Petites lectures d’été pour l’Europe

BERKELEY – En août, les Européens filent à la plage. Le continent tire le rideau, partant du principe que rien de conséquent ne peut arriver jusqu’à ce que chacun soit de retour à la maison, bien bronzé, en septembre. Oubliée la crise des surprimes d’août 2007, ou même la crise monétaire européenne d’août 1992 : les vacances en août sont une vénérable institution. Alors, que devraient lire les Européens sous leurs parasols cette année ?

Le livre de Milton Friedman et Anna Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States (Une Histoire monétaire des Etats-Unis, ndt) est incontournable. Au cœur de leur récit captivant, un chapitre sur la Grande Dépression dans lequel ils accusent la Réserve Fédérale américaine de n’avoir pas su trouver une réponse adaptée à l’aggravation de la crise.

On pense généralement que Friedman et Schwartz réprouvent la Fed pour ne pas avoir réagi suffisamment rapidement aux vagues successives de faillites bancaires, d’abord fin 1930, puis à nouveau en 1931 et en 1933. Mais une lecture plus attentive révèle que les auteurs réservent leurs critiques les plus virulentes envers la Fed pour n’avoir pas su mettre en place un programme concerté d’achats de titres dès le premier semestre 1930 afin d’éviter ces faillites bancaires.

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