Les idées l’emportent sur les intérêts

CAMBRIDGE – La théorie politique la plus largement accréditée est aussi la plus simple des théories: les puissants dicteraient leurs volontés. Les règlements financiers seraient déterminés par l’intérêt des banques, la politique de santé, par l’intérêt des compagnies d’assurance et la politique fiscale, par l’intérêt des riches. Ceux qui jouissent de la plus grande influence sur les Etats – soit qu’ils en contrôlent le revenu, l’information, l’accès, soit tout simplement qu’ils constituent une menace de violence – finiraient toujours par avoir gain de cause.

Il en irait ainsi d’un bout à l’autre de la planète. La politique étrangère dépendrait, dit-on, d’abord et avant tout d’intérêts nationaux – et non d’affinités entre nations ou du bien de la communauté internationale. Il serait impossible de conclure des accords internationaux, à moins qu’ils ne coïncident avec les intérêts des Etats-Unis et, de plus en plus, avec ceux des autres grandes puissances émergentes. La politique des régimes autoritaires serait l’expression directe des intérêts des chefs et de leurs cliques.

Cette façon de présenter les choses ne manque pas d’attrait; elle permet d’expliquer aisément la politique et ses effets pervers. Qu’il s’agisse des démocraties, des dictatures ou de l’arène internationale, ces effets résulteraient de la faculté qu’ont les intérêts particuliers de nuire au plus grand nombre.

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