Margaret Scott

Retour sur image : la première crise de la dette américaine

CAMBRIDGE – L'Occident n'arrive pas à se dépêtrer de la crise de la dette. Ainsi que tout le monde le sait, les USA ont été proches de la faillite le 2 août et l'agence de notation Standard & Poor leur a retiré leur note AAA le 5 août. En Europe, le gouverneur sortant de la Banque centrale européenne préconise une autorité budgétaire européenne davantage centralisée pour faire face à un défaut possible de la Grèce, du Portugal ou de l'Espagne.

L'Europe et l'Amérique pourraient tirer profit d'un épisode oublié de l'Histoire américaine, car dans le brouillard de vénération patriotique des pères fondateurs de l'Amérique, on oublie qu'ils ont créé un pays neuf pendant une épouvantable crise de la dette - et en grande partie à cause d'elle. Espérons que nous réussirons nous aussi à transformer les crises d'aujourd'hui en un moment de créativité politique.

Après avoir arraché leur indépendance à la Grande-Bretagne en 1783, les Etats américains ont refusé de rembourser leurs dettes de la guerre d'indépendance. Certains ne le pouvaient pas, d'autres s'y refusaient tout bonnement. Le pays dans son ensemble fonctionnait comme une vague confédération qui, à l'image de l'Union européenne aujourd'hui, manquait d'une autorité fiscale ainsi que d'une autorité suffisamment centralisée. Il ne pouvait résoudre ses problèmes financiers, essentiellement des défauts récurrents, ce qui a finalement catalysé la Convention de Philadelphie, un événement fondateur des USA.

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