helicopters John Moore/Getty Images

Non à la politique de l'hélicoptère !

MUNICH – En dépit de plusieurs années de politique monétaire expansionniste, la Banque centrale européenne (BCE) n'a pas réussi à rapprocher l'inflation de sa valeur-cible "inférieure, mais proche de 2%". Les dernières mesures (taux d'intérêt zéro appliqué aux principales opérations de refinancement de la BCE, augmentation des achats mensuels d'actifs de 60 à 80 millions d'euros et taux d'intérêt négatif de -0,4% sur les dépôts) ne vont sans doute pas changer cette situation. C'est pourquoi certains économistes pressent la BCE d'aller encore plus loin dans cette direction avec le "largage d'argent par hélicoptère" : le recours à la planche à billets pour financer la consommation privée.

Cette idée remonte à l'époque des débats sur le monétarisme dans les années 1960. On disait alors qu'une banque centrale n'est jamais à court de moyens pour stimuler la demande agrégée et entretenir l'inflation si elle est disposée à recourir à des mesures radicales. Or ce qui était à l'époque une simple vue de l'esprit pourrait se traduire aujourd'hui dans la réalité.

En pratique, la politique de l'hélicoptère prendrait la forme d'un chèque versé aux ménages ou de bons de consommation pour tous financés exclusivement par les banques centrales. Les Etats et les banques commerciales qui serviraient d'intermédiaire recevraient des liquidités ou de l'argent en dépôt, mais ces sommes n'apparaîtraient pas dans l'actif des banques centrales.

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