Germany economy Joern Pollex/Getty Images

L'art de l'excédent

BERLIN – Le fort excédent persistant de la balance de compte courant de l'Allemagne n'est peut-être pas à l'ordre du jour officiel du sommet du G-20 de cette semaine à Hambourg, mais il va sans aucun doute provoquer des tensions entre les dirigeants qui s'y réunissent. Après tout, cet excédent, qui a longtemps été une pomme de discorde pour de nombreux partenaires commerciaux de l'Allemagne, a atteint un nouveau sommet de 8,3 % du PIB nominal de l'année dernière, dont l'excédent vis-à-vis des États-Unis représente la plus grande part.

L'économie de l'Allemagne pourrait bien évidemment bénéficier de changements de politique permettant également de réduire l'excédent de la balance de compte courant. Mais ces ajustements n'ont de sens que s'ils sont le résultat d'un raisonnement sobre - conduit par des dirigeants qui acceptent le caractère mutuellement bénéfique du commerce international, qui permettent à l'ajustement économique de se produire au fil du temps et qui rejettent l'illusion selon laquelle une économie s'apparente à une grande entreprise.

Le commerce international n'est pas un jeu à somme nulle. Un déficit du compte courant n'est pas une simple indication d'une « mauvaise affaire » et un excédent n'est pas nécessairement un motif de réjouissances. Au lieu de cela, ils sont le résultat d'une myriade de contrats privés, dont les parties concernées s'attendent à récolter les bénéfices.

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