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41. Jahrgang | Jahr 2015 | Heft 1

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Boris Gehlen
Bausparkassen – eine (typisch) deutsche Finanzinnovation?
The ‘Bausparkassen’ (building and loan associations) were innovations through adaption in the Schumpeterian sense because they created a new combination of existing lending and residential housing principles. From the housing market, the ‘Bausparkassen’ took over the subordinated building loan as a business principle; from the banking industry it took the longterm lending business of mortgage and savings banks; also from the latter, regular savings; in addition, the long-term and mathematically-based accumulation of wealth from life insurance companies, and the principle of collective self-help from cooperatives. The innovation was ‘typically German’ insofar as the adopted principles had been constitutive for individual segments of the financial market. It was hence also ‘typically German’ because the juxtaposition of public and private providers was a characteristic feature of the German financial markets. And it was hence ‘typically German’ because it transformed along existing regulatory paths and assimilated into a market that was coordinated less by competition than by agreement between providers, demanders and the state and which was integrated in welfare state aims. From a historical viewpoint, at least two ‘German’ phenomena were defining for the ‘Bausparkasse’ innovation. First, the traditionally low home ownership rate, and second, the destruction of real capital in the world wars and the destruction of monetary capital in the subsequent inflationary periods.

Die Frage nach Divergenzen beziehungsweise nationalen Ausprägungen in und von Wirtschafts- und Finanzsystemen ist seit längerem en vogue. Freilich nehmen die meisten Beiträge eine Makroperspektive ein und arbeiten systematisch und in typisierender Absicht Unterschiede zwischen (Gruppen von) Volkswirtschaften heraus,1 ohne dabei vermeintlich nebensächliche Sonderentwicklungen, Eigenheiten und institutionelle Ausprägungen in den Blick zu nehmen (die wiederum Historikerinnen und Historiker häufig besonders interessieren). Beispielsweise fokussieren zahlreiche Beiträge, die sich des deutschen Finanzsystems annehmen, vornehmlich auf Universalbanken, langfristige Kreditbeziehungen und bisweilen auch auf das Drei-Säulen-Modell der Kreditwirtschaft, jedoch kaum zum Beispiel auf die Realkreditmärkte.[…]

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