Die Gespenster der Vergangenheit

In Charles Dickens großartigem Roman "A Christmas Carol" wird der erbarmungslose Geschäftsmann Ebeneezer Scrooge am Weihnachtsabend von einem Geist aus der Vergangenheit heimgesucht. Heute plagen sich Ökonomen mit ähnlich unerwünschten Geistern in Form wiederkehrender Wirtschaftskrisen, von denen man annahm sie wären längst für immer von der Bildfläche verschwunden.

Wirtschaftsexperten wie Stephen Roach von Morgan Stanley oder Paul Krugman aus Princeton zeigen sich über die Deflation ebenso besorgt wie die Gouverneure der US-Notenbank Federal Reserve, die führenden Gremien der Europäischen Zentralbank und Wirtschaftsfachleute in ganz Japan. Ihre Überlegungen spiegeln das wirtschaftliche Denken von vor fünfzig Jahren wider, als Ökonomen zu dem Schluss kamen, dass Deflation unter allen Umständen zu vermeiden sei.

Im Jahr 1933 vertrat Irving Fisher --Milton Friedmans Vorgänger an der Spitze der monetaristischen Bewegung Amerikas -- die Ansicht, dass eine große Depression vermeidbar sei, wenn die Regierungen die Deflation eindämmten. Die Deflation --ein steter, unaufhaltsamer Preisverfall-- war für Unternehmen und Konsumenten ein ungeheurer Anreiz ihre Ausgaben zu reduzieren und Geld zu horten. Unternehmen und Banken gerieten dadurch mit der Schuldenrückzahlung in Verzug. Eine mögliche Folge sind eine Reihe großer Pleiten, wodurch das Vertrauen in das Finanzsystem erneut geschwächt und der Anreiz Geld zu horten noch größer wird.

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