Sommes-nous devenus trop flexibles ?

LONDRES – A l’entame de 2015, l’insuffisance de la demande mondiale et les risques de déflation dans les grandes économies de la planète sont nettement apparents. Dans la zone euro, la croissance du PIB ralentit et l'inflation est devenue négative. Les progrès du Japon en direction de sa cible d'inflation de 2% sont au point mort. Même les économies qui connaissent une croissance économique plus robuste vont manquer leurs objectifs : l'inflation aux États-Unis n’atteindra pas 1,5% cette année et en Chine le taux a atteint en novembre dernier son niveau le plus bas en cinq ans, à 1,4%.

Dans les économies avancées, la faible inflation ne reflète pas seulement l'impact temporaire de la baisse des prix des matières premières, mais aussi la stagnation des salaires à plus long terme. Aux États-Unis, au Royaume-Uni, au Japon et dans plusieurs pays de la zone euro, les salaires réels (corrigés de l'inflation) médians restent en dessous de leurs niveaux de 2007. En fait, aux États-Unis, les salaires réels pour le quartile inférieur n’ont pas augmenté depuis trois décennies. Et, bien que les États-Unis aient créé 295 000 nouveaux emplois en décembre dernier, les salaires en espèces ont diminué.

Le monde en développement ne fait pas beaucoup mieux. Comme le dernier Rapport mondial sur les salaires de l'Organisation internationale du Travail le montre, les gains de salaires demeurent largement inférieurs à la croissance de la productivité.

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