L’hypocrisie financière

Cette année marque le dixième anniversaire de la crise de l’Est asiatique, qui débuta en Thaïlande le 2 juillet 1997, s’étendit à l’Indonésie en octobre et à la Corée en décembre. Elle finit par se transformer en crise financière mondiale, entraînant la Russie et des pays d’Amérique latine, comme le Brésil, et causant des dégâts au cours des années qui suivirent : ainsi, l’Argentine de 2001 peut être comptée parmi ses victimes.

Il y eut beaucoup d’autres victimes innocentes, notamment parmi des pays qui n’étaient pas impliqués dans les flux de capitaux à l’origine de la crise. Le Laos, par exemple, a figuré parmi les pays les plus touchés. Bien que toute crise ait une fin, personne ne savait à l’époque à quel point les récessions et dépressions qui allaient suivre allaient être longues, étendues et profondes. Ce fut la pire crise mondiale depuis la grande Dépression.

En tant qu’économiste en chef et vice-président de la Banque mondiale, je me suis retrouvé au milieu du cataclysme, et au centre des débats sur ses causes et les réactions appropriées. L’été et l’automne derniers, j’ai visité à nouveau plusieurs des pays affectés, notamment la Malaisie, le Laos, la Thaïlande et l’Indonésie. Leur rétablissement fait chaud au cœur. Ces pays connaissent aujourd’hui une croissance de 5 % ou 6 %, voire davantage – pas aussi rapide qu’à l’époque du miracle de l’est asiatique, mais bien plus vite que quiconque ne l’aurait cru possible au lendemain de la crise.

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