Die unbezähmbaren 1930er-Jahre

LONDON – Beim unlängst beendeten G-20-Gipfeltreffen in Seoul ist weder eine Einigung über Währungs- noch über Handelsfragen erzielt worden. China und die Vereinigten Staaten beschuldigten sich gegenseitig der vorsätzlichen Währungsmanipulation, um Handelsvorteile zu erlangen. Bei der Doha-Runde globaler Handelsgespräche herrscht weiter Stillstand. Und inmitten von Diskussionen über die „Risiken“ neuer Währungs- und Handelskriege haben derartige Kriege bereits begonnen.

Trotz gegenteiliger Versprechungen globaler Führungsköpfe hat es den Anschein, als würde das schreckliche protektionistische Beispiel der 1930er-Jahre kurz vor seiner Neubelebung stehen. In diesem Jahrzehnt wurde der Handelskrieg mit der Einführung des Smoot-Hawley-Zollgesetzes von den USA losgetreten. Die Briten konterten mit dem Einfuhrzollgesetz von 1932, gefolgt von der so genannten imperial preference, also einer Präferenzbehandlung für Handel innerhalb des Empire. Die Weltwirtschaft glich schon bald einem Dickicht aus Handelsschranken.

Im Währungskrieg der 1930er-Jahre feuerte Großbritannien den ersten Schuss ab, indem es sich im September vom Goldstandard löste. Das Pfund fiel gegenüber dem Dollar, dann der Dollar gegenüber dem Pfund.

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