L’Inde ou la Chine ?

NEW DELHI – A l’occasion de sa visite en Inde en novembre, le président américain Barack Obama a félicité ses dirigeants pour le succès grandissant et les prouesses de son économie et une question tacite revint sur toutes les lèvres : la Chine va-t-elle indéfiniment progresser plus vite que l’Inde, ou cette dernière va-t-elle la dépasser rapidement ?

Cette rivalité remonte en fait à 1947, lorsque l’Inde, devenue indépendante, avait fait de la démocratie sa caractéristique emblématique, tandis que la Chine se tournait vers le communisme avec le succès de Mao Tsé-toung à la suite de la Longue Marche. Ces deux pays, les « géants assoupis », allaient devoir se réveiller de leur lourd sommeil à un moment ou à un autre. Mais, dans la mesure où le modèle de croissance en vogue à l’époque mettait l’emphase principalement sur l’accumulation de capital, la Chine semblait avoir d’emblée un avantage parce qu’elle pouvait élever son taux d’investissement plus fortement que l’Inde, où l’envergure de la politique fiscale imposée à la population pour augmenter l’épargne intérieure était contrainte par la démocratie.

Mais les deux géants sont cependant restés assoupis – jusque dans les années 80 pour la Chine, et jusqu’au début des années 90 pour l’Inde – principalement parce que les deux pays avaient adopté un cadre d’action contre-productif qui bridait la productivité de leurs efforts d’investissement.

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