Leçons d'Argentine

L'écroulement de l'économie argentine est à l'origine de la plus importante cessation de paiement de toute l'histoire. Tous les experts sont d'accord pour affirmer qu'il ne s'agit que du dernier épisode dans un ensemble de politiques de subventions orchestrées par le FMI, qui a ainsi gaspillé des milliards de dollars sans parvenir à sauver les économies que ces subventions devaient aider. La nature de cet échec, cependant, reste controversée. Certains pensent que le FMI fut trop indulgent, d'autres pensent au contraire qu'il fut trop strict.

Ceux qui accusent le FMI considèrent que l'Argentine s'est mise elle-même dans cette mauvaise passe par ses dépenses extrêmement prodigues et dévoyées. Tenter ainsi de faire porter le chapeau aux uns ou aux autres est peu judicieux. On peut comprendre la question de la cessation de paiement comme une conséquence des mauvais choix économiques faits durant la décennie précédente. Comprendre ce qui n'a pas fonctionné permet de tirer d'importantes leçons pour l'avenir.

Les problèmes commencèrent avec la surinflation des années 80. Pour réduire l'inflation, il fallait modifier les perspectives; et « l'arrimage » de la monnaie au dollar était censé mener cela à bien. C'était le retour à une variante du vieux débat sur l'étalon or. Si l'inflation continuait, le taux de change réel du pays s'améliorerait, la demande de ses produits d'exportation faiblirait, le chomâge augmenterait, et cela réduirait la pression des salaires et des prix. Les acteurs du marché, sachant cela, comprendraient que l'inflation ne se maintiendrait pas. Tant que l'engagement vis-à-vis du système des taux des changes restait crédible, ainsi en allait-il de l'engagement à bloquer l'inflation.

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