Keynes contre les classiques: deuxième round

LONDRES – L’économiste John Maynard Keynes a écrit La théorie générale de l’emploi, l’intérêt et la monnaie (1936) afin de « créer un débat autour des profondes divergences d’opinion opposant ses confrères économistes, lesquels ont actuellement enlevé à la théorie économique presque toute son influence … » Soixante dix ans plus tard, les plus éminents économistes continuent de débattre avec rage en des termes presque similaires à ceux utilisés dans les années 30.

La dernière affiche oppose le nouveau champion du keynésianisme Paul Krugman de l’université de Princeton au champion du Nouveau Classique John Cochrane de l’université de Chicago. Krugman a récemment publié un article intitulé « Comment les économistes ont-ils pu se tromper à ce point ? » « Rien dans les courants dominants de la pensée économique », écrit Krugman, « ne pouvait suggérer l’éventualité d’un effondrement de l’ampleur de celui survenu l’année dernière. »

La raison pour cela était que « les économistes, en tant que groupe, ont pris la beauté, emberlificotée dans des formules mathématiques impressionnantes, pour de la vérité. » Ils ont offert une « vision idéalisée de l’économie dans laquelle des individus rationnels interagissent dans des marchés parfaits. » Malheureusement, « cette vision aseptisée de l’économie a encouragé la plupart des économistes à ignorer le mal et le pire. » Les économistes  vont devoir accepter «  l’importance d’un comportement irrationnel et parfois imprévisible, faire face aux imperfections souvent très particulières des marchés et accepter que l’on est bien loin d’une théorie économique ‘du tout’,  aussi élégante soit-elle.

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