Le G20 hanté par le spectre des sommets d’antan

PRINCETON – Le monde est aujourd’hui confronté à une crise économique dramatique qui, pour de nombreux responsables politiques, est plus grave que la Grande Dépression des années 1930. Avant 2008, les experts s’accordaient pour dire qu’une nouvelle dépression de cette importance était impossible du fait de la force et de la profondeur des mécanismes collectifs mis en place à la fin de la Seconde guerre mondiale.

Le prochain sommet du G20 a ainsi fait naître l’espoir que l’internationalisme institutionnel soit une fois de plus capable de surmonter une multitude de problèmes. Malheureusement, du fait même de l’ampleur des attentes, la déception sera sans doute au rendez-vous.

Le choix du lieu de réunion a une dimension symbolique regrettable, parce qu’il évoque la principale tentative ratée de piloter l’économie mondiale au cours de la Grande Dépression. La Conférence économique mondiale de 1933 s’était également réunie à Londres, dans l’ancien musée de géologie, avec un nombre plus élevé encore de participants qu’aujourd’hui, venant de 66 pays. Les délégués au sommet de 2009 ne visiteront sans doute pas ce musée, mais ils seront confrontés au spectre des conférences passées, parce que l’échec de 1933 recèle des leçons importantes pour nos dirigeants actuels.

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