La ruine du joueur

SAN FRANCISCO – A partir d’Adam Smith (1776) et jusque dans les années 1950 environ, le capital était considéré comme absolument essentiel à la croissance économique. Quelques institutions de base adéquates étaient également nécessaires, pour assurer « la sécurité de la propriété et une administration tolérable de la justice », selon les termes de Smith.

Si ces institutions fondamentales fonctionnent correctement, les propriétaires, commerçants et industriels investissent et prospèrent. En investissant et en prospérant, ils contribuent au capital : « Dans tous les pays où il existe une sécurité tolérable (de la propriété), tout homme de bon sens  entreprendra d’utiliser le capital à sa disposition, pour en profiter dans l’immédiat ou à l’avenir… Un homme doit être parfaitement fou, pour, lorsqu’il existe une sécurité tolérable, ne pas utiliser tout le capital dont il dispose, que ce soit le sien propre, ou qu’il soit emprunté à autrui… ».

Un capital plus grand signifie des marchés plus étendus, une division du travail plus affinée, et une économie plus productive. La « richesse des nations » était ainsi garantie par une société très productive basée sur une division du travail sophistiquée.

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