La répression financière à la mode américaine

HONG KONG – Une génération d'économistes du développement doit beaucoup à Ronald McKinnon, décédé début octobre, pour son idée présentée dans son livre de 1973 Monnaie et finance dans l'échange international (Money and Capital in Economic Development), selon laquelle les gouvernements qui prennent des mesures de répression financière (acheminement de fonds vers eux-mêmes pour réduire leur dette) entravent le développement financier. En effet, McKinnon a fourni la raison qui explique pourquoi les secteurs financiers des économies émergentes étaient sous-développés.

À la fin de sa vie, McKinnon travaillait sur un concept apparenté et lui aussi potentiellement révolutionnaire : un étalon dollar-renminbi. À son avis, un tel système pouvait permettre d'atténuer la répression financière et la fragmentation qui porte atteinte à la stabilité financière mondiale et à la croissance. La question est de savoir si les pouvoirs en place (en particulier les États-Unis, qui ont longtemps bénéficié de la domination mondiale du dollar) peuvent accepter un tel système coopératif.

L'idée que la domination mondiale du dollar contribue à la répression financière représente un changement historique important. Comme l'a fait remarquer McKinnon, le dollar est devenu une monnaie internationale dominante après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, car il a permis de réduire la répression financière et la fragmentation en Europe et en Asie, aux prises avec une forte inflation, les taux d'intérêt réels négatifs et la réglementation excessive. En utilisant le dollar pour fixer les prix et les taux d'intérêt de la Réserve fédérale comme référence au coût du capital, la facturation, les paiements, la compensation, la liquidité et les réserves des banques centrales ont alors acquis une meilleure stabilité et plus de fiabilité.

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