Pourquoi la Chine ne peut s’adapter

CALIFORNIA – Bien des raisons peuvent expliquer le ralentissement de la croissance chinoise : la tourmente financière en Europe, la reprise chaotique aux Etats-Unis, et la faiblesse des investissements intérieurs, pour ne nommer que les facteurs les plus cités. Dans la mesure où les exportations et l’investissement contribuent respectivement pour 30% et 40% du PNB de la Chine, son économie est particulièrement vulnérable au fléchissement de la demande externe et à l’accumulation des prêts non performants provoqués par des dépenses excessives et dispendieuses en actifs fixes.

Mais la vulnérabilité de la Chine à ces facteurs, aussi sérieux qu’ils puissent être, est symptomatique de problèmes institutionnels plus profonds. Tant que ces problèmes sous-jacents ne seront pas traités, les discussions autour d’un modèle fondé sur la consommation en Chine, mentionné dans le douzième plan quinquennal récemment voté, ne seront que vaines paroles. 

Les principaux partenaires commerciaux de la Chine, les institutions financières comme la Banque Mondiale et le Fonds Monétaire International, et les principaux dirigeants chinois eux-mêmes, n’admettent-ils pas de longue date les vulnérabilités structurelles engendrées par des investissements excessifs et une faible consommation des ménages ? Par ailleurs et depuis près de dix ans, la Chine se voit opposer des pressions pour mettre en place des réformes afin de redresser ces modèles économiques, qui ont porté atteinte au bien-être du citoyen chinois ordinaire et tendu le système des échanges globaux.

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