Après le tsunami, quel avenir pour l’Asie ?

On ne peut absolument pas se méprendre sur l’échelle de la dévastation humaine que l’horrible tsunami asiatique a créée. Les familles sont éclatées, les maisons détruites, les moyens d’existence détruits. Comme c’est souvent le cas lors de catastrophes naturelles, ce sont les couches les plus pauvres qui sont les plus atteintes.

Et pourtant, malgré les dégâts infligés aux infrastructures telles que les routes et les chemins de fer, l’impact économique du tsunami sera dans l’ensemble de moindre importance. Dans les régions les plus touchées de l’Inde, de l’Indonésie, du Sri Lanka et de la Thaïlande, les régions intérieures immédiates n’ont pas été touchées, tandis que les industries du tourisme et de la pêche, sources de la vie économique des zones côtières ravagées, ne représentent qu’une faible partie du PIB de ces pays dans la mesure où les réformes libérales ont alimenté la diversification économique et la croissance rapide.

Cela n’a pas toujours été le cas. Historiquement, il a toujours été difficile de convaincre les Asiatiques que le commerce international n’est pas un jeu à somme zéro où ils figureraient obligatoirement dans la case des perdants. C’est une des raisons pour lesquelles, après le triomphe de la Chine communiste de Mao en 1949 et l’indépendance acquise par d’autres nations asiatiques, la plupart des pays asiatiques ont adopté des politiques économiques protectionnistes tournées vers le renforcement des marchés domestiques, tenant les « impérialistes » à l’écart et se consacrant à l’auto-suffisance.

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