La politique industrielle renait de ses cendres

PALO ALTO – Redonner vie à la « politique industrielle » fut l’une des pires réponses que les responsables politiques ont donné à la crise financière et à la profonde récession. Une fois de plus, les gouvernements préfèrent recourir aux subventions, aux mandats, aux règlementations et à l’investissement de capital afin de déterminer quels seront les industriels gagnants et lesquels seront perdants plutôt que d’adopter une approche plus large et plus équitable.

Ils sont nombreux à se pourvoir d’une politique industrielle : des économies développées comme les Etats-Unis et la Grande Bretagne, qui ont pourtant longtemps résisté à ses pires excès ; mais aussi la France, qui fait depuis longtemps la promotion de ses propres « champions » nationaux ainsi que les économies émergentes comme le Brésil et la Chine. Le président français, François Sarkozy prévoit par exemple un grand emprunt de 52 milliards d’euros pour soutenir des industries qui, selon l’analyse de son gouvernement, seront des « industries de croissance ». Même les banques centrales, surtout la Réserve Fédérale américaine, ont apporté leur soutien à certaines entreprises et types d’actifs du fait de la crise financière.

Les politiques industrielles sont très utiles aux politiques qui peuvent ainsi favoriser certaines catégories sous couvert de soutenir l’ensemble de l’économie. Mais les conséquences sont en général plus préjudiciables que bénéfiques.

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