Le plus gros absorbeur de choc au monde

MUNICH – Depuis l’automne dernier, nombre d’économistes anglo-américains, notamment le prix Nobel 2008 Paul Krugman, ont accusé l’Allemagne de ne pas en faire assez contre la crise économique mondiale et de profiter des programmes de relance des autres pays. The Financial Times s’est récemment demandé où se trouvaient les économistes allemands, défenseurs des politiques de leur pays, avançant l’hypothèse que ces derniers n’approuvent pas les mesures de leur gouvernement mais qu’ils sont trop timorés pour le reconnaître en public et se conforment ainsi au consensus, le rituel de la société allemande. Vue d’outre-Rhin, cette discussion est une grotesque inversion de la vérité.

L’Allemagne a mis en oeuvre deux programmes de relance économique, d’un total de 80 milliards d’euro (soit 3,2 % de son PIB) dont 1 % entrera en vigueur en 2009. De prime abord, c’est effectivement moins que le programme de relance américain qui s'élève à 6,2 % du PIB et dont 2 % seront dépensés en 2009. Mais cette vision est trompeuse, car l’état allemand, de par la souplesse intrinsèque de son vaste système de protection sociale, contribue déjà à stabiliser l’économie mondiale.

En effet, le généreux système d’assurance chômage allemand garantit que la population peut maintenir son niveau de consommation même en cas de perte d’emploi. L’Allemagne possède même un système d’allocation de chômage partiel permettant aux entreprises de réduire le temps de travail de leurs employés, le manque à gagner étant en partie couvert par l’état. Sans cette allocation, le nombre moyen de chômeurs en 2009 serait plus élevé de 300 000.

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