Ein neuer Ansatz für die Wirtschaft

Die Große Depression rückte John Maynard Keynes' Theorien in den Mittelpunkt des ökonomischen Denkens. Die wichtigste ,,keynesianische" Erkenntnis war, dass private Investitionen an sich instabil sind - aufgrund verschiedener Launen und Modeerscheinungen unter den Investoren, aufgrund wechselnder ,,Urinstinkte" der Geschäftsleute oder aufgrund fallender Preise, die das Finanzsystem durcheinander bringen.

Die Keynesianer glaubten, dass eine umsichtige Geldpolitik - mit Zentralbanken, die Zinssätze erhöhen und senken, um Schwankungen bei Privatinvestitionen zu verringern - ihren Teil zur Stabilisierung der Wirtschaft beitragen kann. Sie waren aber auch der Ansicht, dass der Staat über eine expansive Haushaltspolitik zu direkten Eingriffen bereit sein muss, um die Gesamtausgaben in einer Volkswirtschaft stabil zu erhalten. Durch eine derartige Politik, so glaubte man, würde das Gespenst der Massenarbeitslosigkeit wie in Zeiten der Großen Depression für immer gebannt. Außerdem wäre damit annähernde Vollbeschäftigung garantiert.

Keynes' Anhänger sahen voraus, dass annähernde Vollbeschäftigung die Inflation anheizen würde. Warum sollten Arbeiter und Gewerkschaften ihre Lohnforderungen auch mäßigen, wenn der Staat die öffentlichen Ausgaben bei drohender hoher Arbeitslosigkeit erhöht. Ein beschränkender Aspekt bei hohen Lohnforderungen - nämlich die Angst bei hoher Arbeitslosigkeit entlassen zu werden - war damit verschwunden. Wodurch würde er aber ersetzt werden?

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