For some years now, prospects for the development of productivity – and, by extension, for increased economic growth – have been much debated, particularly among economists. While there has never been so much talk of the rise of digital technologies and the upheavals they could bring – and even of a “Third Industrial Revolution” – in a large number of so-called advanced countries, we actually find a trend in recent times towards lower productivity growth. Now if such a trend were to become established, it might go along with an era of lasting economic stagnation. In this issue, Futuribles initiates a discussion on this question of the slowdown in productivity gains and its consequences, particularly on the future state of jobs and employment.
Charles du Granrut lays out the core issues here and the main positions of the researchers contributing to the debate. He demonstrates the essential and yet not easily measurable role of the technological factor (because of the indicators currently employed), and also the possible limits to analyses originating mainly from the USA.