Paul Lachine

Repenser l'impératif de croissance

CAMBRIDGE - La macro-économie moderne semble souvent traiter la croissance économique rapide et stable comme la panacée en matière politique. Ce message trouve un écho dans les discussions politiques, dans les salles du conseil des banques centrales et dans les gros titres à la une des journaux. Mais est-il vraiment rationnel de considérer indéfiniment la croissance comme l'objectif social principal, comme semblent le dire implicitement les manuels de sciences économiques ?

Certainement, de nombreuses critiques des statistiques économiques standards ont plaidé pour de plus larges mesures en faveur du bien-être national, telles que l'espérance de vie à la naissance, l'alphabétisation, etc. De telles évaluations incluent le rapport d’enquête de l’Indice de Développement Humain des Nations Unies, et plus récemment, la Commission sur la Mesure de la Performance Economique et du Progrès Social organisée par la France, sous la direction des économistes Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen et Jean-Paul Fitoussi.

Mais il pourrait y avoir un problème encore plus profond que l'étroitesse du champ couvert par l'analyse statistique : le manque d'une théorie moderne de la croissance pour souligner en juste proportion que les hommes sont des êtres fondamentalement sociaux. Ils évaluent leur bien-être d'après ce qu'ils voient autour d'eux et non pas simplement selon une certaine norme absolue.

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