Die Poesie des Euro

PRINCETON – Im krisengeschüttelten Europa ist der Zweck der Einführung einer gemeinsamen Währung erstaunlicherweise fast völlig in Vergessenheit geraten. Statt dessen scheint es dringendere Sorgen zu geben: düstere Spekulationen über den bevorstehenden Kollaps der Eurozone und verzweifelte Versuche, die umfassenden Führungsprobleme institutionell zu reparieren.

Aber der Euro war nicht nur das Ergebnis einer eigentümlichen Mission, den Verschleiß von Hosentaschen voller seltsamer nationaler Münzen zu reduzieren oder den innereuropäischen Handel zu fördern. Das mutige europäische Experiment war das Ergebnis einer neuen Einstellung dazu, was Geld bewirken und wie es verwaltet werden soll. Durch die Entscheidung für eine “reine” Form von Geld, das von einer Zentralbank unabhängig von nationalen Regierungen ausgegeben wird, haben sich die Europäer selbstbewusst über die bisher dominante monetäre Tradition hinweg gesetzt.

Im zwanzigsten Jahrhundert war die Herstellung von Geld – Papiergeld – normalerweise die Aufgabe der Staaten. Geld konnte herausgegeben werden, weil Regierungen die Macht besaßen, die Rechnungseinheit zu definieren, in der Steuern bezahlt werden mussten. Diese Tradition reicht weit vor die Zeit der Papier- oder Fiat-Währungen zurück. Über viele Jahrhunderte hinweg, sogar zur Zeit des Metallgeldes, lag die Definition von Rechungseinheiten – Livre, Mark, Gulden, Florin oder Dollar – beim Staat (oder bei den Trägern politischer Macht).

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