Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
In this short exercise in intuitive futurology, Jean Saint-Geours highlights three basic trends in global change.
The first relates to the phenomenon of globalization that is especially obvious in the spheres of the environment, finance and economics. In view of their growing interdependence, the author also stresses the systemic risks involved and, consequently, the need for further regulation.
Alongside these aspects, he argues that the spirit of competition and conquest that "encourages initiative, effort and invention", should be accompanied by new collective demands for greater cooperation and control.
Finally, insofar as globalization carries with it a risk of homogenization, it is hardly surprising that there should be a revival of particularisms (such as insistence on religious or cultural identities) which in turn will require moves towards a new trade-off between globalization and diversity.
The authors examine the relations between generations and argue, in essence, that the transfers between younger and older groups, both public and private, that are increasingly discussed quite appropriately in the context of how pensions are to be financed in future, cannot be properly understood without taking into account family relationships and structures.
They show that the debate on the future of pensions often focuses too narrowly on two players : the market and the state (and on two systems : redistribution and capitalization). They emphasize the need to consider financial flows within the family group, which can differ enormously depending upon the family's resources, the numbers and preferences of each generation.
After discussing the key arguments put forward in support of capitalization and of redistribution, they stress the crucial role of the family and how this role can change as the number of generations rises and resources are increasingly switched within and between generations. The authors illustrate their thesis with data available for France, but it is clearly also applicable to any country with an ageing population.
Every year, the international organizations such as the United Nations, OECD and the European Commission publish reports that
- although they do not specifically include forecasts - constitute valuable reference works and mines of information for those interested in the state of the world and the main trends for change.
Three reports about global economic and social development are particularly authoritative. Two are produced by the World Bank: the World Development Report (the 1999 edition will appear shortly) and a document entitled
Global Economic Prospects and the Developing Countries. They are supplemented by two other useful World Bank publications, World Development Indicators and the World Bank Atlas, which provide key statistical data.
The third report is produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the title Human Development Report; the 1999 edition came out before the summer.
Michel Beaud reviews here the 1999 editions that have appeared so far (not, obviously, the World Bank report that is not yet published).
The reports show, above all, that despite some improvements, the Asian financial crisis - quite apart from the upheavals that it caused - has brought about a slowing of growth and that, overall, inequalities (especially between North and South) have worsened.
Michel Beaud stresses that while the World Bank remains faithful to its free market stance, it cannot overlook the increase in systemic risks. A minimum of public intervention appears to be indispensable if the fine motives of the international organizations are not to become no more than pious hopes.
The text reproduced here forms the introduction and conclusion of a book by Guy Aznar La Fin des années chômage. La stratégie de l'emploi pluriel. In addition to its main purpose - to describe a strategy that will provide jobs for all within five years and reduce unemployment - the book is a plea against the prevailing fatalism in France and in Europe and in favour of creating a desirable future. This is the basic message - readers can judge for themselves - of the extracts we have chosen to publish.
The book is neither a novel nor a literary exercise. According to Guy Aznar, unemployment is such an integral part of our society that we no longer dare to imagine an alternative. He, however, takes the opposite position and builds a scenario in which "the 5 million people who are currently sidelined from the French social game are able to join in". The author does not pretend to have discovered the one and only magic solution. On the contrary, he is indignant about the tendency to be obsessed with a single approach, and instead he takes a range of existing European proposals and combines them in a comprehensive strategy in favour of "multifaceted employment" (l'emploi pluriel).
This approach would involve work as both employee and freelance, regular and itinerant, putting together a package consisting of a variety of work patterns, simultaneously or successively, alternating with other activities for different periods and hours per day. Nevertheless, it is not a plea for total deregulation, but rather for a new social contract.
Véronique Hespel and Michel Thierry present their synopsis of a report commissioned by the French Government on services provided to individuals (care of young children, aid to the elderly or handicapped).
Starting with a diagnosis of the existing system, they underscore its complexity and poor performance. As is often the case in matters of social policy over time, new measures have been added incrementally, with a consequent multiplication of administrative bodies. The result is a costly maze which, although it created jobs, was not adapted to needs and in the end was not manageable.
Asked to make proposals for improving the efficiency of the system without destroying jobs or compromising the balance of public finances, the authors came up with several recommendations inspired by a three-part preoccupation:
- to rationalize and impose uniformity on the melange of services,
- to restructure assistance by targeting the most needy households, and
- to put in place a policy of professionalization in the helping services.
Precise measures are proposed. They are succinctly described in the second part of the article published here.
Beside the Hespel-Thierry Report (cf. Futuribles n°245, pp.31-44), two other reports on the helping professions were published in France in 1998. They are issued by the Council on Economic Analysis (Conseil d'Analyse Économique) attached to the Office of the Prime Minister.
Gilbert Cette compares the three reports which, although they agree on many observations, sometimes come to different recommendations.
Dans une Europe marquée par un niveau de chômage élevé, où des groupes de population restent durablement exclus de l'accès au monde du travail, des questions de fond resurgissent régulièrement dans le débat public. Faut-il découpler complètement droit au travail et droit au revenu d'existence, pour permettre aux personnes privées d'emploi d'avoir au moins des revenus décents ? Les différentes variantes de « l'allocation universelle » sont-elles pertinentes pour combattre la grande pauvreté ? Comment rendre le droit au ...
(190 more words)
The future of pensions, mainly based on the principle of redistribution, provokes legitimate concern in European countries, due not only to the aging of the population but also to the evolving socio-economic context. While we may be unable to predict how the latter will evolve in the next decades, some trends are worrisome : globalization of the economy, for example, and its corollary of international competitiveness, forces entreprises, to be more cost-competitive and to minimize their contributions to social programs, including the unemployment problem.
In such a context, it is not difficult for some to raise the spectre of failure of the redistributive pension system and the spectre of intergenerational warfare, while others promote the merits of capitalization. To set capitalization and pay-as-you-go in opposition is nevertheless a false debate, according to Giovanni Tamburi. These two techniques of financing are more complementary than opposing. In fact, many European countries have made highly opportune reforms and are evolving toward a mixed system.
The author describes these reforms and shows how elements of capitalization can be introduced into the systems of pay-as-you-go (investing part of the contributions into saving funds) and concludes by describing the costs and modalities of financing pensions. He stresses that pay-as-you-go systems jeopardize job creation.
As we have stressed many times in Futuribles when discussing French economic growth, the employment response has been weak compared with other industrialized countries. Arnaud Gérardin demonstrates here that the situation is gradually getting better. In the '70s, it took an increase of at least 2.6 % in GDP to generate growth in employment. This figure fell to 2.2 % in the '80s and should come close to 1.2 % in the '90s.
The author goes on to describe the factors which have contributed to this improvement and to identify their respective influence :
- the first element is development within the sector of tertiary activities, which is important because apparent labor productivity there is generally weaker than in industry ;
- the increase in part-time work, especially since 1992, should be a second factor ;
- the development of short-term employment contracts is a third element ;
- last, the reduction of social expenditures within the framework of the quinquennial law, coupled with a moderate increase in wages, has probably contributed to the general amelioration.
Arnaud Gérardin translates the contributions into percentages : 10 % for the internal changes within the sectors of the economy, 20 % for the development of part time work, 20 to 30 % for the development of short term contractual work, and 20 to 30 % for the policy aimed at reducing social expenditures.
It is nevertheless important to note that with the number of employees and job seekers increasing in average by 140,000 per year (that means 1 % of private sector employment), the growth rate required to stabilize unemployment is greater than the rate which can keep employment constant. If about 1.2 % is sufficient today to stabilize employment, it would take 2.2 % growth to keep unemployment at a constant share of the work force.
Economist Friedrich List (1789-1846) was contemporaneous with the birth of railways, German uncertainties before Bismarck, and the rise of the United States.
He dreamed of a unified or " common " market within the German market, based on the new possibilities of transportation and protection from external competition (the Zollverein). This would permit new enterprises some time to grow strong enough to face foreign ones.
He was often described as a national-protectionist, a thesis accepted by Emmanuel Todd, who introduces this republication of List by Gallimard. In reality, he was a liberal, although a realistic one. Before facing the outside world, the basics have to be reinforced.
List lived in several countries, where he tried to influence decision makers. He wrote everywhere in the language of his host country. " Free trade is profitable to individuals and the States ". However, during the development phase, protectionism is vital. Regardless of the brilliance of his analyses, List was unsuccessful in efforts to influence the course of enterprises which he helped to launch in the States and later in Germany.
He found his most stiking illustrations in the United States, which he visited to observe the construction of railways. His "National System of Political Economy", written in 1841, was very much studied in the United States. Conceived and written primarily in Paris, it sheds light on the current European debate. We provide three excerpts in this issue. One is on the necessity of strengthening industries before facing cosmopolitan competition. Another is a plea for confederation of peoples in order to secure a perpetual peace. It took Europe a hundred years of suicidal war before it would seriously listen to a message that the world at large is still not ready to accept, despite the United Nations. In the third excerpt, List identified the rational behind the success of America, which was already visible in his times.
Working Time in the Public Service. A Synthesis of the Report Presented by the Commission on Working Time, Jacques Roché
The French government has made reduction of working hours one of its essential priorities in the fight against unemployment. A first law was passed in June 1998, stipulating that by the first of January 2002 the legal working week will be reduced to 35 hours from 39 hours.
But the main employer in France is the state (with 2.2 million employees); the public and para-public sectors together employ between 4 and 6 million (see the article by Annie Brenot-Ouldali). One of the unanswered questions is how the reduction of working hours will affect the quality of service of the public sector, which is already notorious for its relaxed attitude to working time.
The ministry responsible for reform and decentralization of the public service appointed Jacques Roché to head an interdepartmental inquiry on the topic. His mandate was 1) to conduct a comprehensive survey on regulations and practices pertaining to working time and overtime in the public service; and 2) to explore the ways to organize work to improve the quality of service with a working week of 35 hours. The published text is a synthesis of the report presented by the interdepartmental commission.
It starts with an analysis of the situation, which stresses the difficulty of giving a precise estimate of the time spent at work due to the different situations and conditions of work. It provides us nevertheless with useful information about hours of work per week.
The second part summarizes the Commission's proposals. It stresses especially the need to couple reduction with reorganization of working time and with a modernization of the public service, which Jacques Roché says should be undertaken to improve working conditions.
Exclusion: From Blindness to Clairvoyance, Xavier Godinot
This text by Xavier Godinot is not future-oriented, although poverty does seem to be on the rise, even if the means to eradicate it quickly may be conceivable (dixit Muhammad Yunus). The more worrisome element is an invariance in attitudes toward the phenomenon.
Xavier Godinot starts with a series of facts which have been kept hidden for a long time. They reveal that richer countries which are held up as models of humans' rights, entire populations have been exterminated, deported, sterilized or interned. He gives some examples to illustrate and denounce the denial and hiding, both individual and collective, which are the core subject of this article.
He attempts to understand and explain the sources of our blindness to social phenomena which bother us and our tendency to hide them. This possibly unconscious behavior calls for a deliberate attitude of vigilance to the feelings and processes of social exclusion, the instinctive urge to eliminate individuals or entire populations which for some reason do not fit our norms, frighten us, and are therefore rejected.
The same discomfort we feel in the presence of personal handicaps feeds our attitudes toward victims of social inequalities, and Godinot warns us against the progressive but irreversible processes of exclusion. Beyond a call to human charity, he underlines the constant danger of an apartheid and the essential role of solidarity in development.
À l'occasion du colloque de Cerisy organisé autour du thème « Prospective et gouvernance » du 4 au 10 juin 1999, Repères prospectifs a tenu à introduire le débat en sortant un dossier spécial sur la question. C'est ainsi qu'une série d'articles sont réunis autour de la problématique de l'État, de ses marges de manœuvre décisionnelles, de la démocratie à l'échelle nationale et locale... et du rôle de la prospective dans ces différents domaines à l ...
(192 more words)
Ce rapport du Conseil d'analyse économique et social, rédigé sous la houlette de Gilbert Cette, dresse un état des lieux du développement du temps partiel en France. Comparant la situation française à ce qui se passe dans d'autres pays, l'auteur situe la France dans une position intermédiaire entre les pays d'Europe du Nord (Danemark, Norvège, Pays-Bas, notamment), dans lesquels plus de 20 % des travailleurs sont à temps partiel (moins de 30 heures par semaine) et ceux ...
(157 more words)
Publié dans une collection dont l'ambition est d'éclairer les débats publics jugés trop simplistes ou bien inutilement confus, cet opuscule est un condensé des écrits de Jacques Bichot sur la question des retraites. Il s'adresse, en priorité, aux non-lecteurs de « Quelles retraites en l'an 2000 ? », son précédent livre paru en 1993. Remettant l'ouvrage sur le métier, l'auteur y dénonce à nouveau l'organisation des retraites, qui n'a rien de sociale, et le refus ...
(345 more words)
Cette étude collective, en faisant un tour d'horizon de cinq pays, tente de répondre à trois questions à propos des cadres : faut-il mesurer leur temps de travail ? Quelles sont les organisations les plus favorables à la maîtrise du temps ? Quelle place tiennent-ils dans les sociétés ? Une synthèse transversale et une analyse par pays offre au lecteur plusieurs clés d'entrée. Dans une première partie, les auteurs proposent quelques axes d'analyse, à commencer par la définition d'une notion ...
(184 more words)
En exprimant tout à la fois la rationalité, l'omniprésence et pour tout dire la banalité d'un marché désormais planétaire, l'argent constitue le prisme idéal pour penser l'avenir de nos sociétés, un avenir qui ne saurait se ramener à la simple poursuite de tendances observées dans le passé. Car le visage du capitalisme a changé en l'espace de quelques années. En effet, la civilisation de l'argent qui se déploie à l'échelle planétaire a engendré ...
(163 more words)
À l'heure où l'entreprise est reconnue comme le pilier de la création de richesses, cet ouvrage vient donner divers éclairages sur la façon dont les économistes rendent compte de son action. Ses principales qualités sont la précision et la rigueur, mais aussi les capacités de synthèse de son auteur. Le sujet est immense et l'auteur dans son introduction donne un aperçu de la pluralité des approches en se plaçant dans une perspective historique. L'exposé est très ...
(230 more words)
Cet article de Paul Collier et Jan Gunning cherche à déterminer pourquoi le continent africain est resté autant à la traîne du reste du monde en matière de développement économique. Les auteurs reprennent et analysent les arguments fréquemment avancés par les spécialistes de la question : dans quelle mesure les décideurs africains ont-ils fait les mauvais choix sur les plans économique et monétaire, par exemple ? Quelle est l'ampleur de la responsabilité des pays développés (notamment par rapport à l'évolution ...
(132 more words)
Le rapport de Dominique Bureau est une synthèse des enjeux des négociations agricoles à venir à la fin 1999 au sein de l'Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC). Dans un premier temps, il rappelle la situation des principaux protagonistes, Europe et États-Unis et les compromis adoptés à l'issue du cycle de l'Uruguay Round. Plusieurs thèmes de débat sont importants : la définition de règles communes en matière de protection de la santé publique ou de l'environnement, la réduction ...
(285 more words)
L'ouvrage de Luc Boltanski et Ève Chiapello part d'un constat simple: alors que la situation sociale des salariés s'est considérablement dégradée depuis une vingtaine d'années, le capitalisme ne s'est jamais aussi bien porté. Les profits des entreprises et les indices bousiers s'envolent, tandis que la critique semble désarmée. Cette régénérescence du capitalisme, nos auteurs croient la trouver dans le développement d'un nouvel esprit du capitalisme dont ils reconstituent la généalogie à travers l ...
(216 more words)
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.