Rich and poor Peter Parks/Getty Images

Répondre à la menace mondiale contre la démocratie

OXFORD – Partout dans le monde, les populistes attirent les suffrages en promettant de protéger les gens ordinaires des dures réalités de la mondialisation. Les élites démocratiques, affirment-ils, ne méritent pas qu’on leur fasse confiance, trop occupées qu’elles sont à protéger les riches – une habitude que la mondialisation n’a fait qu’intensifier. 

Pendant des décennies, la mondialisation fut une promesse pour tous. À l’échelle internationale, elle a permis l’essor des Tigres asiatiques et des BRICS (Brésil, Russie, Inde, Chine et Afrique du Sud), a doté l’Afrique d’une croissance rapide et soutenu la prospérité des pays riches jusqu’en 2007. Elle a représenté une chance pour de nombreux pays et multiplié les opportunités de développement. Mais depuis la crise de 2008, nombre de pays riches sont prisonniers de l’austérité, les économies asiatiques ralentissent, les BRICS sont en panne et de nombreux pays africains connaissent à nouveau les affres de la dette.

Tour cela a contribué à la hausse des inégalités, qui nourrissent aujourd’hui les mécontentements. Emmanuel Saez et Gabriel Zucman ont calculé qu’aux États-Unis, les écarts de richesse sont d’ores et déjà plus marqués que jamais depuis la Grande Dépression, le centile des ménages les plus riches possédant désormais presque la moitié du patrimoine national.

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