Matt Wuerker

Après la crise économique, que restera-t-il de la mondialisation ?

CAMBRIDGE – Cette année, l’économie mondiale se contractera pour la première fois depuis 1945 et certains économistes prévoient que la crise actuelle pourrait signifier le début de la fin de la mondialisation. Une conjoncture économique difficile se traduit souvent par des mesures protectionnistes – chaque pays accusant le voisin et agissant pour protéger l’emploi. Dans les années 1930, ces politiques « du chacun pour soi » ont aggravé la situation. Si les responsables politiques ne parviennent pas à éviter le protectionnisme, le passé risque de se répéter.

Ironiquement, ces sombres perspectives ne signifieraient pas pour autant la fin de la mondialisation – définie comme la multiplication des réseaux mondiaux d’interdépendance. La mondialisation a plusieurs visages, et même si les économistes ont tendance à la confondre avec l’économie mondiale, d’autres dimensions de la mondialisation ont aussi une incidence – pas forcément bénigne – sur notre vie quotidienne.

La forme la plus ancienne de mondialisation est environnementale. La première épidémie de variole connue a par exemple eu lieu en Égypte en 1350 avant J.C. Elle atteignit la Chine en 49 après J.C., l’Europe en 700, les Amériques en 1520 et l’Australie en 1789. La peste bubonique, ou la Peste noire, originaire d’Asie, s’est propagée en Europe au XIVe siècle où elle a provoqué la mort d’un tiers à un quart de la population.

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