Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Le stock de la dette des pays en développement atteignait 2 400 milliards de dollars US fin 2000. Le poids de leur endettement est en hausse constante depuis 30 ans, sans que les mesures correctrices, de plus en plus généreuses, ne parviennent à en alléger le fardeau. Il s'agit là d'un phénomène particulièrement lié à la mondialisation qui, d'une part, renforce la marginalisation des pays les plus pauvres (notamment sur le marché des capitaux auquel ils n ...
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Dans un long article de la Havard Business Review, Charles Handy s'appuie sur Tocqueville pour éclairer le futur du capitalisme américain. Il procède d'abord à quelques rappels. Tocqueville a bien vu l'une des raisons de la réussite américaine et de sa permanence. Les Américains, notamment les Puritains, sont venus dans un pays vierge pour construire une société nouvelle. Ils avaient, et gardent, confiance en eux-mêmes. La plupart sont convaincus qu'aujourd'hui est meilleur qu'hier et ...
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Le thème de l'avenir des entreprises publiques appartient à la plus proche actualité avec la loi du 10 février 2000 sur l'électricité, la privatisation en cours de Gaz de France et les discussions au niveau européen sur les privatisations. Il a inspiré le programme de la journée d'études organisée par l'Académie des sciences morales et politiques dont ce livre est issu. En France, la grande époque des entreprises publiques est marquée par trois dates : 1936 et ...
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Quels sont les véritables enjeux de la mondialisation ? Quelles sont les conséquences culturelles de la globalisation ? Comment penser l'ère post-coloniale dans laquelle nous sommes entrés ? Dans cet ouvrage à la croisée de la sociologie, de la politique et de l'ethnographie, Arjun Appadurai tente de répondre à ces questions en se concentrant sur la dimension culturelle de la mondialisation. Anthropologue indo-américain, proche de l'école de pensée américaine baptisée cultural studies, il met au centre de son analyse les ...
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Y a-t-il 3 % de ménages pauvres en France ou 14,8 % ? Comme le montrent Nathalie Legendre, Jean-Michel Hourriez, Robert Le Verre et Jean-Pierre Hays, tout dépend de l'échelle d'équivalence retenue, de la définition du revenu adoptée et du mode de fixation du seuil de pauvreté. Depuis les travaux d'Ernst Engel, les statisticiens utilisent des échelles d'équivalence pour homogénéiser des ménages de structures différentes. Dans l'échelle modifiée de l'OCDE (Organisation de coopération et de développement ...
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Fils d'un émigrant chinois qui s'est installé aux États-Unis, l'auteur de ce livre, Gordon G. Chang, a longtemps travaillé pour un cabinet d'avocats américain implanté en Chine, avant de se consacrer à l'écriture de cet ouvrage qui n'annonce rien moins que l'effondrement du régime politique chinois aux alentours de 2006. « Aujourd'hui, quelque part dans ce pays, il y a quelqu'un qui mettra fin à l'État chinois dans sa forme actuelle ...
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This article examines the most recent assessments of the spread of information technology (IT) in the French economy and their contribution to growth; these evaluations are accompanied by some comparisons with the United States.
The authors start by looking at the impact of IT on the French economy, focusing first on the share of IT output in total production, and then on how they have spread throughout the whole economy. On this second point, they point out the difficulties of conducting an accurate evaluation in the absence of appropriate indicators and comparable data covering a long period. Nevertheless, they conclude that the IT have shown a strong upward trend in France, albeit to a lesser extent than in the United States.
In the second part of the article, the authors investigate the contribution of the IT (roughly defined as computer and telecommunications hardware and software) to growth. Here, too, they emphasize the problems of making an evaluation, but conclude that the contribution to the growth of GDP in France of all the IT taken together was probably on average around 0.3% per annum between 1967 and 1999. They note that this contribution, though far from negligible, was well below the comparable figure for the United States.
La réduction du temps de travail n'est pas un phénomène récent. Ce mouvement paraît universel et assez tendanciel, mais les raisons des réductions observées sont très variées selon les pays et sans doute davantage selon les époques, la lutte contre le chômage étant évidemment la plus fréquente en période de sous emploi. C'est autour de cette question de l'influence de la RTT sur l'emploi et le chômage que s'organise cette livraison d'Économie Internationale. L ...
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Jean-Luc Racine sets out here a masterly account of the current transition in India, a transition that he argues will allow this enormous country, with over a billion inhabitants, to overcome its internal contradictions and become a major player in tomorrow's world.
This important transition is taking place first of all at the domestic, political level through the decline of the Congress Party and the rise of the Bharat People's Party (BJP) which champions the Hindu nationalism in spite of the increase in the number of regionalist parties.
The economic element of the transition has taken the form of a two-stage programme of limited but continuous moves towards liberalisation. This policy has required major structural reforms, but these have been carried out cautiously, with a view to re-establishing the main equilibria, and ensuring high levels of economic growth, which will be judged in the end by its capacity to promote more equitable human development.
In the second half of the article, devoted to India's foreign policy, Jean-Luc Racine first describes the policy adopted to make the country a nuclear power, and then shows how this affects India's handling of its geopolitical relations with its neighbours, especially its tense and ambiguous interactions with Pakistan and China. Lastly, he examines how New Delhi is trying to establish itself as one of the main players on the world scene while at the same time maintaining a completely new style of dialogue with Washington.
The portrait of India sketched by Jean-Luc Racine is of a giant who is gradually waking up, of a country that, stifling its internal tensions and inequalities, is at the stage of rapid take-off and is preparing to play a major role in the world of the future.
André-Yves Portnoff has just read (in the Italian version) Amartya Sen's most recent book, originally published in the United States under the title Development as Freedom. Here he discusses its main ideas, in particular:
- freedom is a universal value, not the exclusive right of Westerners; it is a factor in development and not an incidental by-product of it -and a factor that is all the more decisive, now that the economy is increasingly concerned with "intangibles", and human beings are more than ever "the only form of wealth";
- democracy and human rights go hand-in-hand with development; they can follow on afterwards but, more certainly, they are an essential prerequisite for it, e.g. the right to health, education, information, communication, etc.;
- the economic indicators are devised so that they attribute value only to those things that are dear in monetary terms and not that are dear to us (to quote Denis de Rougemont), consequently they cannot on their own take full account of the human capital which is the crucial factor in the process of development...
However, Amartya Sen's book goes much further than these general findings. As readers will see from the extracts and examples chosen by André-Yves Portnoff, Sen enunciates a real philosophy of development at the same time as he explores practical strategies.
In his latest book, Les Structures sociales de l'économie [The Social Structures of Economy], Pierre Bourdieu observes that economists' models do not accurately reflect reality. He therefore argues that the discipline should be restructured, taking as the starting point a consideration of the economic actors and the areas that they act upon.
Gérard Dréan accepts this view, but stresses that -although Bourdieu would probably deny it- the proposed approach is closely related to the methodological individualism that lies at the heart of the Austrian School, too frequently forgotten because of its free-market stance...
At the end of 1999 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, responsible for US employment statistics) published a series of projections for employment in the United States between now and 2008. Charles du Granrut presents some of the main findings here, showing that, even if the rate of growth slows down, the present situation of virtually full employment is likely to continue.
According to the BLS, the American economy has been "tertiarized" and the trends noted since 1976 will probably be maintained in the coming decade. However, as Charles du Granrut stresses, "the image of an American economy based largely on services is too simplistic": for one thing, the growth of many services is closely linked to manufacturing; for another, the growth of services is strongly tied to demand and the arrangements made to satisfy that demand.
Lastly, the nature of employment in the United States is also changing: the level of skills and qualifications required are in general rising, which does nothing to reduce inequalities (according to the BLS, the highest rates of growth are in the best-paid but also in the less well-paid jobs).
This is a time of "new growth", thanks to the IT (information technology) and the widespread confidence, indeed conviction, that we are at the beginning of a new Kondratiev upturn, launched into a new era of stable prosperity.
Michel Godet, sceptical as always of generally accepted ideas, warns us to be cautious. True, Europe is currently enjoying a new growth spurt, which furthermore has created new jobs. But this phenomenon, here in Europe as in the United States, has little to do with the IT.
The impact of the IT obviously should not be overlooked, since they have undoubtedly helped in the development of a new economy, in particular by stimulating competition and therefore lower prices. Yet the new growth should not be overestimated on the basis of the Nasdac and the stock market bubble which will ultimately burst.
In any case, Godet argues, convinced that human beings are the only real source of wealth and that the future depends on what they want, the growth cycle theories (especially that of Kondratiev) are illusory. The new growth cannot continue without generating adverse side-effects and consequently in Europe, with its ageing population, weak and fluctuating demand.
People are being exposed to, and are more aware of, rising levels of transport noise, which (despite higher standards and the progress made by the motor manufacturers) is likely to get even worse as road traffic, in particular, increases.
Having made this worrying observation, the authors look at how this nuisance can be assessed in monetary terms and how much we are prepared to pay in order to overcome this decline in the quality of our environment.
They demonstrate that various methods of evaluation exist (both "hedonistic" and "contingent" analyses), and their results are remarkably similar and reliable. However, they stress that little notice is taken of these results in decision-making processes, partly because the views of special interest groups often carry more weight than more objective criteria.
Finally, the authors offer suggestions for possible action, drawing on the experience of other countries. They examine how better use might be made of such studies in decision-making, which should also take account of the "public good", whose definition is often a source of confusion.
The Italian industrial areas (districts with small and medium-sized firms, linked by local networks) are an excellent model. Their micro-enterprises, well known for their competitiveness, their entrepreneurial spirit, their capacity to innovate and skill in adapting to the market, are generally the heirs of the long Italian tradition of craftsmanship; they have now organized themselves into networks that make them extremely efficient.
As Florence Vidal clearly demonstrates, these Italian industrial areas are flourishing and make a major contribution to the good reputation of Italian goods. Their very good results (200 industrial areas in 1998, with 2 200 000 employees and 42.5 % of manufacturing jobs) make them key elements in the Italian economy as a whole. As each one specializes in producing just one product, in a flexible system of almost total vertical integration, they benefit from considerable economies of scale, and they are renowned for their good design, creativity and efficiency.
The areas are complex systems that rely on network coordinators who look after the links with national and international markets and funding for projects. They also cooperate in consortia for specific projects, and hence benefit substantially from sharing costs, while also being supported by many local agencies that encourage their development and back their interests by fostering social cohesion, entrepreneurship, product specialization, flexible working and interactive governance.
Florence Vidal examines whether this admirable concept is transferable. The industrial areas are at present concentrated in Central and Northern Italy, but will they continue to prosper and spread to the South, and perhaps to other European countries? Efforts are being made in this direction, with varied results.
As for the future, what will happen when the links based on geographical proximity are replaced by telecommunications links? Will it be possible to reconcile globalization, competitiveness and e-commerce with locally based social and cultural groupings relying on social integration? Will the industrial areas be able to cope with moving into the virtual world and become crucial links in worldwide networks? The author concludes with several scenarios.
The arrival on the labour market of the generations born at the bottom of the demographic cycle just as the big 'baby boom' generations are reaching retirement is likely to mean that the economically active population of Europe will fall by 30 million. In France alone, from now until 2020 the population aged between 25 and 54 years could well decline by 30 to 50 000 persons per year.
Consequently, explains François Michaux, we may be facing a lasting labour shortage, especially of skilled workers, particularly if economic growth continues at a high level. He observes that this phenomenon is already making itself felt in the metallurgical sector, in France as well as the other industrialized countries.
He therefore examines the measures already adopted and available in order to make the most of the existing potential labour force, to 'activate' those not currently working and to prolong the working lives of older workers - though this will require, he stresses, a major investment in training that carries the obvious risk of spiralling costs.
But in Michaux's view, it is doubtful whether these measures will be adequate to offset the labour shortages that he foresees, and as a result, he thinks that it will be necessary for France to resort to bringing in foreign workers, a policy already being pursued in the United States and Spain.
The French system of unemployment benefit is unsuitable and should be reformed, according to Chantal Euzéby.
The system was created in a period of full employment, and indeed it has been through two reforms (in 1984 and 1992): the first made a distinction between the insurance element (the "Assedics") and "national solidarity" element (allocations specifically to maintain the income of the less fortunate and to help them find jobs); the second aimed to prevent further growth of expenditures on benefits. Yet as a result, the system was no less unfair (more than half the unemployed do not qualify for benefit) and unsuitable, offering too few incentives to seek work, especially in the context of current changes in the labour market, with the growth in insecure temporary, part-time jobs...
The author therefore stresses the need to reform the French unemployment benefit system, so as to make it fairer, to adapt it to cope with the moves from job-to-job now expected, to voluntary social work, and to improve the incentives to seek work. This would mean reassessing the division into insurance and income supplement branches, in order especially to provide better cover against risks, above all for the most vulnerable people, and job opportunities for the unskilled.
As the baby boom generations prepare to retire from work, the problem of the future of pensions is looming with increasing urgency. The topic has often been discussed in the pages of Futuribles, with regard to France and the other industrialized countries. The crunch time is now near in France, and many reports have been devoted to the subject over the last two decades, in increasing quantities in recent years.
Following the report of the Commissioner of the Plan on "The Future of our Pensions" and the study by the Economic and Social Council on "The Social and Demographic Outlook to 2020-2040", which we have already reviewed, a study has recently been published by a former Minister of Social Affairs, René Teulade, which has enabled the present French Prime Minister to put an end to the procrastination of many previous governments, all of whom recoiled at the challenge offered by the indispensable and unavoidable need to reform the French pension system.
Alain Parant reviews here the analysis of the future of pensions made in the "Teulade Report" and its main recommendations. He shows that, while all those who write about the subject agree on the scale of the problem, René Teulade is unusual in displaying great optimism about the outlook for economic and job growth - this optimism allows him to discount any risk of major crisis, on condition that some small adjustments are made.
Alain Parant sets out to demonstrate why he finds such optimism "irresponsible", stressing in particular the poor performance of France with regard to employment and therefore the doubts that raises about the desirability of extending the number of years that have to be worked in order to qualify for a pension. Lastly, he criticizes the absence of a real willingness to undertake reforms and emphasizes the consequent dangers.
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.
- Le conflit économique entre les États-Unis et la Chine : point d’étape et perspectives
- La croissance de la population mondiale : une tendance lourde et durable