Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
François Grosse’s article concerns a fundamental question: the need to decouple economic growth from the growth of raw materials needs. Without this decoupling, given the growth of the world’s population and the legitimate aspirations of emerging nations to the level of development of the industrialized countries, there is a danger that global resources will quickly run out.
Drawing on the case of iron, Grosse shows, for example, that if steel production continued throughout the twenty-first century at the same exponentially increasing pace as it did in the twentieth, as much steel would be produced in a hundred years as we previously produced in a thousand. And, in 270 years’ time, we would be extracting ten thousand times more ore each year than we do today. And the same goes — though admittedly to varying degrees — for all raw materials: lead, copper, lithium, zinc etc., which shows the unsustainable character of the current growth model.
It is, therefore, urgent to detach economic growth from such a frantic consumption of natural resources. It is generally believed that one of the ways to do this is to resort to recycling. But we must be careful, says François Grosse, not to confuse the apparent and real rates of recycling, the latter depending on the consumption of raw materials and the time they remain within the economy and, hence, on the effective volume of materials available for such recycling.
Reasoning this way, it is clear that recycling alone (and what is termed the “circular economy”, which maximizes strategies of reduction, re-use and recycling in order to reduce resource consumption and pollutant release per unit of product) cannot be the solution. We have to go much further actually to avoid a rapid exhaustion of resources. We have, in fact, to achieve two successive decouplings. First, we must fundamentally decouple economic development from the total consumption of (new or recycled) raw materials; second, we must effect a complementary decoupling that enables recycling to take place.
To arrive at such an outcome, we have very greatly to reduce the quantity of raw material per unit of product; we must not content ourselves with the circular economy, but direct our efforts resolutely towards achieving a functionality-based economy, which should enable us to optimize product use and hence to satisfy needs as well as we do now, while producing less.
By way of introduction to his article, Didier Blanchet recalls two essential facts: that the number of persons aged 60 or over can currently be expected to increase, whilst the working-age population seems likely to stabilize (insofar as we are speaking still of those in the age range 20-59); and that expenditure on pensions as a proportion of GDP (13% at present) will increase correlatively in a way that is likely to continue, particularly if economic growth is weak (and assuming that retirement pensions remain at a stable level, the current replacement rate running at around 65%).
Blanchet goes on to recall the various simulations carried out for France by the Conseil d’orientation des retraites (COR; Council for Guidance on Pensions) since the early 2000s, and the impact of the reforms introduced in 1993 and 2003, showing what would have happened if these had not been adopted, first assuming a favourable economic situation, then in the much more worrying context resulting from the economic crisis and the poor economic prospects of the coming years. In so doing, he shows, in effect, the major consequences of that crisis and the very rapid deterioration of the pensions to GDP ratio. In this way he brings out the crucial role of three variables: total pension costs, rate of growth of GDP and the age at which the French begin to draw their pensions.
Having laid out the relation between these figures and shown by how much pensioners’ income would be reduced if nothing were done, Didier Blanchet — basing himself throughout on the most recent publications of the COR — stresses the need to adjust the pensionable age through two measures that will have effects on varying time-scales: on the one hand, raising the legal pensionable age and, on the other, increasing the number of years of contributions required to enjoy a full pension.
The Finance Law of 2010 abolished the taxe professionnelle (TP), the system of local business taxes that previously applied to all companies operating in France. As the Minister of the Economy, Industry and Employment stressed, this tax, long subject to criticism from both Right and Left, hit productive investments even before they created wealth, and it penalized companies based in France.
The TP has now been replaced by a “Territorial Economic Contribution” that has two components to it: on the one hand, a “Company Property Contribution”, based on property values and, on the other, a “Contribution on Company Added Value” set at the national level. This reform still gives rise to lively debate in France, particularly on account of its consequences for the autonomy and resources of local communities.
But this is not the central argument of Guillaume Sainteny’s article. He is, rather, taken aback at the way the reform was introduced and, in particular, at its having totally left out of account the issue of sustainable development, despite this having been declared a national priority at the Grenelle Environmental Summit. Sainteny shows that, quite apart from the fact that the environmental impact of the reform does not appear to have been assessed, it fails to integrate — either through exemptions or incentives — the tax measures designed to deter or promote activities on the basis of their environmental consequences.
While stressing the difficulties of any fiscal reform, Sainteny ponders the French administration’s inability to reform itself to take on board what is presented as a national priority.
The founder of the Taiwanese Acer electronics corporation has just told American microcomputer builders that they will disappear within the next 20 years. He is undoubtedly basing his argument on numerous regrettable precedents and particularly on the practice, sadly widespread in the United States and also in Europe, of outsourcing and relocating industrial production to emerging low-wage economies. This is a practice that is too common, asserts André-Yves Portnoff, in the old Western countries, which believe they can retain the “nobler” tasks of research and innovation for themselves while offloading the more low-level functions of manufacture to others.
André-Yves Portnoff condemns this illusion here and shows how such a strategy is ultimately suicidal, both at the economic and the social levels (particularly with regard to jobs), since we cannot on a long-term basis divide up functions that form a coherent system without killing off our own capacities for innovation.
Having outlined the grievous effects of this widespread practice, he explains that it is a product of a total lack of understanding of what a “knowledge economy” means (though he himself prefers to speak of a “revolution of intelligence” and a “rise of immaterial factors”). Basing his argument on numerous examples, Portnoff shows lastly that a rebirth of Europe is possible and that the key to success is… a return to industry, but an industry not in any sense in thrall to the whims of shareholders solely preoccupied with immediate financial returns, but supported by investors with the patience required for an industrial revival based on the intelligence and collective resolve of all those within the company and its stakeholders.
Not only did the economists not see the present crisis coming, but they played a large part in triggering it, argues Christian Stoffaës, and he demonstrates the degree to which the dominant paradigm of “efficient financial markets” led to extravagant financial speculation.
Blaming the circumventing of financial rules for impelling the global economy towards catastrophe, Stoffaës argues for a thorough transformation of economic thought, focussing back on the real economy, the economy of production.
Alors que la Chine a retrouvé, en 2010, un taux de croissance supérieur à 10 %, certaines usines souffriraient d’une pénurie de main-d’œuvre peu ou pas qualifiée. La situation semble par contre différente pour les postes plus qualifiés : si des pénuries commencent aussi à apparaître, l’inadéquation croissante entre les besoins et l’offre de qualifications se traduit par une hausse du taux de chômage chez les jeunes diplômés du supérieur.
« À l’horizon de 2015 et au-delà, il ne fait pas de doute que nous pouvons atteindre l’objectif ultime : nous pouvons éliminer la pauvreté. Dans la majorité des cas, l’expérience a prouvé la validité des accords du passé sur la voie à suivre ; en d’autres termes, nous savons ce qu’il faut faire. Mais cela exige un effort indéfectible, collectif et de longue durée ». Ban Ki-moon, Rapport sur les Objectifs du Millénaire pour le développement, 2008. De ...
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D’après les Nations unies, en 2010, 49,6 % des migrants internationaux seront des femmes (soit presque 100 millions), contre 46,7 % en 1960 . Si ce taux a peu évolué depuis 50 ans et est quasiment stable depuis 30 ans à l’échelle mondiale, il dissimule cependant des contrastes entre les régions et des évolutions notables dans les motivations qui poussent ces femmes à quitter leur pays d’origine.
La Bibliographie prospective du mois de mai 2010 consacre son Focus au rapport de la Commission européenne sur la stratégie économique que pourrait adopter l'Union européenne à l'horizon 2020, en remplacement de la stratégie de Lisbonne. Afin de surmonter ses faiblesses, mises au jour par la crise, l'UE, selon la Commission européenne, pourrait s'appuyer sur une croissance à la fois intelligente, durable et inclusive. Vous trouverez par ailleurs, et comme chaque mois, une sélection de comptes ...
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Le 1er novembre 2007 est entrée en vigueur la directive européenne sur les marchés d’instruments financiers (MIF). Objectif : favoriser la concurrence entre les systèmes de transactions de titres financiers au niveau paneuropéen, tout en garantissant le respect des intérêts des investisseurs. Cette mesure de libéralisation a engendré une multiplication de lieux et de modes de transaction, modifiant en profondeur le marché européen des valeurs mobilières. Cette évolution concerne à la fois les établissements financiers, les investisseurs professionnels et particuliers ...
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La mise en place des mesures du Grenelle de l’environnement et, plus largement, la recherche d’une croissance plus « verte » entraîneront-elles les créations d’emplois espérées et nécessiteront-elles de nouvelles compétences ? Les données sectorielles et les prévisions étant très rares dans ce domaine, les récents travaux du COE (Conseil d’orientation pour l’emploi) permettent d’apporter quelques éléments de réponse.
Émile Quinet offers an analysis of the Report of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, chaired by Joseph Stiglitz. He reminds us, for example, of the pertinence of the “classical critiques of GDP (Gross Domestic Product)”, the tenor of which he presents here. But while welcoming, above and beyond the Summary Report, “the impressive amount of deep scientific work” done by the Commission, he expresses amazement that it was made up exclusively of economists and that the other social sciences were sidelined.
L’enquête quinquennale de l’INSEE (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques) sur les créations d’entreprises révèle que la moitié des 215 000 entreprises créées en 2002 existaient toujours cinq ans après, en 2007. Le nombre de nouvelles entreprises a augmenté depuis 1994, ainsi que leurs chances de survie. Les conditions de mise en œuvre du projet (secteur d’activité, forme juridique choisie, montant de l’investissement initial) influent sur la pérennité de l’entreprise, ainsi ...
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For some years now, training courses in financial management that are open to all — including both adults and children — have been thriving throughout the world, particularly since the onset of the economic crisis. Public authorities and voluntary organizations hope, by way of these training modules, to impart to as many people as possible the rudiments of economics, management and finance. Given the “increasing financialization of the economy”, these latter are seen today as essential knowledge for living well. “Financial education helps people to budget, manage their income, save, invest efficiently and avoid falling victim to fraud”, explains Julien Damon.
This “new direction in social policy”, which Damon sees as ”particularly innovative” has been supported since the mid-1990s by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which has, among other bodies, published a set of recommendations for promoting the development of financial education.
After a detailed description of the work of that international institution in this area, Julien Damon outlines some examples of initiatives taken throughout the world, before focussing on the advances made in this field by France.
The European Commission was due to present proposals in 2009 for determining the budget of the Union from 2013 onwards. This budget comes today from a contribution based on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the member states and from part of the receipts from Value-Added Tax (VAT).
Discussions have, however, given rise to some bitter polemics and encountered numerous obstacles. This column by Jean-François Drevet explores the various means that might be adopted to provide the Commission with resources of its own — in particular, VAT, corporation tax, the taxation of the financial system and the carbon tax.
The introduction of a national carbon tax involves taking account of the greenhouse-gas emission pricing mechanisms that are already in place. Since the impact of emissions is the same whatever their origin, the cost-benefit ratio of emission-reduction measures is minimized when the extension of the scope of emissions subject to carbon pricing respects the single-price rule.
In concrete terms, this means that national carbon taxes must take account in Europe of the European CO2 emissions trading system, which has since 2005 constrained the CO2 emissions of five major industrial sectors, representing around 50 % of European CO2 emissions. A market mechanism for carbon pricing has, then, to be made to co-exist with a fiscal pricing mechanism and, at the same time, European rules governing markets have to be made to converge with national rules on tax.
This article begins by assessing the operation of the European market in terms of transactions and prices. It shows the degree to which the overall scheme has evolved since its initial implementation period between 2005 and 2007, and reminds us of the implications of the move to auctioning that is planned for the third phase (2013-2020). The article then reviews the choices made by the different countries that have managed to run a national carbon tax alongside the European quota system. Going beyond the French case, it concludes by asking what are the most promising ways to extend carbon pricing in Europe.
Dans le numéro de mars de son bulletin mensuel, la BCE s’intéresse à la récente dégradation des finances publiques des pays membres de l’UE (Union européenne) et envisage trois scénarios à l’horizon 2030. Au cours de l’année 2009, les déficits publics de tous les États membres se sont creusés, puisque la crise économique a entraîné une diminution de leurs recettes et une augmentation de leurs dépenses (plus ou moins importante selon la structure de leur système ...
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The Constitutional Council struck down the proposed carbon tax on 28 December 2009 because it infringed the principle of equal treatment in respect of public taxes within the company sector. The main reason cited by the Council was the exemption granted to all companies subject to the European CO2 quota system.
The combination of a national carbon tax with the European system of emissions trading in fact raises a twofold difficulty: a market mechanism for carbon pricing has to be made to co-exist with a fiscal pricing mechanism and, at the same time, European rules governing markets have to be made to converge with national rules.
To improve the scheme struck down by the Constitutional Council, it is necessary to revise the modalities for introducing the carbon tax into the company sector. To achieve this, it is useful to remember how the existing mechanisms function and what choices were made by those countries that have successfully introduced a national tax running parallel to the European CO2 quota system. This is the aim of this article, in which we also examine the different possible ways out of the present situation.
Depuis 1950, la durée annuelle du travail par actif occupé1 a baissé en moyenne de 25 % dans neuf pays européens et aux États-Unis, d’après une enquête de l’INSEE (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques). Si cette baisse s’explique en partie par des facteurs « historiques », le temps de travail pourrait cependant continuer à diminuer sous l’effet d’autres évolutions.
Is the classic model of the market, based on trade in exclusive ownership rights, still relevant? Sociologist François Cusin poses this question here, taking account of the striking development in recent years of the functionality economy, in which the sale of the use of a good has taken the place of the sale of that good alone — a trend which, in the author’s words, changes “the way of producing, marketing and consuming goods and services”.
Drawing on many examples, Cusin mentions, in particular, the process by which companies have divested themselves of material property — resorting increasingly to leasing arrangements (for buildings or vehicles and IT equipment) — and the rise of service contracts, which enable companies to maintain ‘a lasting bond with the client.’
Another crucial phenomenon, as François Cusin sees it, is the link between the functionality economy and access economy, in which “the most decisive issue [for consumers] is the availability of the basic services on which access to all other services is subsequently conditional”.
In this context, where membership of common interest networks seems primordial and where property rights are now less important than access rights, new service contracts are emerging, notes Cusin and, to back up his point, he outlines the American model of common interest developments — private residences or settlements, managed on a co-ownership basis. In this way he analyses the influence of the dual principle of functionality and access on housing arrangements.
Insurance is often perceived as a drag on the development of economic activity. Being obligatory in a number of sectors, it imposes very high — and hence deterrent — charges in certain situations, while at times requiring entrepreneurs to put in place restrictive preventive measures.
Though it seems at first sight an obstacle to free enterprise, insurance actually turns out to be a key element in economic activity, explains Jean-Pierre Daniel. First, since insurance companies manage a considerable quantity of funds, they invest part of these in the economy (stocks and shares). Second, they are crucial because they provide support and “reassurance” for entrepreneurs, by offering to “compensate them for the unfortunate consequences of a random event”.
Without insurance, many activities “quite simply could not exist”, points out Daniel, before going on to speak of the future of the profession, a future which he sees as “set fair”, particularly in view of the ageing of the population of the rich countries and “the general sense of risk aversion”.
Les PME (petites et moyennes entreprises) représentent 99,8 % (19,6 millions) des entreprises de l’Union européenne (UE) à 27, emploient 67 % de la main-d’œuvre et créent 58 % de la valeur ajoutée (selon Eurostat) : elles représentent donc un enjeu de taille pour la compétitivité, l’innovation, l’emploi dans l’UE et ses pays membres. Pourtant, leur développement est entravé par les difficultés à financer leur activité et leurs investissements. La Banque centrale européenne (BCE) lance une enquête ...
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Dans un récent article publié par la Harvard Business School, les deux chercheurs à l’origine du concept de « Chinamérique » (ou « Chimérique », pour reprendre le jeu de mots des auteurs), qui décrit la relation économique néfaste entre la Chine et les États-Unis, expliquent pourquoi la fin de ce « modèle » est souhaitable pour l’ensemble des équilibres macroéconomiques mondiaux.
Ce chapitre est extrait du Rapport Vigie 2016 de Futuribles International, qui propose un panorama structuré des connaissances et des incertitudes des experts que l'association a mobilisés pour explorer les évolutions des 15 à 35 prochaines années sur 11 thématiques.
- Métavers et ‘mirror world’ : vers la numérisation du monde ?
- Relocalisations industrielles ou relocalisations à proximité