Businesspeople walking Leon Neal/Getty Images

Délivrés du populisme ?

CAMBRIDGE – Après neuf années éprouvantes de dégradation de leurs prévisions de PIB, les acteurs macroéconomiques du monde entier constatent avec incrédulité la réalité suivante : malgré une vague d’agitation politique engendrée par la montée du populisme, la croissance mondiale pour 2017 devrait surpasser toutes les attentes.

Et il n’est pas seulement question d’exceptionnalisme américain. Bien que la croissance des États-Unis soit très solide, l’Europe a encore davantage fait mentir les prévisions. Les nouvelles sont encore meilleures pour les marchés émergents qui, pourtant inquiets face à la perspective d’une hausse des taux d’intérêts par la Réserve fédérale américaine, bénéficient d’un contexte plus favorable auquel s’ajuster.

Les principales raisons de cette reprise globale sont relativement faciles à comprendre. Les crises financières profondes et systémiques conduisent à des récessions majeures et prolongées. Comme l’avions prédit Carmen Reinhart et moi-même il y a dix ans (et comme l’ont confirmé plusieurs autres universitaires sur la base de nos données), des périodes de 6 à 8 années de très lente croissance ne sont absolument pas inhabituelles dans de telles circonstances. De nombreux problèmes demeurent bien entendu, dont la fragilité des banques en Europe, le surendettement des gouvernements locaux en Chine, ou encore l’existence d’une réglementation financière inutilement complexe aux États-Unis. Pour autant, les graines d’une période durable de croissance plus solide semblent bel et bien plantées.

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