Le pourquoi des hésitations d’Angela Merkel

MUNICH – “Où est Angela ?” a demandé The Economist quand Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown et José Manuel Barroso se sont réunis pour préparer un plan de relance économique européen sans la chancelière Merkel. L’Allemagne joue en effet les troubles fêtes dans la course aux milliards visant à éviter la rupture de l’économie mondiale. Pourquoi l’Allemagne se montre-t-elle si hésitante lorsqu’il s’agit de programmes de relance économique ?

Une théorie populaire veut qu’étant donné l’orientation favorisant plutôt l’offre des économistes allemands, les prescriptions keynésiennes orientées vers la demande ne suscitent qu’une sympathie très limitée. Mais aucun économiste allemand ne s’est prononcé contre un programme de relance économique, et beaucoup le prônent d’ailleurs. Alors que la théorie keynésienne a largement disparu des manuels d’économie aux États-Unis, elle reste enseignée partout en Allemagne. Les économistes allemands, contrairement à leurs homologues américains, n’ont jamais abandonné le keynésianisme comme moyen de lutter contre les déficits de demande. En outre, les politiciens allemands tiennent rarement compte des économistes allemands.

Une deuxième hypothèse se rapproche davantage de la vérité : le déclin de l’activité économique en Allemagne n’est pour l’instant pas aussi prononcé que dans d’autres pays. L’Allemagne n’avait pas de bulle immobilière menaçant d’exploser, à l’inverse de la Grande-Bretagne, de l’Irlande, de l’Espagne et de la France. L’Allemagne n’a été affectée qu’indirectement – par le déclin de la demande mondiale pour les produits allemands – ce qui explique une importante différence de synchronisation dans le cycle des affaires.

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