Futuribles Journal n° 198

Économie, emploi - Entreprises, travail

Les grandes tendances de l'économie mondiale. Un exercice de prospective néerlandais (1ère partie)

Major Trends in the Global Economy : A Futures Exercise from the Netherlands (Part 1)
Four Scenarios on the Global Economy : A Futures Exercise from the Netherlands (Part 2)

The Central Planning Bureau of the Netherlands is a creative institution which provides an analysis and foresight function to public sector decision-makers in the Low Countries. It undertook a prospective study on the global economy from 1990-2015, as preamble to the elaboration of alternative scenarios for the Netherlands economy. These articles, drawn from a study published in 1992 in English under the title Scanning the Future: a Long Term Scenario Study of the World Economy 1990-2015 (SDI Publishers), present the major trends of global economic evolution, the strengths and weaknesses of diverse regions and, finally, the principal determinants of the scenarios the Bureau has elaborated. They first specify a typology of principal concepts from political economy, then present a brief panorama of the development dynamics of different regions. Next, they extract from this analysis the principal determining factors to be used in constructing the global economic scenarios. And finally, they describe the key variables used to develop four scenarios from among those most probable, up to the year 2015.
- The scenario of "the great swing" (from Atlantic to Pacific) is characterized by a strong free-market dynamic under Asiatic leadership.
- The scenario of European Renaissance portrays a globalization of the economy, fortunately tempered by a European Community policy.
- The scenario of "World Crisis" postulates the creation of economic zones around Japan, the United States and Western Europe which prevent the diffusion of progress and the opening of markets, thereby generating a global recession.
- Finally, the "Balanced Growth" scenario is one of sustainable development, at once multipolar and cooperative.
The authors next demonstrate the use of these projections for elaborating strategic choices, by distinguishing among other things the "no regrets" policies, valuable in all circumstances, and those which implicate some risk-taking. They provide an illustration of these by showing, for the European Community, the lessons that emerge from the exercise for social and industrial policies.

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