Ressusciter les « esprits animaux »

NEW HAVEN – Le principal problème économique actuel est celui d’une perte totale de confiance de tous les acteurs économiques. Les banques commerciales et d’investissements, et les fonds spéculatifs peuvent tous imputer leurs problèmes à sa disparition, disparition qui à son tour compromet les projets de création d’entreprises ou d’investissements et plombe la consommation des ménages.

Nos « esprits animaux », pour reprendre un terme rendu célèbre par l’économiste John Maynard Keynes pour décrire une forme particulière de confiance ou  d’optimisme naïf, se sont affaiblis. George Akerlof et moi-même avons dernièrement écrit un livre portant ce titre, mais lorsque Animal Spirits paraîtra cet hiver, il est probable que l’économie mondiale sera dans un pire état qu’elle ne l’est aujourd’hui.

Dans tous les pays, les gouvernements commencent à mettre en œuvre des mesures incitatives et des plans de renflouage, sans pour autant influer sur les perspectives économiques qui restent toujours aussi moroses. Les dernières estimations du FMI prévoient que les économies avancées connaîtront une contraction de 0,3 pour cent de leur PIB en 2009 – la première baisse de ce type depuis la fin de la Seconde guerre mondiale.

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