Les raisons de l'échec de 2008

BERKELEY – Pour résoudre un problème, il ne suffit pas de savoir quoi faire. Il faut en outre mettre en œuvre la solution et être disposé à changer de cap s'il s'avère que vous n'étiez pas aussi bien renseigné que vous le pensiez. C'est le message de deux livres récents qui à eux deux nous apprennent tout ce qu'il faut savoir sur la crise financière de 2008 : ce qui l'a provoquée, ce qui peut être fait pour empêcher qu'elle ne se reproduise et les raisons pour lesquelles ces choses restent encore à faire.

Le premier livre est The Shifts and the Shocks, par le journaliste britannique conservateur Martin Wolf, qui commence par cataloguer les changements majeurs qui ont préparé le terrain pour le désastre économique qui continue de façonner notre monde actuel. Son point de départ est la montée énorme des richesses parmi 0,1% et 0,01% des personnes les plus riches du monde et la pression qui en résulte pour les citoyens, les gouvernements et les entreprises qui doivent supporter des niveaux de dette de moins en moins durables.

Pendant ce temps, les décideurs se sont bercés dans la complaisance de l'acceptation généralisée de théories économiques du type de « l'hypothèse du marché efficient », qui présuppose que les investisseurs agissent rationnellement et utilisent toutes les informations disponibles lors de leur prise de décision. En conséquence les marchés ont été déréglementés, ce qui a rendu plus facile à des actifs commerciaux d'être perçus comme inoffensifs, alors qu'en définitive ils ne l'étaient pas. Ainsi le risque systémique a proliféré au-delà des plus folles espérances des dirigeants des banques centrales.

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