Comment faire face aux bulles financières ?

LONDRES – Peu après que l'on ait pris conscience de l'amplitude de la crise financière de 2008, on a débattu sur la question de savoir si les banques centrales et les régulateurs n'auraient pas pu et n'auraient pas dû faire plus pour la contenir. Selon le point de vue traditionnel, notamment celui d'Alan Greenspan, le précédent président de la Réserve fédérale américaine, toute tentative de faire éclater préventivement une bulle financière est vouée à l'échec. Les banques centrales ne peuvent faire mieux que réparer les dégâts.

Faire éclater une bulle risque d'étouffer inutilement la croissance - et avoir un coût social élevé. Mais il existe un contre-argument. Les économistes de la Banque pour les règlements (BRI) internationaux estiment que le coût de la crise était si élevé, et la sortie de crise si longue qu'il faut maintenant chercher une autre voie pour réagir aux premiers signes de formation d'une bulle des liquidités ou du crédit dont l'éclatement peut être lourd de conséquences.

C'est ce qui explique la divergence d'idées (exprimée de manière feutrée et courtoise) qui s'est manifestée lors de l'assemblée générale du FMI qui vient d'avoir lieu Lima. Pour les amateurs de littérature, cela rappelait Les voyages de Gulliver de Jonathan Swift. Gulliver se trouve pris dans une guerre entre deux tribus dont l'une estime qu'il faut ouvrir un œuf à la coque par son extrémité la plus fine, tandis que l'autre estime qu'il faut l'ouvrir par le gros bout, ce qui permet de faire passer plus facilement une cuillère.

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