L’inégalité face au besoin

BERKELEY – Selon toute mesure économique, nous vivons des temps décevants. Aux États-Unis, 7,2% de la main-d'œuvre productive normale est actuellement inactive, tandis que le taux de chômage en Europe est en hausse et dépassera probablement celui des Etats-Unis avant la fin de l'année. Il est donc important de prendre du recul et de nous rappeler que la « décennie perdue » dont nous sommes en train de souffrir n'est pas notre destin économique à long terme.

Comme Paul Krugman nous a rappelé récemment, c’est peut-être John Maynard Keynes qui l’a exprimé le mieux:

« Il s’agit d’un cauchemar, qui s’en ira avec le matin. Car les ressources de la nature et les outils des hommes sont tout aussi fertiles et productifs qu’ils ne l’étaient. Le rythme de nos progrès pour résoudre les problèmes matériels de la vie n'est pas moins rapide. Nous sommes autant capables qu’avant d’offrir à chacun un niveau de vie élevé – par élevé, je me réfère à, disons, il y a 20 ans – et apprendrons bientôt à nous permettre un niveau encore plus élevé. Nous n’avons pas été trompés par le passé. Néanmoins, aujourd'hui, nous nous sommes plongés dans un embrouillamini colossal, après avoir gaffé dans le contrôle d'une machine délicate, dont nous ne comprenons pas le fonctionnement. Le résultat est que nos possibilités de richesse pourraient être gaspillées pendant un certain temps. »

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