Paul Lachine

Le progrès technique synonyme d'inégalité ?

CAMBRIDGE – Jusqu'à présent, le progrès technique incessant et la marche en avant de la mondialisation ont profité à la main d'ouvre qualifiée, creusant un peu partout les inégalités de revenu et de richesse. Cela va-t-il se terminer par un renouveau de la lutte des classes, avec l'arrivée au pouvoir de gouvernements populistes qui favoriseront au maximum la redistribution des revenus et exerceront un plus grand contrôle sur l'économie ?

Les inégalités de revenus constituent la plus grande menace à l'égard de la stabilité sociale partout dans le monde, qu'il s'agisse des USA, de la périphérie de l'Europe ou de la Chine. Il est facile d'oublier que les forces du marché, si on les laisse agir, peuvent en fin de compte exercer un rôle stabilisateur. Dit simplement, plus le salaire des travailleurs qualifiés est élevé, plus les entreprises cherchent le moyen de réduire leur embauche.

Le monde des échecs qui m'est familier montre parfaitement que l'innovation aura sans doute dans les décennies à venir un impact très différent sur l'échelle des salaires que lors des 30 dernières années. A la fin du 18° siècle et au début du 19° siècle, une invention brillante, un automate joueur d'échec, le Turc, fit le tour des capitales de la planète. Il remportait des parties contre des personnages aussi célèbres que Napoléon ou Benjamin Franklin, et représentait un défi pour ceux des grands esprits qui essayaient d'en pénétrer le secret. En réalité, camouflé par toute une mécanique impressionnante, un joueur humain était caché dans un compartiment secret à l'intérieur du meuble qui le supportait. Tout cela était tellement bien conçu qu'il a fallu des dizaines d'années pour que l'on perce le mystère du Turc joueur d'échec.

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