Paul Lachine

Un creux de la vague de sept ans

PRINCETON – Il existe des précédents historiques au défaut de paiement éventuel des États souverains de la périphérie sud de l’Europe, mais ce ne sont pas les exemples les plus séduisants. Résoudre des problèmes qui paraissent insolubles prend du temps. Et il est difficile – en particulier dans une démocratie – d’être patient.

Le parallèle le plus évident aux difficultés actuelles de l’Europe est celui de la crise de la dette latino-américaine des années 1980. En août 1982, le Mexique a menacé de faire défaut et a rapidement été suivi d’autres pays débiteurs importants, dont l’Argentine et le Brésil. Une contagion du défaut de paiement aurait coulé les systèmes bancaires des principaux pays industrialisés, et fait connaître au monde une crise financière similaire à celle de la Grande dépression.

Les tractations des sept ans années suivantes eurent essentiellement pour objectif de gagner du temps. L’approche initiale fut d’associer une amélioration des politiques économiques des pays emprunteurs à non seulement une aide des institutions internationales, mais également à des prêts supplémentaires des banques – une mesure qui semblait contraire à l’orthodoxie bancaire la plus élémentaire.

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