Jeremy Corbyn looking out Jeremy Corbyn/Simon Jacobs/ZumaPress

Prenons au sérieux les propositions de Corbyn

LONDRES – L'austérité budgétaire est devenue une composante si essentielle de la croyance populaire britannique que quiconque ose s'y attaquer est rapidement dépeint comme un dangereux gauchiste. La plus récente victime de ce concert de médisance n'est autre que Jeremy Corbyn, actuel favori pour la prochaine présidence du Parti travailliste au Royaume-Uni. Or, bien que certaines positions de Corbyn soient indéfendables, ses remarques autour de la politique économique n'ont rien d'absurde, et mérite d'être examinées avec soin.

Corbyn propose deux alternatives à l'actuelle politique britannique d'austérité budgétaire : d'une part la mise en place d'une Banque nationale d'investissement, alimentée en capitaux via la suppression d'allégements fiscaux et autres subventions au secteur privé, et d'autre part ce qu'il qualifie d' « assouplissement quantitatif pour le peuple » – sorte de programme d'infrastructure que le gouvernement financerait en empruntant des fonds à la Banque d'Angleterre.

La première de ces alternatives n'a rien d'extrême, ni de nouveau. Il existe bel et bien une Banque européenne d'investissement, une Banque nordique d'investissement, et bien d'autres encore, toutes approvisionnées en capitaux par des États ou groupes d'États, dans le but de financer des projets mandatés en empruntant sur les marchés de capitaux. Le raisonnement à l'appui de ce type d'institutions est un dérivé de ce que le célèbre théoricien socialiste Adam Smith qualifiait de responsabilité de l'État consistant à « ériger et entretenir certains ouvrages publics et certaines institutions » qui, bien qu'extrêmement bénéfiques pour la société, ne soient pas au service des intérêts des entreprises privées.

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