La fausse promesse de stabilité

La France a désormais rejoint le Portugal et l'Allemagne en brandissant le Pacte de stabilité, l'accord conclu entre les membres de la zone euro pour garder leur déficit au-dessous d'un seuil critique (3 % du PNB aujourd'hui, mais probablement à un seuil inférieur dans le futur). Pierre Raffarin, le premier ministre français, a défendu la position de son gouvernement en déclarant que la France n'était pas prête à imposer une certaine austérité à son peuple.

Monsieur Raffarin avait raison de dire que l'austérité s'ensuivrait si la France obéissait aux restrictions du Pacte mais dans les débats sur la politique économique, la vérité est rarement appréciée. Il est parfois préférable de laisser les universitaires énoncer la vérité car leurs querelles rendent difficile de discerner qui a raison de qui a tort. Quelques années auparavant, Alan Blinder, alors vice président du Bureau de la réserve fédérale, a été condamné pour avoir déclaré ouvertement que la politique monétaire devrait cibler non seulement l'inflation, mais également le chômage, et que, au moins dans le court terme, les deux pourraient trouver un compromis.

Il existe une longue liste de sermons de banquiers centraux, qui ne sont pas censés être remis en question ; si vous le faites, vous êtes exilé du petit cercle de ceux qui savent soi-disant comment le monde fonctionne « vraiment ». Voici trois de ces sermons :

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  1. An employee works at a chemical fiber weaving company VCG/Getty Images

    China in the Lead?

    For four decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth under a centralized, authoritarian political system, far outpacing growth in the Western liberal democracies. So, is Chinese President Xi Jinping right to double down on authoritarianism, and is the “China model” truly a viable rival to Western-style democratic capitalism?

  2. The assembly line at Ford Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

    The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

  3. Donald Trump Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    The Globalization of Our Discontent

    Globalization, which was supposed to benefit developed and developing countries alike, is now reviled almost everywhere, as the political backlash in Europe and the US has shown. The challenge is to minimize the risk that the backlash will intensify, and that starts by understanding – and avoiding – past mistakes.

  4. A general view of the Corn Market in the City of Manchester Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    A Better British Story

    Despite all of the doom and gloom over the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union, key manufacturing indicators are at their highest levels in four years, and the mood for investment may be improving. While parts of the UK are certainly weakening economically, others may finally be overcoming longstanding challenges.

  5. UK supermarket Waring Abbott/Getty Images

    The UK’s Multilateral Trade Future

    With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains – and that means adopting a multilateral approach.

  6. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

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