Wirtschaft und Wissen

von Ralf Dahrendorf

Der vielleicht größte politische Ökonom des 20. Jahrhunderts, John Maynard Keynes, meinte einmal, dass der Lauf der Geschichte auf lange Sicht genauso von Ideen und Intellektuellen wie von Politikern beeinflusst wird. Damit meinte er allerdings nicht irgendwelche Ratgeber, Verfasser von Parteiprogrammen für den sofortigen Gebrauch oder Redenschreiber von Präsidenten und Premierministern. Ebenso wenig hatte er Zeitungs- und Fernsehkommentatoren und Experten im Auge, deren Schriften die Hintergrundmusik zur Politik bilden. Keynes sprach vielmehr von den Urhebern wahrhaft bahnbrechender Ideen, wie seiner eigenen, wonach der Kapitalismus von Zeit zu Zeit durch staatliche Interventionen gerettet werden muss, um die gesamtwirtschaftliche Nachfrage zu steuern.

Aber Keynes erinnerte uns selbstverständlich auch daran, dass wir auf lange Sicht alle tot sind. Am Höhepunkt des Einflusses seiner Ideen - in den fünfziger und vor allem den sechziger Jahren des vorigen Jahrhunderts - war er tot. Andere, deren Ideen die Inspiration (wenn man das so sagen kann) für die totalitären Bedrohungen des 20. Jahrhunderts lieferten, waren zu dem Zeitpunkt als ihre Ideen verwirklicht wurden, auch längst tot. Der politische Effekt dieser Intellektuellen ist also in den seltensten Fällen unmittelbar spürbar. Ihr großer Augenblick kommt erst später.

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