Paul Lachine

Déséquilibres globaux et inégalités intérieures

WASHINGTON – Malgré des années de discours officiels, en 2011 les déséquilibres globaux des comptes courants sont restés l'une des principales préoccupations concernant l'économie. Dans l'ensemble ils sont moins importants qu'avant la crise, mais ils n'ont pas disparu. Certains recommencent maintenant à croître parallèlement aux inégalités dans de nombreux pays. Cette corrélation n'a rien d'accidentelle.

On entend souvent des appels à un rééquilibrage global qui prendrait la forme d'une stimulation de leur consommation interne par les pays émergents dont la balance des paiements est excédentaire (essentiellement la Chine), de telle sorte que les pays avancés (essentiellement les USA) pourraient réduire leur déficit et leur dette publique dans un contexte moins menaçant pour leur redémarrage économique. La baisse de la demande publique aux USA et dans les autres pays fortement endettés qui doivent resserrer leur politique budgétaire serait en partie compensée par le supplément de la demande extérieure nette dû à une réduction de l'excédent de la balance des paiements des pays étrangers.

Néanmoins les comptes courants ne sont pas systématiquement déficitaires dans les pays avancés et excédentaires dans les pays émergents. Beaucoup de ces derniers, notamment l'Inde, l'Afrique du Sud et la Turquie, connaissent en fait un déficit, tandis que nombre de pays avancés connaissent un excédent : on évoque souvent l'Allemagne depuis le début de la crise de la zone euro, mais le Japon, la Hollande, la Norvège et la Suède sont aussi excédentaires.

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