La dette verte de la Chine

Le monde s'est demandé pendant une décennie quand les dirigeants chinois allaient reconnaître la crise environnementale ahurissante qu'affronte leur pays. Nous avons eu une réponse cette année : un nouveau Plan quinquennal qui fait de la protection environnementale une priorité. Une tornade de propagande verte a suivi, et le gouvernement parle maintenant d'utiliser le “PIB vert” pour mesurer le développement. Toutes ces discussions vont-elles déboucher sur un réel progrès ?

Bien que le gouvernement central admette qu'une partie de la dégradation de l'environnement soit imputable à la rapide croissance de l'économie, le tableau qu'il dépeint est incomplet. Prenons le “PIB vert.” Au printemps dernier, l'agence de protection environnementale d'État a publié les premières estimations officielles du PIB corrigé à la baisse en prenant en compte les pertes en termes d'écologie. Selon ces calculs, nettoyer la pollution produite en 2004 coûterait 84 milliards de dollars, soit 3 % du PIB de cette année-là. Des calculs plus réalistes estiment le dégât environnemental à 8-13 % du PIB chinois chaque année, ce qui signifie que la Chine a perdu presque tout ce qu'elle a gagné depuis la fin des années 1970 à cause de la pollution.

Les problèmes environnementaux de la Chine, aussi complexes qu'en puissent être les causes, peuvent au final être attribués à notre interprétation du marxisme. Pendant la plus grande partie de notre histoire récente, nous n'avons vu dans le marxisme qu'une philosophie de la lutte des classes. Nous avons cru que le développement économique règlerait tous nos problèmes. Lors de la période de réforme, cette mauvaise lecture de Marx s'est mutée en une poursuite effrénée du gain matériel, dépourvue de toute moralité. La culture traditionnelle chinoise et son emphase sur l'harmonie entre les êtres humains et la nature ont été reléguées à l'arrière-plan.

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