Une histoire de deux zones monétaires

PALO ALTO – Les Etats-Unis et l’Europe sont deux espaces de libre échange gigantesques. Tous deux sont riches, mais tous deux font face à de graves problèmes à court terme, et à d’immenses défis à long terme. Ils sont aussi deux zones à monnaie unique : le dollar et, pour la plupart de l’Europe, l’euro. Les défis pour chacune de ces monnaies sont monumentaux.

Pourtant, seule la zone monétaire européenne peut craindre pour son futur ; les USA ne sont pas confronté à une crise existentielle de leur monnaie. Les similitudes et différences des deux puissances économiques, en particulier en ce qui concerne la mobilité interne du travail, la productivité et les politiques fiscales, indiquent les raisons pour lesquelles – et comment – la zone euro peut survivre aux crises de sa périphérie et devenir une zone monétaire stable.

La mobilité du travail des régions pauvres vers les régions riches permet d’amortir des chocs économiques différentiés. L’autre amortisseur naturel est la dépréciation de la monnaie, qui augmente la compétitivité dans la région la plus durement touchée. Ceci ne peut pas avoir lieu en présence d’une monnaie unique, et l’ajustement économique est doublement difficile lorsque le travail n’est pas suffisamment mobile que pour aider à mitiger les contractions régionales du revenu et de l’emploi.

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