Le va-et-vient de l’économie politique

PRINCETON – Tout au long du siècle dernier, le débat politico-économique a tourné autour des vertus et des rôles respectifs de l'État et du marché. Le marché contrôle-t-il l'État, dans la mesure où il pose une limite à la capacité d'emprunt des gouvernements ? Ou existe-t-il une responsabilité de l'État dans la prise en charge des affaires lorsque les marchés échouent à exercer les fonctions sociales nécessaires – telles que le départ en guerre ou le maintien du plein-emploi ?

Ce débat se situe au cœur des désaccords qui divisent aujourd’hui profondément l’Europe sur la question de savoir comment agir face à la crise de la dette. Cette même question sème la discorde dans le monde politique américain à l’approche des élections présidentielles et législatives de novembre.

Au cours des vingt années qui ont précédé la crise financière, la plupart d’entre nous – ainsi qu’une majorité de politiciens – considéraient qu’il existait une suprématie du marché. Aujourd’hui, il semble que la balance intellectuelle penche désormais en faveur d’une opinion selon laquelle l’action de l’État permettrait de réparer les dégâts causés par les marchés – de même qu’avait été observée une certaine vénération de l’État dans les années 1930 consécutivement au culte des marchés qui avait régné pendant les années 1920.

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