Chris Van Es

Die seltsame Wiedergeburt der amerikanischen Führerschaft

FLORENZ – Auf der jüngsten Jahrestagung der American Economic Association herrschte hinsichtlich der Zukunft der Vereinigten Staaten weitgehend Pessimismus. „Die Ära der amerikanischen Vorherrschaft ist vorbei”, erklärte ein Ökonom. Ein anderer meinte: „Die USA sollten sich auf soziale Unruhen gefasst machen, während sie die Frage klären, wer für den Verlust der globalen Vorrangstellung verantwortlich ist.“

Wir haben diese Geschichte schon oft gehört, nicht nur in den USA, sondern auch anderswo George Dangerfield beschreibt in seinem kontrovers diskutierten Buch The Strange Death of Liberal England (Der seltsame Tod des liberalen England) den plötzlichen Niedergang des Landes, als es an der Wende zum 20. Jahrhundert auf dem Höhepunkt seiner Macht stand. Die Welt wie man sie kannte, schien einfach und auf unerklärliche Weise zu verschwinden. Viele Amerikaner – man denke beispielsweise an die Anhänger der Tea Party – fürchten, dass in ihrem Land gerade etwas Ähnliches passiert. Oder schon passiert ist.

Dangerfield stellt seine Diagnose auf Basis eines Querschnitts durch Institutionen, Politik und Persönlichkeiten vor dem Hintergrund des bitteren Klassenkampfes dieser Zeit. Die Amerikaner hingegen haben generell etwas gegen den Klassenkampf. Zugegeben: Seit ihrer Gründung sind die USA von einer starren, wenn auch vergleichsweise fließenden Klassenstruktur geprägt. Aber die Amerikaner sprechen einfach nicht gerne darüber, selbst wenn sie sich über die Torheiten der „Elite“ auslassen. Mit Ausnahme der Reichsten und der Ärmsten sehen sich beinahe alle Amerikaner als Angehörige der „Mittelschicht“. So bleibt Amerikas demokratische Ethos bestehen.

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