L’héritage mondial de Ben Bernanke

WASHINGTON, DC – Le monde en est encore à digérer l’héritage mitigé d’Alan Greenspan en tant que président de la Réserve fédérale américaine, qu’il a dirigée de 1987 à 2006. Il est donc encore trop tôt pour déterminer si son successeur sortant, Ben Bernanke, a vocation à s’inscrire de manière favorable ou défavorable dans l’histoire. Pour autant, le rôle international crucial joué par Bernanke et la Fed tout au long de son mandat – au cours d’une période qui a vu la fragilité économique nationale se transcrire en une relative inefficacité du leadership américain sur le plan mondial – ne saurait être passé à la trappe.

Au cours de ces cinq dernières années de crise, la Fed a exercé une double influence sur l’économie mondiale : d’une part dans la mise en œuvre d’une politique hyperactive d’achat d’actifs à long terme – le fameux assouplissement quantitatif (ou QE, pour quantitative easing) – ainsi qu’au travers de son rôle largement actif, bien que peu cité, dans l’apport d’une liquidité internationale. Prenons ainsi le temps de nous intéresser à ces deux aspects.

Indépendamment des effets du QE sur l’économie américaine, l’impact de cette politique sur le reste de la planète s’est révélé peu significatif dans l’ensemble. La première vague de QE s’est clairement avérée bénéfique, dans la mesure où elle a permis de minimiser, voire d’éliminer, le risque de dépression mondiale à la suite de l’effondrement de Lehman Brothers, en septembre 2008.

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