L’angoisse de l’inflation

PRINCETON – Les banques centrales peuvent-elles contenir l’inflation ? On a cru à un moment qu’elles le pouvaient. Au cours des vingt dernières années, les banques centrales à travers le monde, la Réserve Fédérale américaine en tête, ont remarquablement bien réussi à stabiliser les prix. Pourtant, aujourd’hui, dans le sillage de la crise financière, une vague de méfiance traverse le monde – dont une crainte nouvelle et largement répandue concernant la capacité des banques centrales à contrôler l’inflation.

Aux Etats-Unis, le Tea Party a inclus dans son programme le retour à l’étalon-or et l’état de Utah discute la possibilité de donner cours légal à des pièces d’or et d’argent. Les craintes d’inflation ont poussé l’Allemagne à adopter une position beaucoup plus dure dans la négociation sur les remises de dette en Europe. En Chine, la peur de l’inflation est en train de déclencher un large mécontentement au sein de la population.

La peur de l’inflation était déjà présente avant que les nouveaux défis de 2011 ne génèrent des interrogations concernant les prix de l’énergie à long terme. Alors que les protestations pro-démocratiques secouent les régimes arabes autoritaires, la perspective d’un long conflit menace une économie globale toujours dépendante du pétrole. Et après le tremblement de terre et l’accident nucléaire au Japon, de nombreux doutes apparaissent quant à la sûreté de l’énergie nucléaire.

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