La carte joker de l’inégalité

DAVOS – Tandis que se déroulent les dramatiques évènements en Afrique du Nord, de nombreux observateurs extérieurs au monde arabe se disent complaisamment que tout cela se résume à des questions de corruption et de répression politique. Mais le chômage élevé, les inégalités flagrantes et l’explosion des prix des produits de bases sont aussi des facteurs de taille. Ces observateurs ne devraient donc pas uniquement se demander quelle sera l’ampleur de la contagion à travers la région; ils devraient aussi se demander quelles seraient les incidences de pressions économiques similaires, ou même moins extrêmes, si leurs propres pays y étaient confrontés.

Globalement, les inégalités de revenus, de richesse et d’opportunités sont sans conteste plus importantes aujourd’hui qu’elles ne l’ont jamais été au cours du siècle écoulé. A travers l’Europe, l’Asie et les Amériques, les entreprises débordent de liquidités, résultat de leurs efforts efficaces pour générer de considérables profits. Pourtant, la part du gâteau des travailleurs continue de fondre, résultat d’un chômage élevé, de la réduction des heures de travail et de la stagnation des salaires.

Paradoxalement, les indices de l’inégalité des revenus et de la richesse sont en fait un peu partout en baisse, grâce à la solide croissance persistante des marchés émergents. Mais la plupart des personnes se soucient bien plus de leur réussite par rapport à leurs voisins que par rapport à ceux qui vivent à l’autre bout de la terre.

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