Trump and Congress: A drawback can easily become a plus.

US Congress in Washington finally delivered their first major decision: For the time being, Obamacare is safe, and we will not see any new healthcare reforms soon.
This outcome is a major drawback for the new administration. Nonetheless, from a strategic perspective, this loss could (easily) become an asset to Trump for three major reasons:
A. This battle regarding Obamacare allowed the new administration to count (and to observe) his majority in Congress. Trump’s team wanted (and needed) to know his Republican troops better; they wanted to separate those who will follow the new president from those full of doubts. These objectives were fully achieved.
B. The main reason for fighting Obamacare for President Trump was gone once he was elected: His fight was to ensure a high tea party vote on Election Day. In his view, reshaping or even fully eliminating Obamacare was never a primary goal; it has always been a secondary one. The main political goal of Trumps’ agenda is to implement an unprecedented US fiscal reform to reinvigorate (and, to some extent, reindustrialise) the American economy. Now, it is fair to say that by eliminating the Obamacare the government would recover several billions which would then give some room to finance other ideas and programs. To be honest, I really believe Trump does not care too much about this money: increasing  the government debt, in his view, it is not such a big issue. What matters is to change the fiscal structure and the way in which globalization is done. Besides, given that he is convinced to reestablish a growth rate of 4% the debt problem might be solved thanks to the economy itself!!
C. Now, it was no surprise that simultaneous to the announcement of its important defeat, the administration proclaimed its decision to rapidly submit a tax reform concerning firms and international trades to Congress.
This reform is a twofold package: On the one hand, a first set of measures will mainly reduce taxes for American firms; on the other hand, a more unorthodox set of measures is aimed at taxing imports and favouring US exports.
The tax cut concerning firms’ profits and income taxes will be easily obtained by the administration. From President Regan onward, Republicans have always been in favour of this sort of manoeuvre to increase economic activity. On the contrary, the second part of the project is trickier and more controversial for any traditional (pro trade) Republican deputy. Therefore, the administration needed to put some pressure on the Republican members of Congress. Now, Trump’s team can count on more solid Congress loyalty. Several Republican members cannot deny holding up Trump’s measures after their failure to support a quick Obamacare reform. The Republican majority needs to quickly approve measures which will clearly help implement Trump’s promises.

These three elements favour Trump in his struggle to impose some sort of protectionist trading measures.
However, the outcome remains uncertain, and it will heavily depend on the following: a) the lists of protectionist measures, mainly import taxes and/or export subsidies; and b) the expected reactions from all other players involved in the global economy game (i.e. other countries).
On that note, the administration should never forget that these countries are key markets for several major US corporations (for instance, the Silicon Valley giants). The risk of huge reputation damage for those firms and an endless commercial war needs to be carefully considered by both Trump’s government and Congress.

Will Congress be ready to follow Trump along this dangerous path?

Despite the pressure put on Congress after the Obamacare case, the administration does not have a clear, positive answer.

Quantitative easing: A first analysis of this policy based on US and Euro zone cases.

Officially, the FED decided to use the quantitative easing (QE) policy after the crisis of 2007-09:  however, QE1 was already applied in 2008, but this first phase was more an intervention to stabilize both mortgage market and banks’ balance sheets than a “real” QE exercise, when its last intervention QE3 was done in October 2014. The Euro Zone (EZ) central Bank (ECB), followed this unorthodox approach only in January 2015 and its program is still running now. Despite a clear time lag between their implementation, a common goal characterized these interventions: FED & BCE were just changing their policy target; moving from a policy of stabilisation of the long-term inflation rate, to one of reinvigoration of the economy activity through the stimulation of global demand.

Now, in this essay, we do not want to focus on the unorthodox nature of this policy, which can be summarised as seeing central banks shifting down the medium long term yield curve (often by massively buying medium long term government bonds) instead of the usual money market interventions (i.e. only short-term interest impacted).
What matters for us it is to stress and discuss the underlying theoretical premises characterizing this policy. This discussion will allow us to answer some basic questions, which are often not considered:
Why do central banks believe in the potency of QE? What is the main mechanism which is intended to guarantee the success of this policy? Are we sure that underlying forces assuring the success of QE are present in our economies? And if the QE is not working as expected, what sort of dangers might be foreseen for our economies?
Let’s start with a clear definition of a QE policy and its underlying mechanism.

To start with, QE brings, as with any economic policy, a distortion in terms of market forces: by purchasing medium-long term (high grades) bonds, central banks are injecting liquidity in the financial system and increasing the price of those assets (which explains why yields move lower). Now, this new liquidity ends up on financial institutions’ hands, mainly banks and insurance companies (the latter are major players in the EZ case). Those institutions are supposed to play the role of middleman: They should convey this excess money into the real economy by expanding their credit lines to firms and entrepreneurs. This is the (classic) channel which any central bank views as a method to stimulate the economy: credit becomes cheaper and this should encourage more (private) investment in the economy. From this point of view, it just remains for central banks to gauge the economic reaction to these stimuli, and ultimately to stop them once the inflation starts to weak up. Clearly, if inflation remains quiet then the central bank can keep running the QE policy. There are numerous caveats underlying this ideal process. We will stress those which might challenge most the success of QE.

I. Historically, in both cases, US and EZ, central banks started QE because they were obliged to fight against a phenomenal debt crisis. This crisis had a common ground in both cases. In both, we got a huge transfer of money from wealthy areas -US costs, North EZ countries- into peripheral areas in which main economic activities were (are) specialised either on housing construction or, in EZ, on government grants activities. When debt creation dried up (i.e. families’ income streams were no longer in line with house prices, for instance), the transfer mechanism broken and then the crisis started. At this moment, in both cases, economic heterogeneity increases: the lack of demand hit violently the remote areas, where economic activity was highly dependent on the money transfer. Whereas, in the wealthy parts, the willingness to transfer additional money into poor areas decreases (i.e. the faith on a stable financial system decreases): This element was (is) key in the EZ case, where the monetary union was (is) not supported by a federal state, i.e. a political entity which might autonomously force a fiscal stimulus or transfer to the poor areas.
Given this heterogeneity, is the QE policy the right policy to reinvigorate the economy activity? It is doubtful.
As mentioned earlier, the goal of a QE policy was (is) to favour private investment. Still, in depressed areas, there will simply not be enough hungry entrepreneurs to absorb the banks’ easy credit offers. In those areas, you need to intervene with fiscal policies, i.e. favour public spending in infrastructure, workforce skills upgrade programs, research and development and so on.
As a conclusion, the QE’s aim (i.e. to reactivate the economy) has been slightly achieved. The real main positive impact has been on banks’ balance sheets: here, thanks to QE, banks (and with them also the wealthy areas) did gain the time and means to offload bad debts from their books and restore faith in the credit system.
Nonetheless, politically, this operation is costly: if no fiscal policy initiatives are taken simultaneously to the QE, the heterogeneous character of the economy worsens and, in the weak areas, discontent and anger will just increase.

II. With QE policy, central banks are making the assumption that the source of the crisis is a lack of demand in the economy, rather than an economy’s structural change. As we already pointed out, this lack of demand is the right diagnosis for post-crisis peripheral areas, but what about the wealthy areas? Those areas are likely to exist on a radically different plane, in which global demand is likely to be a lot more resilient even in crisis and in their ability to react to other forces.
Before the crisis, wealthy parts in both the US & EZ did fully embrace (and even gave life to) two forces: globalisation and digital revolution.
Let’s take a close look at the subject of globalisation by referring to the seminal German case. Germany was known as the sick man of Europe in the late 1990s, due to its job market reforms which were disapproved of. Now, in 2000 the European Union agreed to implement the Lisbon agenda: in order to reinvigorate growth in Europe, EU members should stimulate investment in new technologies and implement more liberal policies in the labour market. The German government focused on this last part of the plan and in 2003 a major reform of their social state and job market was announced and implemented (the famous Agenda 2010). The outcome of this policy-and also thanks to a huge, firm by firm, new decentralized wave of salary bargaining-  was dramatically to increase the competitiveness of the German economy inside the EZ, by lowering the cost of labour of a very high skilled and motivated workforce.
Now, in these globalized and highly technological areas like west Germany, consumer prices were pushed down. As such, global demand in these areas was increasing, pushed mainly by the arrival of new (highly skilled) workers migrating from the remote areas. Neither the downward movement of prices, nor the healthy global demand stopped with the start of the crisis.
Under these conditions, judging when to stop QE based only on the inflation flag seems particularly misleading: in a heterogeneous economic environment, can we be sure that inflation represents the right indicator to gauge if the economy is out of the crisis?
What about changing the focus and looking at a statistic like unemployment rate instead? But are we sure that QE needs to be stopped when real economic indicators are moving?
Or have the current experiments told us something different? Namely, we should stop this policy a lot quicker, without waiting for a signal in the real economy!

III. The QE’s dreamed scenario envisaged that financial institutions would find credit hungry actors in the real economy. As already discussed this is nothing more than wishful thinking in the remote (non-globalized) areas; even in globalized and wealthy areas, no such massive hunger for new credit is present, i.e. what needs to be financed is already done and the new QE’s means are superfluous.
So, the assumption of seeing the flow of new money injected into the financial system being quickly (or with a reasonable delay) migrated into the real economy remains an unrealistic one.
Under these conditions, the outcome of an important QE is likely to be the creation of one (several) bubble(s) in one (several) financial market (s), e.g. the current situation of Euro zone government bond market or the current valuation of the US stocks. This implies an increase in the volatility of financial assets, which is likely to increase an overall process of misallocation of resources.
These bubbles just indicate that banks are only marginally playing their role as middleman between financial system and real economy. Besides, in the case of EURO zone, the crisis has reinforced the division between the North & the peripheral banking system. Thus we have seen the creation of a dual banking system. In this configuration, inter-bank credits between “wealthy” North players and peripheral (South) ones dried up: this is another factor which supports the idea that banks are not playing fully their expected role as middleman. Meanwhile, ECB continues to play the game because this is the only way to keep afloat the South banking system and to assure those banks with low charges in term of interest payments.

So, to conclude the analysis of this last paragraph, in addition to the initial distortion related to the QE policy, central banks are likely to face others distortions in several financial markets. This is a phenomenon which clearly complicates a soft landing of these markets once the QE ends. Moreover, the presence of the market bubbles obscures the waters even further, making a decision on when to stop the QE policy more difficult, and increasing the fragility of the entire system!

On Donald Trump’s Economic vision or why globalization matters.

Thanks to Trump speech at the US congress we start to fully apprehend his economic plan and, perhaps also, start to grasp the underlying economic vision which is leading his choices.
What matters now, is to ask ourselves: Is this plan a coherent one? Is there a solid economic rationale? And if this is the case, can we capture the main contours of this vision in economic terms?
The main objective of this article will be to illustrate the means, which Trump wants to mobilize and how he intends to reach his goals.
Two main elements can be highlighted from the speech:
I. Trump is asking the United States congress to approve cuts on several existing programs and various administration costs. And, in the meantime, he is asking to increase military expenditures and (surprisingly) approve a huge infrastructure expenditure plan. Currently, the contours of these cuts and expenditures increase are largely unclear (a part the military bit).
Later -in this article- we will focus mainly on the infrastructure expenditure plan, which is, indeed, a surprising element, whereas the cuts in the administration and the increase in military expenditures are typical republican policy.
II. Trump proposes an important cut in corporate and individual income taxation, coupled with partial or full roll back of the Dodd–Frank bank regulation act: The congressional process required to roll back the act will likely be quite complex and time consuming. On the contrary, the tax cuts are likely to happen more quickly, despite being politically trickier: Trump has promised a massive tax cut for the American middle-class and not another reform beneficial to the top one percent.

Now, we can ask ourselves two seminal questions: A) what is the rationale behind these two sets of measures? B) Is there a link between them, i.e. why it is key to present both simultaneously?

To answer let’s take a closer look at the most unusual aspect in point I. above:
the one trillion dollar expenditure plan concerning infrastructure.
A lot of caveats are associated with this plan, two of them deserve further scrutiny:

a) Who will bear this cost? It seems that the administration wants a sort of partnership with the private sector, using tax credits: But then, how much will be borne by taxpayers and how much directly on private sector shoulders, i.e. banks, financial market in general? There is no clarity at this stage.

b) Who will build this infrastructure and who will decide what to do and when? Such a humongous plan needs a lot of constructions workers and a lot of coordination- potentially an entire bureaucracy -: Is the administration sure there will be enough workers (without the Mexicans) available for such a long time and spread across the entire country? Who will coordinate the project? A new federal agency? All these “details” remain undefined.

For the time being, it is far more pertinent to understand (and investigate) point a), i.e. why the private sector would be interested in financing such a plan and using which money (especially considering interest rates are likely to raise soon).

Take a step back and look to the other part of the program, namely point II. : Trump wants to implement a substantial corporate tax cut, which aims to bring back the vast amount of liquidity amassed by major US companies overseas -the main example being Apple which capitalized an estimated amount of cash overseas of 246 billion-.
If the corporate tax cut is implemented, then these major corporations are expected to repatriate the cash. Firms would then face a twofold dilemma:

1. They can decide to increase dividends, which might explain why the Wizard of Omaha (Warren Buffett) bought heavily Apple’s shares last year- or 2. They can decide to invest in new production plants in the US (quite certainly the most preferred outcome in Trump’s mind).
Now, option 2. makes (economic) sense only if you accept the following hypothesis: the current chain of production and distribution used by major American firms is inefficient and an increase of efficiency can be obtained by re-investing in the US. This is a major hypothesis: large US firms ‘production chains (which includes several plants in several countries working in a “tense” web relationship) have reached a very high standard of efficiency due, manly, to the numerical revolution.
It is clear the US administration can disrupt these chains by using commercial barriers. Nevertheless, a lot of these groups are fighting global commercial battle, Apple and Samsung is the main example, and the US market despite being an important one, it is not the only one for them (globalization is played by an orchestra of countries and no more by few occidentals’ countries).
As such, those firms cannot modify something that works and switch easily to some undefined/ unprepared more US centric solution: The likelihood of losing the global commercial battle will just increase for them. In addition, commercial barriers remain a dangerous option for Trump’s team: If the US starts a commercial war why would others remain silent.
I continue to believe that president Trump will end up moderating this part of his program because US major businesses have just too much to lose.

From this analysis, I reckon that the most likely outcome after corporate tax cutting would be an increase in firms’ cash distribution, i.e. option 1. above.
The shareholders (mainly, the famous 1%) will then receive a lot (of new) money and they will need to invest these new amounts: by imposing favourable fiscal terms, the US government would then try to convoy these additional moneys into its infrastructure plan. Interestingly, the fact that, simultaneously, banks would become more risk-taking actors- due to the reduction of banking regulation- should also help the process.

Three final remarks/warnings need to be stressed here:
A. Trump’s team need to come up with a solid scheme how he intends to move money from private individuals/ institutions to a semi-public (government regulated ?) system: The last time we saw a president trying to favour this sort of transfer we ended up with the subprime crisis, i.e. the seeds of the mortgage meltdown were planted during Bill Clinton’s presidency when he decided to loosen housing rules by rewriting the Community Reinvestment Act, which pushed banks over invest in the home mortgages market.

B. Trump’s administration cannot simultaneously ask US major firms to bring home tons of cash earned in foreign countries (i.e. efficient production plants) and foreign markets (i.e. key selling points) and then fight commercial-fiscal wars with those countries.
As explained above, Trump needs this money back, but he needs to keep alive the flow, i.e. those groups need to remain highly profitable. From this perspective, we foresee no benefits for the US government on entering any commercial-fiscal wars with foreign countries.

C. Politically, Trump needs to implement a successful infrastructure plan: He has been elected based on a gloomy and pessimistic economic picture of his country, several US fellow citizens agreed with him about this representation and cast a Trump vote on the promise of bringing back some form of decent (secure) work and thus prosperity. Now, as explained above, and despite some exceptional cases, we do not believe in any large re-investment movement coming from major groups: On that side, we forecast minor effects concerning job creation in poor areas.
It is precisely, for this reason, that Trump needs his infrastructure plan up and running as soon as possible: this plan is needed to create jobs among the “rust belt” (low human capital) population. For them American first clearly means the creation of thousands of stable jobs.
As a conclusion, underlying Trumps’ announcements there is a main target: To assure a transfer of wealth from the globalization’s winners into the hands of the losers. Only time will tell us if this (still highly hypothetical and unclear) scheme will be solid enough to move (in a normal positive/ raising interest rates environment, by the way) money from US coast’s affluent people to its inner territories’ poor (low skills) people via new job creation.
That said, in a medium long term perspective, only one factor can really save these areas: A huge investment in education and new technologies and this should be done, ideally, in parallel with the implementation of the infrastructure plan, but we can doubt this will be done anytime soon!

Un pourquoi pour ce site

Le commencement, comme souvent, c’est un constat : On vie dans le temps de la noyade, de la déferlante chiffre, qui nous noie. On est, à bien des égards, “Drowning by Numbers” et cela est tout particulièrement vrai dans l’espace économique (et donc) politique. Comment éviter l’abrutissement relatif à cet état de fait ? Comment revenir à une mesure humainement gérable du flux, de sorte à éviter l’égarement et les fausses pistes ? Le blog ici se veut donc cheminement et outil pour s’affranchir des modes faciles qui, elles, se nourrissent de cette déferlante numérique.

De l’Homo Economicus à une approche davantage liée a la condition humaine : L’homme comme Projet Jeté.

La notion d’homo Economicus est, par définition, un des fondements de la théorie économique traditionnelle.  Selon cette vision l’homme s’apparente à une machine calculatrice : Il collecte l’ensemble des information pertinentes, capable d’influencer ses choix, en gros l’ensemble des prix et le montant de ses disponibilités, et rationnellement il choisit la meilleure allocation (panier) de biens lui garantissant la maximisation de sa satisfaction.
D’un point de vue purement philosophique on nage en plein cartésianisme : A l’aune de l’intelligence artificielle, on n’a aucune peine à imaginer cet Homo Economicus substitué par un algorithme – bien calibré, l’algorithme, ne devrait point peiner pour reproduire ses choix (rationnels et maximisant).
Soyons clairs, la science économique est bien consciente du côté partiel et réducteur d’une telle démarche. De ce fait, on a intégré l’information imparfaite (seulement une partie des prix est connue lors du choix), l’incertitude et, même, l’interaction avec les autres au moment du choix, à travers l’introduction du comportement stratégique.
Cependant, une constante a été toujours jalousement gardée (ou bien moins souvent abandonnée) : le caractère maximisant des choix effectués par l’Homo Economicus. Or grâce à la philosophie et à ses développements récents, on peut envisager une alternative à cette hypothèse -ce qui nous permettra d’avoir un autre point de vue, plus frai et « humain ».
L’homme existentialiste nous offre ce dépassement fécond qui nous éloigne de la mécanique cartésienne. L’homme est, en simplifiant à l’extrême ce courant philosophique, dans son essence et avant tout, Projet Jeté. La définition semble inintelligible et loin d’avoir une quelconque utilité : cependant c’est bien plutôt le contraire qui est vrai.
Analysons cette définition mot par mot, de sorte à pouvoir l’applique au monde actuel et comprendre sa richesse.
A. Chacun de nous est « Être Jeté ». Ceci nous parle intuitivement : à notre naissance chacun de nous est « Jeté » dans une réalité, un environnement, ou encore plus précisément dans un monde. Mais surtout on est « Jeté » dans le monde avec (grâce à) des autres et c’est bien ces autres qui vont assurer notre vie (et même souvent survie) dans le monde.
Maintenant, les objets (biens) viennent à nous grâce (à travers) les autres : qui, par exemple, n’a pas observé l’aisance d’un enfant dans le maniement d’un téléphone portable. On est toujours surpris. Cependant, si l’on réfléchit, l’enfant applique tout simplement un comportement mimétique : il a observé notre façon d’utiliser l’objet et donc il va simplement reproduire son maniement. L’enfant, comme nous tous du reste, ne va pas se soucier de comprendre l’objet téléphone portable (et ses dangers éventuels) avant de l’utiliser. Son intérêt est d’utiliser (au plus vite) au pair de tous les autres gens qui l’entourent.
Imiter les autres dans leur choix est donc un comportement à mettre en avant car c’est ce qui nous a permis d’intégrer -de s’adapter à- notre monde. A bien des égards, ceci agit tout au long de notre vie :  Si ce n’est pas cette force, qu’est-ce qui peut expliquer le comportement moutonnier lors d’un gonflement d’une bulle spéculative sur un marché financier, par exemple ?
Ainsi, l’envie d’être comme les autres peut, aisément, nous faire oublier notre rationalité (rationalité qui est une stratégie/methodologie, elle aussi, apprise grâce aux autres) et nous conduire à des mauvais choix.
A ce propos, si vous avez un ami banquier, n’hésitez pas à lui demander le nombre de fois qu’il se vu contraint d’expliquer à ses clients que la performance passée sur un actif n’est point garantie de son évolution future. Une hausse du cours pendant plusieurs années de suite est, toute chose étant égale par ailleurs, signe d’un prix surfait plutôt que d’une occasion à saisir.
En résume, la « jetitude » de notre existence est à la base de notre attitude conformiste, de notre suivisme : Plein de choix peuvent donc s’expliquer sur la base de ces considérations.
B. L’être est également « Projet » : En effet, nous sommes constamment en train de planifier et de nous projeter, et donc vivre, dans le futur. Le présent peut bien s’égrener comme il veut, ce qu’on souhaite est constamment devant nous. De ce point de vue, la projection individuelle vers l’avant requière d’un côté de la visibilité, de l’autre de la stabilité : l’homme comme projet a besoin au moins d’entrevoir les résultats de ses plans dans le futur.
Il va sans dire que dans un monde où les certitudes sont devenues des pures chimères, l’individu va oublier, une fois encore, sa rationalité de maximisation. Ses choix seront plutôt dictés par sa volonté d’un retour en arrière dans un monde prétendument connu et stable.
Mais, le fait de se projeter vers le futur en espérant la résurgence du passé a-t-il un sens ? Non, certainement pas.
L’histoire passe et marque le monde d’une façon indélébile- pensons seulement aux traces dues à la technique moderne : le retour en arrière est pure illusion (de plus retour à quel point, en éliminât quoi au passage).
La seule solution pour chacun de nous est de rester ouvert face au changement – on doit accepter un aggiornamento perpétuel -.
Mais, l’aggiornamento coûte : une aide significative et individuelle est ici nécessaire. Cette aide représente le prix à payer au niveau social pour obtenir une projection individuelle apaisée.
Ainsi, l’aide aux laissés-pour-compte implique forcément la présence d’un système de redistribution de la richesse parmi les individus mais aussi, et surtout, d’un système d’éducation performant : en effet, le seul véritable antidote à une instabilité croissante est d’enrichir son propre capital humain et donc garantir une ouverture (positive) sur le monde.

La causalité n’est pas simple corrélation ou la confusion logique dans l’analyse de données

La boulimie de chiffres, caractérisant si bien notre société actuelle, se lit également dans la pléthore presque infinie de séries statistiques à notre disposition. Ainsi, on pourra, par exemple, facilement trouver l’évolution temporelle du nombre de voitures dans notre pays, de résidents, ou de travailleurs.
La tentation est donc grande de confronter parallèlement l’évolution de deux (ou plusieurs) de ces séries et, par la même, établir une possible corrélation entre elles. Mais, l’existence d’une corrélation – ou, par une paraphrase, d’un synchronisme des mouvements historiques – de ces séries n’assure en rien l’existence d’un lien de causalité entre elles. En d’autres termes, rien nous dit que les variations enregistrées dans l’une soit à la base des variations (pourtant simultanées-ou très proches- temporellement) dans l’autre.
Un exemple extrême s’impose pour bien illustrer ces propos.  Supposons que nous revêtons le rôle d’un observateur décidé à collecter- simultanément- le nombre de patients admis dans un hôpital et le nombre de décès dans la même institution. On sera point surpris d’y découvrir une forte corrélation entre ces deux variables : Dans les jours de forte affluence à l’hôpital, il est fort probable d’enregistrer (avec un délai temporel somme toute négligeable) une augmentation significative du nombre de décès. Sur la base d’un tel constat, on pourrait même conclure à la dangerosité de l’hôpital ; un homme politique à court de réflexions, mais bien imbibé de chiffres, pourrait demander la fin de cette institution !
Maintenant, l’absurdité de ce type de démarche est claire à nous tous : Les véritables causes de l’augmentation de la mortalité ne sont point à rechercher au niveau de l’institution, mais plutôt dans le fait qu’il y a plus de gens malades dans la population.
L’exemple, même dans son absurdité, illustre parfaitement un concept fondamental : pour la compréhension d’un phénomène, il nous faut une théorie qui puisse nous faire prendre du recul par rapport aux chiffres collectées, et nous obliger à nous renseigner sur l’état du système dans son ensemble et donc sur les véritables changements qu’il est en train de subir.
Ainsi, pour utiliser une dernière fois notre exemple, on pourra s’interroger sur l’existence d’un éventuel problème d’eau potable comme véritable source de l’augmentation de malades dans la population.
Deux sortes de conclusion s’ouvrent à nous :

A. D’un point de vue purement logique, dans un monde où la production statistique est désormais hors contrôle, il faut réactualiser l’ancien proverbe « comparaison n’est pas raison » pour un plus actuel « corrélation n’est pas raison ».
De nos jours, trop souvent on assiste à des liens de cause à effet établis juste sur la base de séries dont les valeurs sont connues (accidentellement) le même jour. L’exemple classique est l’établissement d’une causalité avérée entre l’évolution du nombre de chômeurs et celle de l’immigration (nette) de nouveaux travailleurs.
Ce faisant, on oublie de considérer plusieurs autres variables (bien plus importantes) pour expliquer l’augmentation du chômage, comme :

  • Le vieillissement de la population active indigène et donc une augmentation des coûts salariaux brute, ce qui poussent bien des entreprises (dans beaucoup de secteurs) à se passer de cette main-d ‘ouvres.
  • La course effrénée à l’efficience économique de la part des entreprises dans plusieurs secteurs d’activités (par exemple, industrie des machines, chimie, certain services IT) ; obéissant à un marché de plus en plus globalisé et concurrentiel, lequel marché leur impose un prix de vente qui réduit leur marge et les force à réduire leur coût de production.
  • Le progrès technologique qui permet d’une part, la substitution du facteur travail par du capital, d’autre part d’externaliser le travail en le transférant dans des unités de production loin du pays.

B. Pour éviter le piège de relier corrélation à raison, il nous faut comprendre le fait (phénomène) socio-économico-politique dans son environnement et sa complexité : Le seul guide ici est le recours à un discours théorique qui lui seule peut nous aider à visualiser les véritables causes.

Cependant, le bon usage de l’outillage théorique implique du temps de la réflexion et de la prise de distance :
Des denrées bien rares dans le monde actuel qui fait des commentaires rapides en 150 caractères maximum, et délivrés à la minute près, sa vraie raison d’être.