Jon Krause

Le paradis perdu du plein-emploi pour tous

LONDRES – Alors que les citoyens des pays développés se demandent aujourd’hui comment leurs pays retrouveront un jour le plein emploi après la Grande récession, il pourrait être utile de se pencher à nouveau sur l’essai visionnaire écrit par John Maynard Keynes en 1930, intitulé Perspectives économiques pour nos petits-enfants.

La Théorie générale de l'emploi, de l'intérêt et de la monnaie de Keynes, parue en 1936, a donné aux gouvernements les outils intellectuels pour lutter contre le chômage dû au ralentissement économique. Dans l’essai précédent, Keynes faisait toutefois une distinction entre le chômage lié à un effondrement temporaire de l’économie et ce qu’il a qualifié de « chômage technologique », c’est-à-dire « le chômage causé par la découverte de procédés nouveaux qui économisent la main-d’œuvre alors que la découverte de nouveaux débouchés pour celle-ci s’avère un peu plus lente ».

Keynes estimait que cette forme de chômage serait plus fréquente à l’avenir. Mais son apparition, pensait-il, serait davantage une raison de se réjouir que de se lamenter. Elle montrerait que le monde développé était enfin en voie de résoudre le « problème économique » - le problème de la pénurie qui maintient l’humanité asservie à une vie de dur labeur.

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