Humpty Dumpty et les déséquilibres financiers mondiaux

WASHINGTON DC. Selon un vieil adage : “pour celui qui n’a qu’un marteau, tout ressemble à un clou.” Ce dicton ne se vérifie jamais aussi bien que dans les discussions sur le déficit commercial des États-Unis et les déséquilibres financiers mondiaux, étant donné la tendance des économistes à réduire la plupart des problèmes économiques à des questions d’épargne. Malheureusement, cette obsession de l’épargne déforme les raisonnements et détourne du véritable défi qui consiste à créer des marchés de consommation de masse dans les pays en développement.

Dans les comptabilités nationales, le déficit commercial représente l’excès de consommation d’un pays par rapport à sa production. Du point de vue d’un comptable, il est logique de qualifier les déficits commerciaux d’épargne négative.

La plupart des économistes vont plus loin, en affirmant que le déficit des États-Unis est provoqué par une pénurie d’épargne. Mais étant donné que le déficit commercial d’un pays est le surplus d’un autre, Ben Bernanke, président de la Réserve fédérale, a fait en sorte de prendre la logique conventionnelle à contre-pied : plutôt qu’une pénurie d’épargne, le déficit commercial des États-Unis serait provoqué par un excès d’épargne mondial, tout particulièrement en Chine.

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