Affamer le calmar

BERKELEY – Le secteur financier des États-Unis est-il en train de rendre exsangue l’économie réelle? L’article mémorable du journaliste Matt Taibbi en 2009 décrivant Goldman Sachs comme « un gigantesque calmar vampire collé au visage de l’humanité, ne manquant pas d’étirer ses tentacules sur tout ce qui a odeur d’argent » marque encore les esprits, et pour cause.

En 2011, je faisais remarquer que le secteur de la finance et de l’assurance aux États-Unis comptait pour 2,8 % du PIB en 1950 par rapport à 8,4 % du PIB trois ans après la pire crise financière en presque 80 ans. « Si les États-Unis ont vraiment profité de ces… 750 $ milliards supplémentaires détournés annuellement des secteurs qui paient des gens qui participent directement à la fabrication de biens utiles et à la prestation de services utiles, cela paraîtrait dans les statistiques économiques ».

Mon argument était qu’un tel détournement massif de ressources « du secteur des biens et services prêts à être utilisés dans l’année n’était une bonne affaire que si la croissance économique globale gagnait 0,3 % par an – ou 6 % par génération de 25 ans ». En d’autres termes, le transfert de ressources n’est avantageux que si collectivement il amène une prime substantielle, ce que les financiers appellent le coefficient « alpha ».

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