Quel remède pour la France ?

PARIS – Un peu partout dans le monde on considère la France comme un pays qui ne parvient pas à tirer parti de la mondialisation et à moderniser son modèle économique et social. Les Français sont plus pessimistes quant à leur avenir qu'ils ne l'ont jamais été depuis des décennies. La question est de savoir s'ils peuvent trouver la voie pour s'en sortir, échapper à la morosité, et retrouver la prospérité.

Il faut commencer par un diagnostic lucide. Comparée aux pays qui avaient un niveau de développement similaire il y a 25 ans, la France réussit moins bien sur le plan économique. L'écart n'est pas dramatique (6 points de pourcentage du PIB par habitant), mais cette tendance est suffisamment marquée pour appeler un redressement. Le chômage reste à un niveau inacceptable. Et si le résultat de la France est meilleur pour d'autres indicateurs touchant à la santé, aux inégalités de revenus et à la lutte contre la pauvreté, la contrepartie en est une progression soutenue des dépenses publiques et de la dette.

Cette situation ne tient pas à un potentiel économique insuffisant. La France a certainement des faiblesses - un nombre relativement limité d'entreprises de taille intermédiaire, des relations de travail souvent conflictuelles, et des inefficacités dans la dépense publique, pour citer les principales. Mais elle a aussi des atouts : une population active bien mieux éduquée qu'il y a 25 ans, une population plus jeune que celle de la plupart des pays voisins, davantage de grandes entreprises multinationales qu'en Allemagne ou au Royaume-Uni, et d'excellentes infrastructures. Le bilan des atouts et des faiblesses ne justifie pas le pessimisme actuel.

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