Paul Lachine

Consolidateurs contre Stimulateurs

LONDRES – Tous les systèmes intellectuels reposent sur des hypothèses qui n’ont pas besoin d’être expliquées parce que tous les membres de cette communauté intellectuelle les acceptent. Ces « profonds » axiomes sont tout aussi implicites en économie, mais, sans remise en question, ils peuvent mener les responsables politiques dans une impasse. C’est exactement ce qui est en train de se passer aujourd’hui avec l’effort que produisent les uns après les autres les pays pour comprimer considérablement les dépenses et réduire les déficits budgétaires.

La principale mission que s’était donné John Maynard Keynes dans sa Théorie Générale de l’emploi, de l’intérêt et de la monnaie était de lever le voile sur les profonds axiomes inhérents à l’orthodoxie économique de son époque, lesquels écartaient l’éventualité de la persistance du chômage de masse. La question qu’il opposait à ses contradicteurs était : « En quoi doivent-ils croire pour pouvoir affirmer que la permanence du chômage de masse est impossible, de sorte que les « incitations » gouvernementales pour relancer les niveaux de l’emploi seraient inutiles ? » Pour répondre à cette question, Keynes a reconstruit la théorie de cette orthodoxie – puis l’a démolie.

Aujourd’hui, malgré la révolution keynésienne, cette même question est posée et exige une réponse. En quoi les personnes qui demandent une « consolidation budgétaire » urgente dans un contexte de fort chômage ont-elles besoin de croire en matière économique pour que leur politique soit cohérente ?

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