Un redressement durable

NEW YORK – La récession mondiale actuelle n’est pas seulement le résultat d’une panique financière, mais également d’une incertitude plus fondamentale quant à la direction future de l’économie mondiale. Les consommateurs renoncent à acheter maison et voiture à la fois parce la baisse des cours et de la valeur des biens immobiliers a porté un coup à l’état de leurs finances et parce qu’ils ne savent pas dans quelle direction se tourner. Faut-il prendre le risque d’acheter une nouvelle voiture si le prix de l’essence atteint de nouveaux sommets ? Sera-t-il possible de nourrir la famille après la formidable flambée du prix des denrées alimentaires de cette année ?

Les décisions relatives aux investissements commerciaux sont encore plus difficiles. Les entreprises rechignent à investir à un moment où la demande est en chute libre et où elles sont exposées à des primes de risque sans précédent sur leurs emprunts. Elles aussi sont confrontées à des incertitudes majeures. Quel genre de centrale électrique sera autorisé à l’avenir ? Pourront-elles continuer à émettre du dioxyde de carbone comme autrefois ? Les Etats-Unis peuvent-ils encore se permettre le mode de vie suburbain avec de vastes maisons dans des  agglomérations périphériques synonymes de grandes distances en voiture ?

La convalescence économique dépendra en grande partie d’une vision plus claire de la direction que prendront les futurs changements économiques, décisions dans lesquelles les gouvernements joueront un rôle important. Après la direction confuse et malavisée de l’administration Bush, qui n’a pas su donner d’indications politiques précises au plan de l’énergie, de la santé, du climat et de la finance, le président élu Barack Obama devra commencer à définir une voie pour l’avenir de l’économie américaine.

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