Paul Lachine

La pensée plutôt que les marchés

MILAN – Au cours des 66 années écoulées depuis la fin de la Seconde guerre mondiale, pratiquement toutes les économies planifiées ont disparu, en grande partie à cause de leur faible croissance et de leur inefficacité. Aujourd’hui, les marchés, les signaux de prix, la décentralisation, les incitations et l’exigence d’un retour sur investissement caractérisent presque partout l’allocation des ressources.

Ce n’est pas parce que les marchés sont moralement supérieurs, même s’ils nécessitent une liberté de choix pour fonctionner efficacement. Les marchés sont des outils qui, comparés aux alternatives, se trouvent avoir des avantages certains en termes d’incitations, d’efficacité et d’innovation. Mais ils ne sont pas parfaits ; leur performance est moindre face à des externalités (les conséquences non tarifées des actions individuelles – la pollution de l’air, par exemple), face aux lacunes et asymétries informationnelles et aux problèmes de coordination lorsque se présentent plusieurs formes d’équilibre, certaines supérieures à d’autres.

Les marchés ont également des faiblesses plus fondamentales. Ou, plus exactement, la plupart des sociétés ont des objectifs économiques et sociaux que les marchés ne sont pas destinés à remplir. Dans le monde actuel, de plus en plus globalisé, les objectifs les plus importants – formulés de diverses manières par le biais de multiples processus politiques et décisionnaires dans un large éventail de pays – sont la stabilité, la répartition équitable des biens et la durabilité.

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