Wer ist jetzt von wem abhängig?

Wenn der große argentinische Ökonom Raul Prebisch heute noch am Leben wäre, würde er sich zweifellos fragen, ob die Welt denn Kopf steht. Seine enorm einflussreiche „Dependenztheorie“ ging davon aus, dass jene armen Länder, die zu stark auf Rohstoffexporte angewiesen sind, nie jene industrielle Durchdringung erreichen können, die für ein nachhaltiges Wirtschaftswachstum erforderlich ist. Stattdessen seien sie in einem Kreislauf sinkender weltweiter Rohstoffpreise und stetig sinkender Einkommensanteile gefangen.

Prebischs bevorzugte politische Reaktion, der Protektionismus, erwies sich für die vielen lateinamerikanischen und afrikanischen Länder, die sich seinen Ansichten anschlossen, als katastrophal. Tatsache ist jedoch, dass Prebisch über viele Jahre hinweg in Bezug auf die langfristigen Trends bei den Rohstoffpreisen richtig zu liegen schien. Erbarmungslose Effizienzsteigerungen in der Landwirtschaft und beim Abbau natürlicher Ressourcen drückten die Rohstoffpreise nach unten, vor allem während der 1980er und 1990er Jahre. Von wenigen Ausnahmen abgesehen, entwickelte sich die Wirtschaft jener Länder, die sich auf Rohstoffexporte konzentrierten, erbärmlich, während viele rohstoffarme asiatische Länder nach vorn drängten.

Heute jedoch, wo Asiens Giganten – Indien und China – in die Weltwirtschaft eingetreten sind, explodieren die Preise für Öl, Gold, Weizen und praktisch alle anderen Rohstoffe. Zwar wird es immer Zyklen geben – die Ölpreise beispielsweise werden vermutlich fallen, bevor sie wieder zu steigen beginnen –, aber der langfristige Trend für viele Rohstoffe wird eindeutig für längere Zeit weiter nach oben zeigen.

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