Calcul des coûts. Profit
Enterprises do not really have a legal status as such. Their status is, most often, that of a commercial company, which assigns them only one purpose: to make profit for their shareholders. This state of affairs results, as Hubert Landier explains, from the dominant 18th-century concern with property, freedom of trade and the predominance at the time of small workshops run along family lines. However, enterprises are made up of a range of skills, expertise and occupational abilities developed by their workers (waged or otherwise), service-providers, subcontractors and clients, whose essential role is well worthy of consideration. Hence the emergence of the idea of “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) and, more recently, of “social dialogue”.
Through social dialogue, progress has been made, for example, to achieve a better balance between shareholders and employees, if not indeed a measure of ethics in relations between stakeholders. But this is not sufficient, particularly when, as workers are increasingly particular about their working conditions, clients increasingly vigilant about how goods and services are produced, and enterprises under scrutiny for their environmental impact, they set excessive store by the short-term profit of their shareholders to the detriment of all other considerations.
A reform of the enterprise is therefore necessary in France, a reform which has been little discussed for many years, even though financialization has increased enormously in scope, producing the devastating effects that we saw in 2007-8. This was the reason for the report commissioned from Nicole Notat and Jean-Dominique Senard, L’Entreprise, objet d’intérêt collectif [The Enterprise, an Object of Collective Concern] and now for the draft PACTE law (Plan d’action pour la croissance et la transformation des entreprises: Action Plan for the Growth and Transformation of Enterprises) which is due to go before the French parliament in Autumn. However, as Hubert Landier reminds us here, “you do not change society by decree” (Michel Crozier); it is behaviour that has to be modified, particularly the behaviour of those in charge of the governance of enterprises and of all those participating in the collective endeavour. What is actually at stake is a shift from a logic of creating exclusively shareholder value to a logic of creating value for all. An immense undertaking!
Les dépenses des entreprises et des administrations resteront sans doute contraintes au cours des prochaines années. Les futurs possibles dépendent fortement du niveau d’exploitation dans tous les domaines de différentes méthodes de décision et de travail qui ont toutes pour caractéristiques d’être participatives, de mobiliser le bon sens des parties prenantes et de construire une confiance aujourd’hui ébranlée. Un manifeste signé par 800 spécialistes  a réclamé en vain, il y a deux ans, un recours plus ...
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Les dirigeants des entreprises ont été, l’an dernier, encore plus incités à obtenir des profits à court terme qu’en 2013. C’est ce qui est ressorti d’une enquête du cabinet McKinsey  auprès d’un millier de responsables d’entreprises de différents secteurs et pays, réalisant des chiffres d’affaires d’au moins 100 millions de dollars US. Sur les 384 responsables qui se sont exprimés, 87 % ont déclaré qu’ils étaient davantage poussés à obtenir des ...
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Jeremy Rifkin is highly regarded for his ability to identify emergent world trends, as can be seen in his previous writings (from The End of Work to The Third Industrial Revolution, with books on the rise of the biotechnologies and the “hydrogen economy” along the way). He was in Paris this September to promote his latest book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society. Hugues de Jouvenel and Marguerite Grandjean met up with him and present here the highlights of that interview, in which Rifkin explains that the age of full-on capitalism is drawing to a close. The fact is that producing at virtually zero marginal cost –as is most often the case in the Internet economy– totally rewrites the principles on which capitalism has been based for decades. As a result, a new paradigm is emerging, says Rifkin, a paradigm linked to the rise of the Internet of things, which makes possible the development of a collaborative, networked economy, producing common goods (“the collaborative commons” referred to in his most recent work). This article presents the main characteristics of this new paradigm which, as Rifkin argues, already exists in embryo today, prefiguring the world of tomorrow.
Le capitalisme va disparaître. Ce n’est pas le propos d’un altermondialiste virulent mais celui de Jeremy Rifkin dans son dernier ouvrage, paru au printemps aux États-Unis et en France cet automne : The Zero Marginal Cost Society (ZMCS). Et le plus extravagant dans cette assertion, ce n’est pas le résultat mais sa cause : le capitalisme va disparaître par excès d’efficacité. Son horizon ultime, via l’augmentation incessante de la productivité, est la réduction des coûts marginaux de ...
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To overcome the crisis in which it has been enmeshed for some years, France has little choice but to improve its competitiveness. The French government certainly understands this. However, apart from the demands of budgetary austerity, which has led it to intensify the fiscal pressure on households and companies, there is another problem: namely, the financial situation of companies in the country. As Gilbert Cette and Arnaud Sylvain show here, by comparison with a number of other major industrialized nations (Germany, Spain, USA, Italy, UK) the analysis of various indicators over the last two decades (operating margins, savings ratios, net income, debt ratios etc. of non-financial companies) suggests that French company finances have deteriorated appreciably and durably –a finding which, if it were confirmed in the future, would not augur at all well for productive investment, household income, wealth creation and, consequently, economic growth in France.