Des déséquilibres mondiaux sans douleur

CAMBRIDGE – Les médecins savent depuis longtemps que ce n’est pas seulement la quantité, mais également la qualité des aliments ingérés qui influent sur la santé. De même, les économistes ont depuis longtemps remarqué qu’il existe une grande différence, pour les pays qui se nourrissent d’influx de capitaux, entre des titres de créance et des titres donnant accès au capital, que ce soit par des actions ou des investissements directs étrangers.

Maintenant que les politiciens et les experts s’élèvent contre les déséquilibres commerciaux mondiaux trop importants, il est nécessaire de voir que les véritables problèmes trouvent leur origine dans des concentrations excessives d’endettement. Si les gouvernements du G20 prenaient un peu de recul et se demandaient comment canaliser une bien plus grande partie de ces déséquilibres en des titres donnant accès au capital, le système financier mondial qui en résulterait serait sans doute nettement plus solide que le système actuel, sujet à des crises à répétition.

Nous sommes malheureusement loin d’un monde idéal dans lequel les marchés financiers  partageraient efficacement les risques. Sur les quelques 200.000 milliards de dollars d’actifs financiers en circulation, près des trois-quarts se présentent sous forme de titres de créance, dont les prêts bancaires, les obligations d’entreprise et les obligations d’État. Les marchés dérivés permettent bien sûr de répartir davantage les risques que ne le laisse entendre la l’énumération ci-dessus, mais l’argument reste valable.

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