Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
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...
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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.
The disintegration of the Balkans is occurring just at the time when Western Europe, by contrast, is trying to form a union. This is reviving an old debate on the European continent for which, split as we are between respect for borders and recognition of nations, no satisfactory solution has yet been found. Certainly no answer is forthcoming for the Balkans, where the artificially created federal states did not survive the wish of the inhabitants to determine their own destiny, even if the price was bloody conflicts.
What solution can be proposed now to the problem of Kosovo, in order that its example should not spread, nor lead to the formation of many small, independent states, nor - conversely - equally artificial regional groupings, which will soon fall prey to the same tensions?
Elvire Letourneur-Fabry, went to interview Pierre Hassner about the possible ways of resolving the conflict and, more generally, about the rules of arbitration that might be adopted to deal with the problem of minorities. The celebrated professor of political science warns us against overly dogmatic notions that would encourage a systematic preference for national or supranational solutions.
As he analyses the situation in the Balkans, Pierre Hassner argues for a policy that would, if nothing else, prevent the conflicts from proliferating. More generally, he stresses the fragility of the compromises in Europe, and the difficulty that the European Union will have if it is to create for itself a genuine foreign policy and a common defence policy capable of imposing peace on its immediate neighbours.
La première livraison de l'année 2000 de la revue Transfer est entièrement consacrée au syndicalisme et à ses mutations dans le contexte actuel de mondialisation. Dans son article d'introduction, Otto Jacobi entend démontrer que la coopération syndicale internationale ne peut réussir qu'à condition que soient éliminées les tendances au protectionnisme et au dumping. Au niveau européen, remarque-t-il, la coopération syndicale doit faire face à de nombreux changements induits par la révolution économique en cours. Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormik parcourt ...
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It is often claimed that France stands out from the rest of Europe in social policy, because in France state intervention is more important than collective bargaining; a current example would be the legislation known as the "Aubry laws" on reducing working hours.
Nevertheless, with evidence from a recent seminar organized by the Council for Economic Analysis, Gilbert Cette shows here that even in countries with a strong tradition of collective bargaining (e.g. Germany, the Netherlands), the measures to reduce working hours were introduced after both agreements with trade unions and intervention (sometimes forceful) by the state. Also, in varying degrees, the role of the actors and the procedures have changed, with the social partners not always showing the leadership that is often attributed to them. In Italy, for example, the government rushed to sustain collective bargaining that had stalled, or in the Netherlands it had a key role in launching the negotiations.
The examples of the five countries that Gilbert Cette uses for his study lead him to conclude that "the existence of active bargaining is not a contradiction of state intervention"; on the contrary, he argues, interventions via legislation and regulations actually complement collective bargaining.
Le marché du travail dans les villes chinoises a dû subir la pression croissante des demandes d'emploi qui résultent de la réforme du système économique. Pendant plus de trois décennies d'économie planifiée, les citoyens urbains chinois ont occupé des postes garantis par le gouvernement. Aujourd'hui, la crise du marché du travail pourrait être à l'origine d'une grave crise sociale. Équilibrer l'offre et la demande d'emploi urbains est non seulement une question économique mais ...
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Incontournable ! Oui, ce livre est incontournable par l'actualité des questions abordées, la pertinence des solutions proposées ou, sur certains points, seulement esquissées, la fermeté et la clarté des propos. L'histoire sert à prendre la mesure des changements structurels intervenus (la globalisation financière bien sûr, mais aussi l'intégration européenne, l'affirmation sur la scène politique et financière des pays émergents...), comme elle permet de saisir le poids respectif des discontinuités et des inerties. Michel Aglietta et Sandra Moatti ...
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Outre la traditionnelle description de l'évolution récente et des perspectives du marché du travail dans ses 29 pays membres, on trouve dans cette livraison 2000 des Perspectives de l'emploi de l'OCDE des études approfondies sur plusieurs sujets d'intérêt. Les disparités régionales du chômage et de l'emploi, particulièrement fortes en Italie, en Allemagne, en Belgique et en Espagne sont abordées au chapitre 2, avec un aperçu sur la mobilité géographique de la main d'œuvre. Le ...
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Malgré les changements intervenus depuis trente ans, la société française reste bloquée, tel est le constat de Michel Crozier et Bruno Tilliette. En examinant quelques domaines caractéristiques mais divers, les processus d'innovation, la lutte contre le chômage, les politiques publiques, l'aménagement du territoire, la formation des élites, le système éducatif ou encore la santé, nos auteurs tentent de nouveau de cerner les différents types de dysfonctionnements mais aussi de proposer des pistes pour s'en affranchir. L'absence ...
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Forte des cinq années qu'elle a consacrées jusqu'en 1998 à la Cellule de prospective de la Commission à suivre l'évolution des initiatives locales dans les quinze États membres de l'Union européenne et des multiples entretiens qu'elle a eu avec les acteurs de terrain, Marjorie Jouen nous livre dans cet ouvrage une réflexion sur les nouvelles façons d'aborder la création d'emploi et la cohésion régionale, qui va bien au-delà du simple bilan. Alors que ...
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Reprenant l'image de la pyramide de la prospérité ajoutée sur les billets de banque américains par Franklin Roosevelt, Lester Thurow étudie un à un les différents étages de la pyramide tels qu'ils se profilent dans le contexte nouveau de l'« économie du savoir ». Car il s'agit d'une économie du savoir et non de l'information, insiste l'auteur dès le départ, passant en revue les éléments marquants de la « troisième révolution ». De son analyse, il ressort ...
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La première partie de France, portrait social, consacrée traditionnellement à une vue d'ensemble de la situation conjoncturelle (elle porte sur l'année 1999 et le premier semestre 2000), fournirait plutôt des raisons d'être optimiste, puisqu'elle témoigne successivement de la reprise de l'emploi, de la progression du revenu disponible, du dynamisme de la consommation et de la hausse de la natalité. Les dossiers qui suivent donnent une image plus nuancée de la situation sociale réelle de la ...
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La progression des accords régionaux au niveau mondial (Union européenne, Accord de libre-échange nord-américain, Mercosur...) doit-elle être interprétée comme l'une des modalités du processus de mondialisation, ou au contraire comme une alternative ou une réaction à la logique de libéralisation multilatérale préconisée par l'Organisation mondiale du commerce ? Telle est la question centrale de cet ouvrage concis et dense qui expose de manière très pédagogique les grandes évolutions qui caractérisent l'économie mondiale, tout en rappelant les principaux arguments ...
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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.