L’Amérique et son économie déchirée par la guerre

NEW YORK – Pour certains, les élections américaines tourneront autour de deux questions : la guerre en Irak et l’économie. Lorsque l’économie sombre mais que la situation en Irak semble meilleure que prévue, l’économie éclipse la guerre. Pourtant, aucun des deux tableaux ne se porte bien. Dans un sens, une seule question se pose véritablement : celle de la guerre, qui a aggravé les problèmes économiques de l’Amérique. Et lorsque la plus grande économie mondiale va mal – voire très mal en ce moment – le monde entier souffre.

Autrefois, on pensait que les guerres profitaient à l’économie. Après tout, on pense généralement que la Seconde Guerre mondiale a aidé l'économie mondiale à sortir de la Grande dépression. Mais au moins depuis Keynes, on sait comment stimuler efficacement l'économie, tout en améliorant la productivité à long terme et les niveaux de vie.

En l'occurrence, la guerre en Irak n'a pas profité à l'économie pour trois raisons. Tout d'abord, elle a contribué à la hausse des prix du pétrole. Lorsque les États-Unis sont entrés en guerre, le baril coûtait moins de 25 dollars et les marchés prévoyaient que la stabilité des prix durant au moins une décennie. Au fait de la croissance de la Chine et d'autres marchés émergents, les traders ne s'attendaient pas à ce que l'offre – essentiellement de fournisseurs à bas prix du Proche-Orient – augmente parallèlement à la demande.

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