L'auteur tente de démontrer ici l'insuffisence de la doctrine du plein-emploi sous ses formes keynésiennes. A partir d'un rapport de l'ONU (1949), il y fait une critique de la politique de demande effective. Il définit, ensuite, le type et les organes de l'économie à l'intérieur de laquelle s'inscrit la politique qu'il préconise et étudie les formes de cette politique dans trois cas: celui d'une économie procédant à une reconversion et à une libéralisation de ses échanges, subissant une contraction subséquente à un slump américain et organisant sa croissance de longue période à l'échelle du monde.
1. The great depression — and mass unemployment — threatened political and industrial societies. In order to avoid a repetition of such a threat, one idea dominates the economic thought of the late decades: the establishment of full employment.
2. In order to reach this, two methods have been proposed, both inoperative.
The classical, because it does not recognize that wages are the largest variable factor in the total expense.
The Keynesian, because the chronic tendency to over-save and under-invest is non-existant; that the marginal efficiency of capital cannot be fully appreciated and that it presupposes the absence of bottlenecks.
Full employment must be a compromise between the maximum use of labour and other resources.
I—ONE FIGURE AND MULTIPLE SYMPTOM METHODS
Two methods may be used to prove the rationality of that compromise:
The one-figure method: over a certain percentage of the available labour force, unemployment is considered excessive. This method has serious limitations.
In order to avoid the deficiencies of the first method, Perroux proposes the multiple symptom method, i.e. an analysis of the tolerable lack of balance in expansion and growth in the following variables:
Global supply and demand of money.
Saving and investment.
Labour supply and demand.
According to him, full employment must be defined as a high level of correct employment, consistent with expansion and growth without unbearable lack of balance.
II—CRITICISM OF THE EFFECTIVE DEMAND POLICY
This criticism is made on a report of the U.N.O. (1949). The author sees two fundamental errors in the doctrine of the report:
the use of one-figure method setting a figure beyond which a whole series of counter-measures is set in motion;
a remanence of the General Theory "directed principally and wrongly towards the internal economy".
Ill—THE AIM AND MEANS OF THE POLICY RECOMMENDED
1. The type of economy: a more or less planned economy due to:
governmental controls through which the over-all flows are influenced and coordinated;
decentralised individual and group initiatives.
Therefore, the policy recommended by Mr. Perroux, is in reference to an economy which is not automatically regulated by the market and its prices.
The government instruments: the usual monetary and financial organizations: central bank, treasury.
Here is specified the contents of the tolerable lack of balance in expansion and growth in three cases:
The re-conversion and the freeing of exchanges;
The eventual contraction which would be brought about by a slump in the United States;
The planning of long-term growth on a world-wide scale.
V—FULL EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMY' OF PROGRESSIVE FORM
The author concludes:
"We hope to have furnished some good reasons to the understanding of the unilateral and hasty character of the doctrine of full employment under its ordinary and Keynesian forms."
A society where full employment exists is not necessarily economically progressive. In order for it to be so, it is necessary that:
the technical invention therein be changed into economic innovation;
the economic innovation eliminate the enterprises of which the activity and procedure are absolete;
the surplus of real production be spread out to benefit all social categories;
and this in the shortest time and at the lowest cost to society.
Veuillez télécharger l’article en PDF pour le lire.
PERROUX, FRANÇOIS, professeur à la Faculté de Droit de Paris.