La fin du triomphalisme financier ?

CAMBRIDGE –L'extension de la crise financière mondiale marque-t-elle la fin du triomphalisme financier ? Demandez à l'homme de la rue de citer les 10 plus grandes innovations du monde actuel, vous n'entendrez sans doute pas souvent mentionner la formule de Black-Scholes qui permet d'évaluer le prix d'une option. Mais pour la communauté financière, les formules innovantes qui ont ouvert la voie aux stratégies modernes de couverture des risques ont autant de valeur pour la période de rapide croissance que nous venons de connaître, que les téléphones portables, les ordinateurs ou Internet.

Pendant ces 12 derniers mois, les défenseurs de la finance avaient la partie facile. En aidant à répartir les risques, les techniques financières sophistiquées favorisaient la croissance économique. Les macroéconomistes célébraient la "grande modération" du cycle mondial des affaires, les récessions paraissant moins brutales et moins fréquentes. Et la communauté financière faisait tant et plus d'argent, créant des régiments de millionnaires et même de milliardaires à travers le monde.

Les gouvernements applaudissaient eux aussi. Dans les pays anglophones, les présidents et les Premiers ministres, pour ne pas mentionner certains dirigeants importants de banques centrales, se félicitaient de la supériorité d'un système financier qui suscitait l'envie du reste du monde. Quand les dirigeants français et allemands se sont plaints des pieuvres de la nouvelle finance qui peuvent étendre librement leurs tentacules en faisant courir des risques énormes à l'économie mondiale, ils ont été raillés comme mauvais perdants. Des petits pays comme l'Islande ont décidé de réagir en privatisant leurs banques et en établissant leurs propres centres financiers. Si l'on ne peut pas être la Silicon Valley, pourquoi ne pas créer un mini Wall Street ?

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