Quelle place donner à la lutte contre l'inflation ?

BERKELEY – La Fed (la Réserve fédérale américaine) et les autres banques centrales sont soumises actuellement à des pressions qui s'exercent dans des directions opposées. La gauche veut qu'elles interviennent pour augmenter la demande et contenir le chômage, tandis que la droite veut qu'elles limitent la demande afin de contenir l'inflation.

Cette situation est propre à engendrer des problèmes, car l'une de deux propositions est mauvaise. Si c'est l'insuffisance de la demande mondiale qui est le problème majeur, en augmentant les taux d'intérêt, les banques centrales risquent de provoquer une dépression. Si c'est l'inflation qui est le problème majeur, en ne les élevant pas, elles risquent de provoquer une hausse des prix, ce qui attisera les prévisions inflationnistes et conduira à une spirale infernale de hausse des prix et des salaires comme celle de 1970, ce qui ne peut déboucher que sur une grosse dépression.

Je pense que cette fois-ci la gauche a raison, en tout cas en ce qui concerne les pays post-industriels de l'hémisphère Nord. Le taux d'inflation global est le seul indicateur quant à  une hausse dangereuse de l'inflation, où même de sa réalité. L'indice américain du coût de l'emploi et les autres indicateurs de croissance nominale des salaires des pays développés ne montrent pas de signe d'accélération. Et il en est de même des indicateurs d'inflation sous-jacente.

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