Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Les coûts inévitables de l'argent hélicoptère

MUNICH – La discussion au long cours au sujet de l'opportunité de ce que l'on appelle l'argent hélicoptère s'est transformée, car de nouvelles idées émergent au sujet de la forme qu'il pourrait prendre - et des questions surgissent pour savoir si certaines économies y ont déjà eu recours. Ce qui n'a pas changé, c'est qu'adopter l'argent hélicoptère reste une très mauvaise idée.

Selon l'opinion commune, l'argent hélicoptère désigne l'argent liquide nouvellement imprimé émis par une banque centrale, sans capitaux ni créances correspondantes sur son bilan. Il peut prendre la forme de transferts publics d'argent liquide, ou encore de monétisation de la dette publique. Dans les deux cas, c'est une perte définitive pour la banque centrale.

Dans la pratique, l'argent hélicoptère ressemble beaucoup à un assouplissement quantitatif : des achats par les banques centrales de titres d'État sur les marchés secondaires pour injecter de la liquidité dans le système bancaire. La version argent hélicoptère consiste quant à elle à acheter des titres d'État à taux d'intérêt zéro et qui ne seront pas remboursés, soit parce qu'ils sont des obligations perpétuelles, soit parce qu'ils sont refinancés à chaque fois qu'ils arrivent à échéance.

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