Grandes cités et villes fantômes

HONG KONG – Nombre d’observateurs ont tendance à considérer la multiplication de « villes fantômes » modernes et inoccupées sur le territoire chinois, financées via d’incertains véhicules de financement des collectivités locales (LGFV), comme l’un des symptômes d’un effondrement prochain de la Chine. Or, cette conception semble ignorer le caractère inévitable – et en réalité nécessaire – de tels défis sur le chemin du développement.

En 2012, l’investisseur en capital-risque William Janeway a expliqué que le développement économique consistait en un jeu à trois acteurs – l’État, l’innovation entrepreneuriale privée, et le capitalisme financier – caractérisé par un certain nombre de débordements cycliques inévitables, créateurs des conditions nécessaires à une prochaine vague d’inventivité et de croissance de la production. Villes fantômes et banques locales en faillite abondaient autrefois aux États-Unis, jusqu’à ce que le pays commence au milieu du XIXe siècle à investir dans les chemins de fer ainsi que dans l’exploitation minière et l’industrialisation. Pour autant, l’Amérique n’a connu aucune crise systémique se propageant au-delà de ses frontières.

À défaut d’un investissement massif en infrastructures, et particulièrement en matière de transports, les gains de productivité ayant permis l’émergence de l’Amérique en tant que puissance industrielle n’auraient pas été possibles. Bien que ce processus se soit accompagné d’une importante destruction créatrice, l’essor de la croissance économique a compensé les pertes liées à un excès de capacité.

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