Anatomie d'un crash

Le progrès économique n'est pas seulement affaire de marché ou d'innovation technologique. Quand la structure économique change, la politique économique doit aussi changer, sinon le développement risque d'être entravé.

Ainsi, la révolution agricole en Angleterre au 18° siècle a permis la révolution industrielle qui allait suivre. Le mouvement en faveur de la clôture des terres, s'il a mis fin à un droit coutumier (au prix de beaucoup de souffrances), a aussi permis aux propriétaires terriens d'expérimenter des techniques plus rentables. Si les institutions et les lois n'avaient pas bougé, cette évolution économique n'aurait sans doute pas vu le jour.

On peut aussi considérer les USA à la fin du 19° siècle, "le creuset où se forge l'avenir", ainsi que le disait Trotski. L'apparition de la production de masse, des grandes entreprises, d'un marché à l'échelle d'un continent et de l'électricité n'aurait pas eu lieu sans les transformations institutionnelles et les modifications juridiques qui ont accompagné l'évolution économique. La primauté du droit fédéral sur celui des Etats a permis l'apparition d'un marché unique. Sans une refonte de la législation, les sociétés à responsabilité limitée (indispensables pour réunir des capitaux importants) n'auraient pas vu le jour. Grâce aux lois antitrusts, les colossales économies d'échelle réalisées par les grosses entreprises ne se sont pas faites au prix de l'élimination de la concurrence.

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