Endettement et demande

LONDRES – L'ancien secrétaire américain au Trésor Larry Summers a récemment provoqué une grande agitation en annonçant un risque de stagnation économique prolongée dans les économies avancées. En fait, et bien que beaucoup d’analystes rejettent l’existence d’une tendance séculaire, les données soutiennent Summers. Certes, la croissance économique s'est accélérée aux États-Unis au Royaume-Uni, tandis que l'économie de la zone euro a cessé de se contracter et que le Japon semble commencer à répondre positivement à « Abenomics ». Néanmoins, la reprise mondiale demeure extrêmement faible et la plupart des économies avancées restent entre 10 et 15% sous leur tendance de croissance d'avant crise.

Il n'est pas difficile de voir pourquoi la reprise a été anémique. La création de dette privée excessive avant la crise et les tentatives ultérieures de désendettement ont considérablement affaibli la demande.

Si les déficits budgétaires peuvent contribuer à compenser la demande insuffisante, ils se traduisent également par une hausse de la dette publique. L’endettement n'a pas disparu, il s’est simplement déplacé vers le secteur public – créant un surendettement qui peut durer de nombreuses années, voire des décennies. L’éliminer nécessitera probablement des annulations de dettes importantes ou une monétisation permanente.

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