Interventionnisme conservateur

BERKELEY – A ce stade de la lutte mondiale contre la dépression, les mesures prises par les diverses banques centrales, Trésors publics et gouvernements apparaissent très conservatrices dans leur essence. Presque tout ce qui a été fait - augmentation des dépenses, baisse des impôts, recapitalisation des banques, achat des actifs à risque, opérations sur les marchés et mesures destinées à augmenter la liquidité sur les marchés - correspondent à une politique qui date de presque 200 ans, au début de la Révolution industrielle et du cycle des affaires. 

L'histoire commence en 1825, lorsque des investisseurs paniqués préfèrent conserver leurs avoirs en  argent liquide sans danger plutôt que dans des entreprises à risque. Robert Banks Jenkinson, deuxième comte de Liverpool et ministre du Trésor de Georges IV, demande au gouverneur de la Banque d'Angleterre, Cornelius Buller, de prendre des mesures pour empêcher l'effondrement de la valeur des actifs financiers. "Nous croyons en l'économie de marché", déclare-t-il,  "mais pas quand les prix d'une économie de marché engendrent le chômage de masse dans les rues de Londres, Bristol, Liverpool et Manchester."

La Banque d'Angleterre réagit : elle annonce son intention de stabiliser le marché et met en garde les spéculateurs à la baisse. Elle achète sur le marché en des obligations en échange de liquidité, ce qui pousse à la hausse le prix des actifs financiers et accroît la fourniture de monnaie, et elle prête de l'argent aux banques en difficulté.

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