Glaube, Vertrauen und Wohlstandserwerb

David P. Goldman (Spengler) mit faszinierenden Bemerkungen über den Glauben und das Vertrauen als Bedingungen für den modernen Kapitalismus. Adam Smith‘ unsichtbare Hand ist nicht genug, so Goldman, denn „Kredit“ kommt von „credere“:

Nowhere in the pagan world […] do we meet a God who offers his laws (the Torah) to a people, as YHWH did at Mount Sinai, and ask that people’s free assent to accept these laws. […] That is the origin of faith, emunah in Hebrew, meaning loyalty as well as belief.

Gläubig zu sein, heißt: sein Wort halten. Und zwar auch jenseits der Bande von Familie und Freundschaft, Dorf und Volk:

That is the Jewish genius: to be able to inspire faith (or what is usually called “confidence” in markets) to make possible long-term investments in capital markets involving millions of participants. The investors in a bond or stock issue are not linked by ties of family or personal loyalty, but rather by contract, law and custom. Their obligations extend beyond the ancient loyalties of family and clan. That may seem obvious on first reflection. But most countries in the world lack functioning capital markets, because faith is absent. […] In backward countries, trust is inconceivable outside the narrow circle of blood relations. Firms remain small because trust is restricted to family members.

Kapitalismus (wenn denn dieses Wort gebraucht werden muß) funktioniert also am besten dort, wo Glaube Vertrauen stiftet, nicht aber dort, wo  – wie manches Klischee will –  mit dem Glauben das Vertrauen schwindet.

The Jews have no special aptitude for trading. But we have a special gift for promoting the rule of law and public and private institutions which promote credit, that is, faith in future outcomes and the fair treatment of market participants. In the absence of faith, there never will be enough lawyers to enforce contracts, or policemen to arrest embezzlers, or watchdogs to extirpate government corruption. Something more fundamental is required: a sense that the law is sacred, and if any of us breaks the public trust, all of us are damaged.

Wilhelm Röpke würde mit ganzem Herzen zustimmen. Er pflegt mit Nachdruck darauf aufmerksam zu machen, daß liberaler Immanentismus nicht funktioniert. Mit anderen Worten: die Idee, man bräuchte bloß eine marktwirtschaftliche Ordnung einzuführen und dann läuft der Laden (im Wortsinne), hapert an einer unvollständigen Problem-Exploration.

Bemerkenswert in diesem Zusammenhang: Das Judentum hat eine frühe Form internationalen Rechts entwickelt – ein gewaltiger Vorteil für den Fernhandel:

Jews had a towering advantage in international trade during the Middle Ages because they had international law: a judgment issued by a rabbinical court in Yemen would be valid for Jewish merchants on the Rhine.

Kultur macht den Unterschied, schon wieder. Die moralische Nutzanwendung? Emulation. Den Erfolgreichen nachahmen:

Adam Smith’s invisible hand isn’t enough. Capital markets require more than the interaction of self-interested individuals: they require a common sense of the sanctity of covenant, of mutual obligations between government and people, and between one individual and the next. That is why the United States of America is the most successful nation in economic history. It was founded by devout Christians who hoped to construct a new nation in emulation of ancient Israel.

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