At a time when the threat recedes, it becomes possible to draw some lessons from the crisis new as our economies have globalized have experienced.
First of all, we have had confirmation of the extreme interdependence of economic activities.
First teaching of course the economy, the risk of domino effect (or effect house of cards) has been shown vividly. This risk is not only direct but also indirect : the lack of employees forced to keep their children – because they could not be accommodated in the schools — has weighed heavily on the functioning and production capacity of enterprises. The School has therefore, in addition to its vital educational role, a function, the facilitator for the creation of added value.
The second teaching is the need to broaden the scope of productions and so-called ” strategic “. We have collectively failed foresight in relying on the world market to ensure the provision of masks and testing in the event of a health crisis. However, in such circumstances, the global market is quickly saturated. The least prepared are then at the mercy of the producer countries, in which it is discovered that they are more or less well-intentioned. Health, such as national defence, certain characteristics of public goods, and it is necessary to ensure the production, within the nation, certain medications, equipment or sanitation devices.
The third teaching is that with a public debt reaching 100% of GDP before the crisis, we had no ” pear for the thirst “. The indispensable measures taken by the government (and which have effectively limited the case) have pushed the public debt of 100% to 120% of GDP. For the moment, the European Central Bank keeps its interest rates at a very low level, while injecting considerable masses of liquidity (through redemption of public and private bonds). Formally the latter will not be afraid of any return of inflation. Yet, if inflationary pressures were day, he would have to resolve to raise rates, making the debt burden is very unfortunate.
The fourth lesson is that the excesses of the “precautionary principle” are very costly for our societies. With the benefit of hindsight, it appears that the containment could be reserved for more than 60 years old and frail people. The decline in GDP would have been very limited and the increase in unemployment has content. However, in the measure where the first victims of the phases of recessions are the populations precarious, the company must reflect on the criteria of public decision-making. A good decision is a compromise between the imperatives of the health, economic and social. On the occasion of this crisis, the emotion has too often dominated the reason.
The last teaching is that the French society, so-called fractured, torn, at the edge of the insurrection, has generally performed very well during these dark hours. It has been praised, rightly, the dedication and the professional conscience of health-care staff, as well as those of all the actors of the ” second line “. More broadly, the French are remarkably folded measures very restrictive, with a real good citizenship. The silent majority of responsible and took the other hand discreet on the minority ultra-protest, one that, in normal times, monopolizes the antennas of the tv channels continuously.
Jean-Pascal GAYANT, Professor of economics, GAINS, Le Mans University and CREM, University of Rennes-1