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Wohlfahrtsgesellschaften als funktionaler Antagonismus von Kapitalismus und Demokratie: Ein immer labilerer Mechanismus?


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  • Schimank, Uwe
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    Der gesamtgesellschaftliche Prägekraft besitzende grundlegende Ordnungsmechanismus der Wohlfahrtsgesellschaft ist der funktionale Antagonismus von kapitalistischer Wirtschaft auf der einen, demokratischer Politik auf der anderen Seite. Dieser Mechanismus mit seinem gesamtgesellschaftlich gemischten Segen stellte für etwa hundert Jahre die Konstante westlicher Wohlfahrtsgesellschaften dar. Seit einigen Jahrzehnten müssen wir allerdings zunehmend beunruhigt zur Kenntnis nehmen, dass auf diese Konstante kein Verlass mehr sein könnte. Kybernetisch gesprochen: Wohlfahrtsgesellschaften könnten ihre Ultrastabilität einbüßen, also ihre Fähigkeit, auch starke Dysbalancen wieder auszugleichen und zu einem stabilen Ordnungszustand zurückzukehren. Warum könnte es so sein, und was würde es bedeuten? Anstelle gesicherter Auskünfte auf diese Fragen wird eine Forschungsperspektive skizziert, die zu besseren Einschätzungen der Gegenwart und vor allem Zukunft der westlichen Wohlfahrtsgesellschaften führen könnte. Ihre heuristische Leitidee lautet: Heutige Wohlfahrtsgesellschaften werden von multiplen Instabilitäten irritiert, auf die die Akteure oft nur noch mit Coping anstelle von zielorientiertem Gestaltungshandeln reagieren können; und das Wechselspiel solcher Coping-Praktiken verschiedener Akteure führt wiederum eher zu einer Perpetuierung oder gar Intensivierung als zu einer Dämpfung der Instabilitäten. -- The fundamental mechanism that shapes the social order of welfare societies is the functional antagonism between the capitalist economy, on the one hand, and democratic politics on the other. This mechanism, with its mixed blessings, has been an unchanging feature of western welfare societies for around hundred years. However, for decades now we have grown increasingly uneasy observing that this constant can no longer be relied upon. In cybernetic terms, welfare societies might be in danger of losing their ultrastability and therefore their ability to counter disbalances and return to a state of stable order. How could this happen and what does it mean? Instead of giving definitive responses to such questions, I suggest a research program that may better assess the present situation in western welfare societies and, more importantly, possible future developments. Such research would be guided heuristically by the assumption that welfare societies today are being unsettled by a multitude of destabilizing factors to which actors can often only respond with coping strategies rather than with activities guided by clearly defined goals. Far from reducing instabilities, the interaction of the various actors' coping strategies tends to perpetuate or even intensify these pressures.

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    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Working Paper with number 11/2.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgw:112

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    1. Kornai, Janos, 1992. "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287766, October.
    2. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
    3. Devenow, Andrea & Welch, Ivo, 1996. "Rational herding in financial economics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 603-615, April.
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