Verlorenes Volksvermögen

Der Begriff „nachhaltige Entwicklung“ ist heute allgegenwärtig; allerdings bieten uns die Wirtschaftskommentatoren keinerlei Anleitung zur Beurteilung, ob die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung eines Landes tatsächlich nachhaltig verläuft.

Der berühmte Bericht der Brundtland-Kommission des Jahres 1987 definiert eine Entwicklung als nachhaltig, „... wenn sie die Bedürfnisse der heutigen Generation befriedigt, ohne zu riskieren, dass künftige Generationen ihre eigenen Bedürfnisse nicht befriedigen können.“ Eine nachhaltige Entwicklung erfordert daher, dass jede Generation ihren Nachfolgern eine in Bezug auf die Bevölkerungszahl mindestens ebenso große Produktivitätsbasis hinterlässt, wie die, die sie selbst geerbt hat. Wie jedoch soll eine Generation beurteilen, ob sie eine angemessene Produktivitätsbasis zurücklässt?

Wirtschaftswissenschaftler argumentieren, dass das richtige Maß der Produktivitätsbasis einer Volkswirtschaft das Volksvermögen ist; dieses umfasst nicht allein den Wert der produzierten Vermögenswerte (Gebäude, Maschinen, Straßen), sondern auch das „Humankapital“ (Wissen, Fertigkeiten und Gesundheit), Naturkapital (Ökosysteme, Mineralien und fossile Brennstoffe) und die Institutionen (Staatsorgane, Zivilgesellschaft, Rechtsstaatlichkeit). Nachhaltig ist die Entwicklung, solange das Vermögen einer Volkswirtschaft im Verhältnis zu ihrer Bevölkerungszahl im Laufe der Zeit aufrecht erhalten wird. Mit anderen Worten: Wirtschaftliches Wachstum sollte als Wachstum des Volksvermögens betrachtet werden, nicht als Wachstum des BIP.

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