CR table ronde

Économie, emploi

Les paradoxes de l’économie américaine

En guise d’introduction, Jean-Marie Chevalier a rappelé que les États-Unis sont souvent présentés comme voulant imposer au monde entier leur vision libérale fondée sur le primat absolu de la propriété privée, la liberté d’entreprendre au service d’un enrichissement sans bornes et le fonctionnement démocratique des institutions, où, à tous les niveaux, s’opposent pouvoirs et contrepouvoirs. Une vision qui fascine et qui agace. Elle nous fascine parce que l’Amérique incarne toujours l’idéal démocratique, l’espoir ...

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Économie, emploi - Population

Anti-discrimination Efforts in France. What Can Be Learned from the American Experience with Regard to Employment

At the end of November 2004 a report was published in France, produced by Claude Bébéar at the request of the prime minister, on discrimination by firms. In particular, the report showed evidence of undoubted discrimination against foreigners or people of foreign descent with regard to hiring, and it called for a radical change in attitudes.
Michèle Tribalat is a researcher at INED ("Institut national d'études démographiques") and the author of one of the most recent studies to investigate ethnic criteria that provides statistical evidence on the true extent of discrimination in France (1992). She discusses the present position with regard to combating discrimination in this country (against minorities, women, the handicapped, etc.), and shows in particular how much France relies heavily on a "hyperjuridical" and global approach to the problem, being generally content to pass legislation and apply (without great zeal) EU directives. She stresses the lack of any real political will to measure how much discrimination there is: no satisfactory statistical tools exist, not even in employment, which is an area where using existing surveys would, without involving major difficulties, yield studies based on actual figures.
By contrast, the United States - which has been very active in combating discrimination since the 1960s - has been highly pragmatic and this has allowed the Americans to measure what has in fact been happening. Michèle Tribalat presents here, as an example, the way they gather data relating to the employment of women and minorities in American firms, and shows how this could be transposed to France. However, apart from the periodic bursts of interest in this issue, do the French really want to have such statistical information? Are we ready to abandon the current global approach and tackle the problem at a more refined level (employment, housing, etc.)?



Un fantasme américain : la démocratie au Grand Moyen-Orient

In November 2004, the American presidential election will be held against an international background dominated by the situation in Iraq, where the American-led coalition is floundering. Virtually everywhere in the world, the majority of public opinion is against the re-election of the current President, George W. Bush. The main complaint is about his administration's "messianic" attitude in attempting to impose its vision of the world and of international relations, which was revealed in the Greater Middle East Initiative announced by the United States at the G8 meeting last June and which is presented as the spearhead of American ambitions for the region.
Jean-Jacques Salomon has examined the origins and underlying agenda of this "great plan": he describes for readers of Futuribles the main characters inspiring and implementing the foreign policy of the Bush team (neo-conservatives, the oil lobby, the religious lobbies, the links with the Likud party in Israel), their ideological convictions, the way they hope to put these convictions into practice (in particular state-building) and the flow of reforms that might then come about. This "American fantasy" of Western-style democracy in a region as diverse as the Middle East is hardly realistic under current conditions.
Nonetheless, as Jean-Jacques Salomon stresses, the need for radical reforms in the Muslim world is increasingly recognized and proclaimed by many Arab commentators. But would Westernisation be too high a price to pay for modernization?
As to the result of the American presidential election, let us not delude ourselves: if the Democrats were to win, this would not necessarily bring about a major change in American foreign policy - although at least it would mean that there would be greater respect for the views of their allies and partners - and the messianic tendencies would not disappear.



La stratégie du Pentagone en 2050

Jean-Jacques Salomon draws the lessons for Futuribles of a recent report submitted to the Pentagon by a group of experts concerning the future strategic fight forces - meaning the capacity to act militarily against an enemy with sufficient foresight and efficiency to thwart the enemy's capacity to resist anywhere except on the actual battlefield. The strikes aimed at physically eliminating Saddam Hussein in the early hours of the Iraq war in 2003 belong to this way of thinking.
Jean-Jacques Salomon demonstrates how far this effort to take a long-term view is, as so often, shaped by the needs of the moment (e.g. the emphasis on "human" intelligence-gathering) and the dominant military doctrines within the Bush Administration.
This report contains two major innovations. The first concerns a recommendation to proceed with a plan that would allow the United States to strike very quickly any point on Earth from bases within its own territory, which the US Air Force is developing under the FALCON programme (Force Application and Launch from the Continental U.S.). The second innovation concerns the use of small nuclear bombs in order to destroy well-protected underground targets. This last point implicitly raises important questions about the ending of the taboo on using nuclear weapons.


Économie, emploi - Entreprises, travail - Géopolitique

Productivité : les États-Unis distancent l’Europe

In 2002, per capita GDP (gross domestic product) in France and the European Union was roughly 25% below that of the United States. Per capita GDP is related to several factors: hourly productivity rates, average working hours and the employment rates. In France, hourly productivity rates are very high, but working hours and the employment rates are low.
This explanation does not hold when the facts are examined, argues Cette, since productivity in general appears to fall as working time increases, hence less is produced in the 36th hour than in the 35th, and this is even more true concerning the employment rates, especially those of young people and workers aged over 50 which are particularly low in Europe, especially in France. Gilbert Cette points up this argument with the help of a comparison between the "observed" and the "structural" hourly productivity rates, with the latter distinctly higher in the United States than in Europe and Japan.
He shows that, ultimately, the improvement in productivity in the United States and the decline in Europe is largely due to the growth and, above all, the spread of information and communications technologies. However, for this to have the greatest multiplier effect, there must be not only an appropriate level of investment but also greater flexibility in the markets for goods and labour.
This article implicitly raises an important question about the balance to be struck between productivity and numbers in work, which is a real issue for society to decide.


Économie, emploi - Entreprises, travail - Géopolitique - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Europe et États-Unis : la divergence économique

Although the standard of living of Europeans gradually caught up with that of the Americans in the three decades after World War II, it would appear that the trend has dipped since the 1980s. Economic growth in Europe has stagnated, whereas growth has continued in the United States, despite events such as the bursting of the high-tech bubble, and September 11th. Is the decline of Europe compared with the United States unavoidable? What are the reasons for it?
Alain Villemeur describes the different paths taken by the two major Western blocs. He disentangles the reasons normally given to explain the poor results achieved in Europe (inflation, high interest rates, less flexible markets, industrial decline...) and challenges their validity in the light of the remarkable counter-example provided by the Netherlands.
In his view, the key to economic recovery in Europe lies in the investment countries are prepared to make in innovation and knowledge, and the way that innovations are achieved and implemented. What matters most now is to give priority to innovations in products (which means investing in research aimed at developing new products and services) rather than in processes (i.e. attempting to improve or copy innovations in existing products). It is a European country, Sweden, that provides the model for this approach.
For Alain Villemeur, the only means of reversing the economic decline of Europe over the last 20 years lies in combining strong support for research and development and innovation (on the Swedish model) with close control of wage costs (as in the Netherlands), and ensuring that this strategy applies also to the new members of the European Union.


Entreprises, travail - Géopolitique

« Construyendo futuros »

La faculté de sciences politiques de la UNAM (universidad nacional autónoma de México) a mis en place en 2003 un séminaire d'études prospectives. Ce séminaire, qui a intégré le noeud sudaméricain (subnodo) du Millennium Project, a mis en ligne en avril 2004 le premier numéro de sa revue électronique trimestrielle. Une rubrique " études de cas " explore l'avenir des États-Unis, avec quatre scénarios. Plusieurs textes éclairent la situation actuelle de ce pays, et des données factuelles (démographie, ressources énergétiques ...

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The Hispanic Challenge

Cet article, paru dans la revue Foreign Policy dont Samuel Huntington est un des fondateurs, diagnostique un " culture clash " au sein de la société américaine à l'image du " civilization clash " qui a rendu célèbre le professeur de Harvard (The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York : Simon and Schuster, 1996, 368 p.). Selon lui, en effet, " la division culturelle entre les Hispaniques et les anglo-protestants pourrait remplacer la division raciale entre les Noirs et les ...

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Recherche, sciences, techniques

Un aperçu des technologies dans la Silicon Valley - Tendances et Perspectives

Ce rapport, réalisé par l'ambassade de France aux États-Unis, dresse le portrait des tendances et des perspectives liées aux technologies développées dans la région californienne de la Silicon Valley. Cette vallée, composée d'un tissu serré de compétences de haut niveau, possède de nombreux centres de recherche à l'origine d'une activité économique intense. La région est aussi célèbre pour avoir été le berceau d'un nombre considérable de technologies, en particulier dans le secteur des sciences et ...

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Économie, emploi

« Employment Outlook 2002-2012 »

Le BLS observe l'évolution de l'emploi et des professions aux États-Unis depuis plus de 50 ans. Selon ses dernières projections, qui couvrent la période 2002-2012, l'emploi total devrait augmenter de près de 1,4 % par an en moyenne, soit 21,3 millions d'emplois supplémentaires, un rythme toutefois inférieur à celui de la décennie précédente (1,6 %). De plus, le nombre de postes à pourvoir pour répondre aux besoins de remplacement liés aux départs en retraite serait ...

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Économie, emploi - Géopolitique

Productivité et croissance

Le niveau de vie de la France, et plus largement de l'Union européenne, est inférieur d'environ 25 % à celui des États-Unis. Que s'est-il donc passé depuis les « Trente glorieuses », années fastes de rattrapage de l'Europe par rapport aux États-Unis ? Comment expliquer la rupture des évolutions relatives de productivité et de niveau de vie entre l'Union européenne et les États-Unis des années 1990 ? Par les nouvelles technologies ? Quelles réformes mettre en œuvre en France pour que ...

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Territoires, réseaux

Toward a New Metropolis : the Opportunity to Rebuild America

En 2030, plus de la moitié des constructions présentes sur le territoire des États-Unis auront été bâties après 2000, principalement en milieu urbain (40 % de la population en 1900, 80 % un siècle plus tard). Très mobiles à l'intérieur de leurs frontières, les Américains sont de plus en plus réactifs aux évolutions qui marquent leur société ou leur histoire personnelle (les distances parcourues ont augmenté de 50 % ces 20 dernières années), ce qui explique le bouleversement du paysage américain en ...

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Entreprises, travail

The 21st Century at Work : Forces Shaping the Future Workplace in the United States

Le département du Travail américain a demandé à la Rand Corporation une étude sur les facteurs de changements dans le domaine du travail et de l'emploi à un horizon de 10-15 ans. Les auteurs se sont intéressés à trois tendances lourdes : l'évolution démographique de la main-d'œuvre, l'impact des TIC (technologies de l'information et de la communication) et les conséquences de la mondialisation. La population active américaine devrait continuer à augmenter dans les 10 prochaines années ...

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