Scaffolding on building.

Le mirage des réformes structurelles

ATHENES – Chaque programme économique imposé à la Grèce par ses créanciers depuis que la crise financière a frappé en 2009 s'est maintenu autour d'une prétention centrale : que les réformes structurelles, conçues et mises en œuvre avec audace sans écart, allaient entraîner une reprise économique rapide. La Commission européenne, la Banque centrale européenne et le Fonds Monétaire International avaient prévu que l'austérité budgétaire serait coûteuse en revenus et en emploi : ces instituions ont toutefois considérablement sous-estimé à quel point cette austérité serait coûteuse. Mais elles ont fait valoir que des réformes favorables au marché, longtemps retardées (et indispensables) se traduiraient par une hausse compensatoire de l'économie grecque.

Toute évaluation sérieuse des résultats réels obtenus par les réformes structurelles de par le monde (en particulier en Amérique latine et en Europe de l'Est depuis 1990), aurait tempéré l'enthousiasme de ces attentes. La privatisation, la déréglementation et la libéralisation produisent généralement au mieux la croissance à plus long terme, avec des effets à court terme souvent négatifs.

Cela ne veut pas dire que les gouvernements ne savent pas planifier des décollages rapides de la croissance. En fait, de telles accélérations de croissance sont assez courantes de par le monde. Mais elles sont associées à la suppression plus ciblée et plus sélective des principaux obstacles, plutôt qu'à la large libéralisation et à des efforts de réforme à l'échelle de l'économie.

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