Philip Hammond Stefan Rousseau/Getty Images

L’expert et les inégalités

NEW YORK – Voici dix ans en ce mois de septembre, le monde percevait les premiers signaux manifestes de la crise économique qui, un an plus tard, allait le frapper de plein fouet et engendrer des épreuves inédites depuis la Grande Dépression des années trente. La profonde récession qui suivit le quasi-effondrement du système financier mondial en 2008 prit à peu près tout le monde par surprise – y compris les experts, qui étaient sans doute les mieux préparés à la voir venir.

On se souvient, en novembre 2008, moins de deux mois après la faillite de la banque d’investissement américaine Lehman Brothers, de la question lancée par une reine Elizabeth manifestement courroucée, lors d’une visite à la London School of Economics : « Pourquoi personne ne s’en est-il rendu compte ? »

Au cours des dix années qui se sont écoulées, toute sortes de réponses ont été avancées, reprochant aux experts leur arrogance, leur complicité, ou estimant que leurs compétences étaient largement surestimées. Le contexte était affreux, avec disparitions d’emplois et contraction des bilans. La fortune personnelle de la reine avait perdu (quoique partant de très haut) 25 millions de livres (32,1 millions de dollars) depuis le début de la crise.

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