Les grandes illusions

Les politiciens sont souvent accusés de promettre ce qui ne peut pas être réalisé. En Argentine, les économistes convainquirent les politiciens de mettre en oeuvre deux rêves qui ne pouvaient pas être accomplis. Leur échec plongea le pays dans sa crise politique et financière la plus grave depuis des décennies. Le président Fernando de la Rúa fut renversé par des émeutes qui firent 29 morts. Les citoyens, confrontés à des salaires impayés, des comptes bancaires gelés et un chômage de 20 %, souffrent des conséquences de deux grandes illusions économiques.

La première concernait les pouvoirs supposés roboratifs d'un fonds monétaire. Appelons-la l'illusion de la baguette magique . Lorsqu'en 1991, l'Argentine lia le peso au dollar et empêcha sa banque centrale d'imprimer librement des pesos, le monde applaudit - à juste titre. La nouvelle politique mit fin à des décennies de forte inflation et de débauche monétaire. Mais le fonds monétaire n'était pas simplement un système monétaire ; il constituait également une stratégie de réforme. Cette ambition sonna le glas de l'Argentine.

Le pays n'avait procédé à aucune réforme - la théorie dominait - car le besoin ne s'était pas fait sentir. Si les syndicats surenchérissaient trop sur les salaires, une dévaluation pouvait résoudre le problème ; si les gouvernements provinciaux dépensaient un peu trop, une série rapide d'impressions de pesos sauvait la mise. L'inflation constituait la graisse qui avait permis de faire tourner les roues de la politique argentine.

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