Comment rétablir la confiance

NEW HAVEN – Le sommet du G-20, qui se tiendra le 2 avril à Londres, portera sur ce qui sera, il faut l’espérer, un plan de relance coordonné au plan international pour surmonter la crise économique mondiale. Mais un tel plan pourra-t-il vraiment aboutir�?

Le problème fondamental est bien sûr celui de la confiance. Tout le monde, que ce soient les consommateurs ou les investisseurs, annule ses projets de dépenses en raison des incertitudes qui pèsent sur l’économie mondiale. Le même phénomène s’est produit pendant la Grande Dépression des années�1930. Un observateur de l’époque, Winthrop Case, l’expliquait ainsi en 1938�: le redressement économique dépend de «�la volonté des particuliers et des entrepreneurs de faire des achats qui immobilisent leurs ressources pendant une durée relativement importante. Pour les particuliers, cela signifie avoir confiance dans la stabilité de leur emploi, ce qui en finale, ramène à la confiance éprouvée par les chefs d’industrie�». Malheureusement, il a fallu attendre que la Seconde guerre mondiale mette fin à la dépression pour que la confiance soit restaurée.

Si les chefs d’État réunis à Londres veulent réussir là où les gouvernements ont échoué dans les années�1930, ils devront se fixer un objectif fiscal suffisamment important pour entraîner un retour au plein emploi dans des conditions normales de crédit. Ils devront donc également définir un programme permettant de rétablir les lignes de crédit. Les individus ne dépenseront pas comme à l’accoutumée sans avoir à la fois un emploi et un accès normal au crédit. Pendant la Grande Dépression, ces objectifs n’ont pas été fixés de manière suffisamment ambitieuse et n’ont eu pour effet que de faire douter l’opinion publique de l’efficacité des mesures de relance.

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