wohlstand, schlecht für die Demokratie und schlecht für den Frieden.

Dennoch stellt eine neue Welle des Protektionismus eine echte Gefahr dar. Während seines Präsidentschaftswahlkampfs drohte Barack Obama damit, das Nordamerikanische Freihandelsabkommen einseitig zu überarbeiten, um damit der stärker werdenden protektionistischen Haltung der Amerikaner entgegenzukommen. Im Juli dieses Jahres brach die Doha-Runde der Welthandelsorganisation auseinander, teilweise weil die USA sich weigerten, ihre Agrarsubventionen zu senken.

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