Paul Lachine

L'Amérique est-elle vraiment capitaliste ?

CAMBRIDGE – Si le socialisme est la frontière du capitalisme, le monde considère à juste titre les USA comme un pays hyper-capitaliste. On y compte peu d'entreprises publiques et si une nationalisation intervient, cela passe pour une aberration (cela fut le cas lorsque l'Etat a pratiquement nationalisé General Motors et Chrysler il y a quelques années et dont il cherche maintenant à se débarrasser). L'Etat intervient moins dans l'économie que dans la plupart des autres pays avancés et des programmes sociaux de première importance comme l'assurance-maladie universelle ne font pas encore tout à fait partie de la "normalité".

Mais ce ne sont pas les seules dimensions à considérer pour juger du degré de capitalisme des  USA. Examinons à quel point le capital - autrement dit les actionnaires - régit les grandes entreprises : s'il y a conflit entre les intérêts du capital et ceux des dirigeants, qui l'emporte ?

Vu de cette façon, le capitalisme américain devient plus ambigu. Car la législation américaine donne davantage de pouvoirs aux dirigeants et aux administrateurs qu'aux actionnaires. Ces derniers n'ont pas autorité pour exiger du conseil d'administration qu'il emprunte de l'argent, étende l'activité de l'entreprise ou ferme une usine peu rentable. La loi est claire : c'est le conseil d'administration et non les actionnaires qui dirigent l'entreprise.

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