La Grèce s’en sortira-t-elle ?

CAMBRIDGE – Grâce à une aide financière supplémentaire, la Grèce a gagné un peu de temps, mais le pays n’est pas pour autant tiré d’affaire. Il reste à voir si les mesures d’austérité draconiennes proposées par le gouvernement du Premier ministre Georgios Papandréou seront acceptables et viables au plan politique.

L’histoire permet d’en douter. Dans une démocratie, lorsque les exigences des marchés financiers et des créanciers étrangers s’opposent à celles des travailleurs, retraités et de la classe moyenne d’un pays, ce sont en général ces derniers qui l’emportent.

L’abandon par la Grande-Bretagne de l’étalon-or en 1931 reste un événement qui fait date. Après avoir commis l’erreur de rétablir la parité avec l’or, une décision qui sapera totalement la compétitivité de son économie, la Grande-Bretagne dut faire face à des années de déflation et de chômage galopant. Les industries du charbon, de l’acier et les chantiers navals furent durement touchés et les conflits sociaux se multiplièrent. Même avec un taux de chômage à 20 pour cent, la Banque d’Angleterre fut obligée de maintenir des taux d’intérêt élevés pour empêcher de massives sorties d’or du pays. En fin de compte, les pressions de plus en plus fortes des marchés financiers obligèrent le pays à abandonner complètement l’étalon-or en 1931.

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