Trop d’épargne, pas assez d’investissement

Les discussions sur l’épargne mondiale abondent. Mais en réalité, l’économie mondiale ne souffre pas d’un excès d’épargne mais d’un investissement insuffisant. Pour y remédier, deux types d’évolution sont nécessaires. La manière dont le monde va y faire face va déterminer dans quelle mesure la croissance mondiale à laquelle nous assistons ces dernières années va se poursuivre. C’est là le message central du prochain numéro de World Economic Outlook [Perspectives de l’économie mondiale] publié ce mercredi 21 septembre par le FMI (Fond monétaire international), à la veille de sa réunion annuelle.

Première type d’évolution : la consommation doit progressivement faire place à l’investissement, tandis que les capacités de production en excès issues du passé doivent être éliminées et que la politique expansionniste doit être normalisée dans les pays industriels. Deuxième type d’évolution : pour réduire les déficits des comptes courants qui se sont creusés, la demande doit se déplacer des pays qui connaissent des déficits à ceux qui connaissent des excédents. Dans ce cadre, une hausse du prix du pétrole doit se traduire par une hausse de la consommation dans les pays producteurs et une baisse dans les pays importateurs de pétrole.

La situation actuelle est due à la série de crises causées par un surinvestissement lors de la dernière décennie, notamment l’éclatement de la bulle des actifs au Japon, les crises dans les économies émergentes d’Asie et d’Amérique latine et l’éclatement de la bulle Internet dans les pays industrialisés. L’investissement a alors chuté, pour ne connaître ensuite qu’une modeste reprise.

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