Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Depuis 2009, en France, 880 entreprises industrielles ont fermé leurs portes et 100 000 emplois ont été supprimés, creusant un peu plus le déficit commercial français aux alentours de 51 milliards d’euros. Pierre Gattaz a livré quelques pistes de réflexion sur l’avenir de l’emploi et de l’industrie en France, fort de son expérience de chef d’entreprise chez Radiall depuis 1992 et de son implication dans la FIEEC, le GFI et la Fabrique de l’industrie.
Starting out from reality and then projecting itself into futuristic universes, science fiction, in both literary and cinematic form, allows us to dream and to have fantasies or nightmares about what the future holds in store. In many works of science fiction, technologies and the perspectives for their application play a key role. The nanotechnologies, with miniaturization playing its part here, offer even greater possibilities for writers and directors to develop their visions of the future. At the same time, scientist, corporations, governments and military institutions are investing time, energy and substantial amounts of money in these nanotechnologies. They themselves are constructing visions of what they may enable us to do in the future, and trying to bring these to fruition.
How are these two types of representation related? This is the issue Bernard Kahane ponders in this article. Drawing on various emblematic novels and films, he begins by showing how science fiction depicts nanotechnologies, before outlining the scientific and technical logics that underlie them. Kahane then turns more precisely to the impact they might have in the field of security and defence (future conflicts, armaments, combatants etc.). Lastly, he studies the specific features of the future visions of, on the one hand, science fiction writers and filmmakers and, on the other, of the economic and social actors involved in the emergence of the nanotechnologies, together with their influence on each other. Unlike the writers, who operate merely at the level of narration, those engaged in nanotechnology research and production are, he argues, “narr-actors” who manipulate, combine and intermingle narration and action in pursuit of their ends.
As part of the “Actors’ Words” series of articles launched by Futuribles in 2012, Marthe de La Taille-Rivero offers a stimulating account of a social-innovation venture launched in the mid-2000s by a highly motivated entrepreneur: the building of communal housing for people disabled as a result of head injury. She describes the career-path of Laurent de Cherisey, prime mover both in this particular project and in cocreating the association Simon de Cyrène (Simon of Cyrene) that carried it out, as well as the many formalities that had to be gone through to see it realized – including, in the end, a little “helping hand” from fate in the form of the success of the film Intouchables (Untouchables), which handed over part of its takings to the association. By giving back to these disabled people the opportunity of finding a social life within a town – in contact with other individuals, both disabled and able-bodied, who share housing with them – the association supports them towards potential reintegration, responds to their families’ concerns and, through its activity, promotes other similar initiatives elsewhere in France.
In this special issue of Futuribles devoted to genetically modified organisms, Marcel Kuntz and Agnès Ricroch offer a review of the situation regarding biotechnological plants and their socio-economic prospects. After reminding us of the agricultural (and food) challenges our planet will face by the middle of the century, they outline the possible contributions of transgenics to overcoming them (resistance to various kinds of stress, improvement of yields, nutritional contributions), particularly in the developing countries. They go on to stress the advantages of transgenics in the fields of industry (agrofuels) and pharmaceuticals (biosynthesis of proteins and enzymes for therapeutic purposes).
Kuntz and Ricroch then come to a more political strand of argument: the political and regulatory constraints on the development of GMOs in Europe (and, in particular, France). They criticize, for example, the destructions carried out by certain anti-GM movements, and over-cautiousness in the political decisions and regulation that eventually led to the enduring sidelining of French and European players in the plant biotechnology sector. This situation is, in their view, highly damaging and synonymous with scientific and technical defeat. And the means for overcoming it, such as gaining the confidence of public opinion in the field through better information and publicity campaigns directed more at the benefits inherent in the technologies than the risks, have hardly been successful.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are at the heart of important controversies in the scientific world. But the stakes go far beyond that, as is demonstrated here by Pierre-Benoit Joly. Questions of a more political nature arise, such as what vision of the world one wishes to see prevail in the future, both in the agricultural realm and in the much wider matter of the sustainable development of the planet.
Recalling, first, how regimes of innovation in the plant world have evolved over time, Joly stresses that we have moved from traditional skills and practices to an initial regime of innovation based on state agronomists and seed companies, which has itself evolved towards a “molecular, private, globalized” regime of innovation heavily encouraged by the granting, in the 1980s, of permission to patent living organisms. This has led to agricultural markets becoming tied up to a large extent by a number of major companies and to research being focussed on a small number of species and on GMOs. However, this commitment to GMOs has given rise to much criticism, involving the leaders of the “biotech oligopoly” in a crisis of legitimacy. Hence the efforts made by these parties over several years to legitimate their enthusiasm for GMOs both economically and politically.
It is to this “techno-political” work of legitimation that Pierre-Benoit Joly turns in the second part of his article. Thanks to the privatization of innovation and the globalization of activities, the big biotech multinationals are gradually winning acceptance for their view of the world, by way, among other things, of co-production of the regulation of the risks inherent in innovations (the emergence of a “soft law” lowering the level of mandatory constraint by states) and by intensive lobbying within public institutions and the establishment of “epistemic communities” (networks aimed at bending international law in their direction). Joly shows, lastly, how these players – and particularly Monsanto, which he studies more specifically here – are privatizing the notion of sustainable development in agriculture (by way of ethical charters, for example), so as to make their activities essential to its attainment. This is an “enlistment” operation that is very well described here, though it can still be countered when its workings are properly understood.
Selon un rapport de la Commission de déontologie de la fonction publique , le nombre de fonctionnaires qui cumulent leur activité principale, dans le secteur public, et une activité annexe, dans le secteur privé, est en nette augmentation. La création du statut d’auto-entrepreneur pourrait être à l’origine de cet engouement.
In this second contribution to our new Paroles d’acteurs (Actors’ Words) feature, Bertrand Collomb takes up his pen again to show us, in the light of a recent trip to China, how that country is aiming to deal with the enormous environmental challenges confronting it. Driven by an unprecedented economic boom, China has enormous energy and raw material needs and these are growing as its population is developing and increasingly catching up with Western styles of life. Though it wishes to steer clear of binding international engagements, the Chinese government has nonetheless taken stock of the seriousness of the environmental situation and, in the wake of the 2006-10 Five Year Plan, which was already sensitive to these questions, has given relatively broad consideration in its Twelfth Plan (2011-15) to the means of promoting more sustainable development within the country (reduction of CO2, emissions, energy saving, sustainable cities etc.). Bertrand Collomb here outlines the main orientations of that Twelfth Plan.
Le 19 janvier dernier, l’agence AdGENCY Experts a organisé ses premières rencontres Interférences, consacrées aux signaux faibles. Le colloque a réuni de nombreux experts de la veille, de la prospective, mais aussi des sociologues et des consultants. Une première table ronde sur la complexité croissante des sociétés et sa gestion par les entreprises, a réunit Edgar Morin (sociologue), Michel Maffesoli (directeur de la revue Sociétés) et Clara Gaymard (présidente de General Electric France). Edgar Morin a fait le constat ...
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Ce premier cahier de tendances de la CAPEB synthétise les réflexions organisées en 2011 pour aider les entreprises du bâtiment et les artisans à se projeter à l’horizon 2025 et ainsi « prendre leur destin en main ». La première partie du rapport liste les principales évolutions mondiales, sociales et liées au secteur du bâtiment qui pourront avoir un impact sur les artisans. Il s’agit notamment de la raréfaction des énergies fossiles, de l’évolution des caractéristiques des foyers français ...
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Nous tournons la page d’une année 2011 particulièrement mouvementée : « printemps arabes », accident de la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima, crise de l’Union européenne, crise économique et financière, échec de la conférence de Durban sur le climat (qui augure mal du sommet « Rio + 20 »)… Qu’allons-nous en retenir et qu’allons-nous faire maintenant ?
It is not by any means sufficient merely to assert, as we are inclined to do, that the first challenge in foresight work is to convince our contemporaries to shift from the posture of passive victim of the future to shaper of a future which is, at least in part, an object of choice. We say – not merely as a matter of course, but on the basis of empirical evidence – that, when faced with the same external circumstances, some companies, regions and individuals are successfully entrepreneurial, while others despair and throw in the towel.
The moment has come, then, to move beyond mere talk on our part and open the columns of Futuribles to these genuine entrepreneurs. As business leaders or individuals who are genuine participants and actors in the economic and social fields – and to varying degrees innovators – they will speak about what we can actually do to promote a clear-sighted, positive approach to action.
This new rubric, Paroles d’acteurs (literally: “Actors’ Words”), which we hope to run regularly, is given over this month to the viewpoint of Bertrand Collomb, who headed the Lafarge Group and made this company the world leader in building materials. It is not, however, the reasons for his success that he shares with us here. He writes, rather, as an informed actor highly cognizant of global realities, on the unequal performance of German and French businesses, with a view to casting light on the possible pathways toward renewed equilibrium between the two partners.
Cet ouvrage, réalisé par le Centre d’études prospectives du ministère de l’Agriculture, tente de saisir avec le plus de réalisme possible la figure présente et future de l’agriculteur français, et de son métier, dans son nouvel environnement aussi global qu’instable, au cœur des défis humains du XXIe siècle. La profession d’agriculteur vieillit, se féminise (un tiers de chefs d’exploitation en 2025), le salariat progresse et se diversifie, avec des situations socioprofessionnelles moins variées. Les ...
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L’espérance de vie des Français n’a cessé d’augmenter depuis 60 ans, et l’écart historique entre les hommes et les femmes tend progressivement à se réduire. Pourtant, des inégalités très importantes subsistent entre les catégories socioprofessionnelles.
Maria Nowak, who has for more than 20 years been engaged in citizen action on behalf of the excluded in France, was, like many others, spurred to action by the economic crisis that has plagued us since 2008. Drawing on her experience at the head of the ADIE, she here outlines her proposals for improving the situation of the excluded and of the persons most affected by this crisis, while at the same time re-thinking the workings of the existing economic system.
After a detailed review of the activity of ADIE, mainly through banking microcredit, and the institutional and financial framework in which it operates, Maria Nowak develops three lines of thinking: the city in crisis; ferments of renewal; and the future city, calling for the development of a genuine “social market economy” and a “perestroika of capitalism”. This is an unavoidable development in her view and one in which microfinance activities and actions relating to the social responsibility of companies have a crucial role to play.
With the economic and financial crisis on the one hand, and the regional instability caused by the Arab spring on the southern rim of the Mediterranean on the other, Europe finds itself faced with a particularly tricky geopolitical and economic context. Unfortunately, as Jean-François Drevet shows here, the more serious the situation has become, the less the member states of the European Union have provided themselves with the means to confront it jointly and hence, the lower their chances of success would seem to be.
This is attested, in particular, by the Union’s inability to establish a single command structure to manage the operations planned as part of the common defence and security policy, despite the fact that there is a consensus on this in public opinion in the various member states. Whereas the Union has, in theory, an adequate legal basis in this area and the political and technical means to implement it (through the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), in practice the member states continue to reason on a case-by-case basis in terms of their own interests. Europe is, in fact, very ill-equipped. It cannot depend indefinitely on the Atlantic Alliance to provide its defence and its options are seriously hobbled by the United Kingdom (of which the High Representative, who is supposed to embody the common external policy, is a national).
Above and beyond the concrete security problems potentially present in such a situation, this impasse is emblematic of the current operation of the Union, “dominated by the vagaries of a variable-geometry intergovernmental cooperation” that is still not properly facing up to present and future challenges.
In 2010 a book by the American historian Sean McMeekin, The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany’s Bid for World Power 1898-1918 (Cambridge [Mass.]: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010) was published, telling the story of the Berlin-Baghdad railway in the early 20th century and its role in the political, economic and military strategy of the great powers at the time. In terms of subject matter, this work in a way represents, as Bernard Cazes argues, a corrective to a counterfactual developed by the writer John Buchan in his book Greenmantle of 1916 (Thirsk: House of Stratus, 2001; new edition). He presents some of its salient points here that will undoubtedly be of interest to geopolitics buffs, showing, in substance, how Germany, drawing on support from the Ottoman Empire, attempted to de-stabilize its enemies of the time by encouraging jihad in French and British colonies and Zionism in Russia – a strategy that would have paid off if the work on the Berlin-Baghdad railway had not fallen so far behind schedule.
Malgré la hausse du niveau de vie, le sentiment de bien-être des Chinois stagne depuis 10 ans. Cette situation est en partie due à l’écart croissant entre le sentiment des ruraux et celui des urbains : depuis 1999, le bien-être des urbains augmente alors qu’il diminue pour les ruraux. Les travailleurs migrants, qui se situent entre les deux catégories, pourraient bien être à l’origine de tensions sociales accrues dans les années à venir.
Être présent sur Internet est devenu indispensable pour une majorité d’entreprises, que ce soit pour proposer des biens et services, ou simplement pour « exister » sur la Toile. Mais elles doivent aussi faire face à un nouveau défi : surveiller leur réputation en ligne, ou e-réputation.
The economic rise of the major emergent nations has, over several years, created a series of tensions on the energy and minerals markets. Quite legitimately, an increasing number of individuals are aspiring to a standard of living comparable to that of the industrialized countries and this is increasing the demand for basic raw materials (oil, gas, metals etc.) at the very point where production capabilities in certain sectors are reaching their limits. In such a context, there are ever greater needs in the area of mineral resources for exploration, prospecting and the improvement of extraction systems. Unfortunately, as Jacques Varet shows in this article, for lack of sufficient investment in the relevant scientific training in recent decades the world is short of qualified personnel to meet those needs.
Basing himself on various foresight studies he has coordinated on employment in the geosciences up to the years 2020/2030, Jacques Varet provides a global conspectus on employment and training in this field. Reviewing the development of occupations in this field over the last 30 years, he shows that it is the environmental sector that has enabled in-depth training to be maintained in the geosciences, because the extractive industries and exploration went through a lean period between 1985 and 2005. Since then, however, these industries have seen a real revival. Given that many workers in these sectors will be retiring in the coming years, the jobs market in the geosciences is very buoyant and should remain so despite the crisis. The shortage of personnel trained in the field should persist, if not indeed intensify, until 2030. This situation applies in most of the countries concerned (USA, Canada, Europe). More precisely, where France is concerned, Jacques Varet stresses the country’s assets and weaknesses in this area and makes a number of recommendations for the French training system to meet the needs of the sector and attract people to it as a career.
In his article on oil and gas prospects published last April (no. 373), Jean Laherrère showed (p. 25) how natural gas forecasts in the USA since 1985 have turned out to be far removed from the actual development subsequently recorded. Such retrospective comparisons are quite rare, if only because the forecasters and other drafters of long-term planning studies prefer to look to the future rather than the past. However, as is shown in this article by Marie-Hélène Laurent, François Cattier, Dominique Osso and Prabodh Pourouchottamin who have attempted to carry out such a retrospective analysis of foresight studies on energy demand, such comparisons have a great deal to teach us.
After specifying the nature of the studies analysed (forecasts, foresight studies, projections), what they cover and the way they were elaborated (the use of a reference scenario in particular), the authors – though cautious as to the relevance of such retrospective comparisons – ask themselves three questions. First, was the study wrong and, if so, to what extent and in what direction? Then, why was it wrong? They show, for example, the various types of possible error (trajectory, trend, variability etc.) and their impact, the importance of the quality of hypotheses and of the profile of the authors involved, and the lessons that ensue. Lastly, posing the question of the seriousness of the errors found, Laurent et al. seek to put things into perspective: on the one hand, retrospective comparisons help to refine the analysis and reduce the potential risks of error in such exercises; on the other, they enable us better to grasp consumption systems dynamically, to identify the sectors in which it is most difficult to bring about change, and to refine the timescales of the measures to be implemented – the key element in all foresight studies being that the hypotheses and scenarios should be communicated with the greatest possible transparency.
On 11 March 2011 Japan suffered an earthquake of very high magnitude, followed by a tsunami that left thousands dead in the Sendai region, the main consequence of which was a major nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power station. Given its seriousness (the highest level on the international scale of nuclear events), the accident revived the fiercest debates between supporters and opponents of nuclear power, debates echoed by Futuribles in the “Forum” feature of this special issue. Without taking sides in the debate, Michel Drancourt has his say on the question, attempting to gauge the consequences of the disaster for both Japan and the world.
He starts out from an article published in Futuribles more than 20 years ago (no. 136, October 1989), which laid out the conclusions of a report by the Tokai Bank on the potential economic consequences of an earthquake in Tokyo. As he stresses, the situation has changed and Japan no longer occupies the central place in financial and commercial dealings that it did in the 1980s; nevertheless, the country remains an importer and major supplier of many products, and a weakened Japan will have consequences industrially, politically and economically for the rest of the world. As for the comparison of the 1989 scenario with the 2011 reality, one of the lessons to be learned is that the scenario would not have been far wrong if the earthquake had not been accompanied by the tsunami and the subsequent nuclear accident. Hence two longer-term conclusions: in foresight exercises, we should not work on the basis of a single, isolated risk; and, most importantly, sources of energy production should be diversified as greatly as possible.
Like all other economic activities, agriculture consumes energy; it is also, however, increasingly productive of energy (through biomass and biofuels, for example). In an energy context that is rapidly changing on account of the exhaustion of fossil resources and the battle against global warming, it is essential to be able to envisage the agricultural sector’s take – and that of its major players – on energy-related challenges. This is why the French Ministry of Agriculture’s Centre d’études et de prospective launched a broad foresight study in 2009-2010 entitled, “Agriculture Energy 2030”, the central lessons of which are reported here by Céline Laisney, Fabienne Portet and Julien Vert.
After an assessment in which they specify the links between agriculture and energy in France and stress the various medium-to-long-term issues in the field, the authors outline this foresight study and the four scenarios to which it gave rise. These four contrasting scenarios, each translated into figures, describe the probable developments of French agriculture in various energy contexts up to 2030. They are termed, respectively, “Territorialization and Energy Conservancy in the face of Crisis”, “Dual Agriculture and Energy Realism”, “Health-Agriculture without Strong Energy Constraints”, and “Ecological Agriculture and Energy Management”. Highlighting the difficulties to come, but also the opportunities available to the agricultural sector, these scenarios provide the public authorities with new elements to feed into their agricultural strategy, indicate the existing scope for manoeuvre and enable general objectives and various possible levers of change to be identified, depending on the lines of action preferred.
On 11 March 2011 Japan suffered an earthquake of very high magnitude, followed by a tsunami that left thousands dead in the Sendai region, the main consequence of which was a major nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power station. The accident ranked at the highest level of severity on the international scale of nuclear events, making it the biggest since Chernobyl in 1986. It is still impossible to gauge the precise scope of the consequences of the disaster, but it has clearly given rise to the most intense renewed debates on the nuclear issue.
Futuribles echoes this in the “Forum” feature of this summer issue which is entirely devoted to energy questions. Bernard Bigot, chief executive officer of the technological research organization CEA, looks back on the Fukushima disaster and what it changes (or doesn’t change) so far as the use of nuclear power is concerned, particularly in France. After recalling the lessons of earlier nuclear disasters, which led to the development of the third generation of power stations, he reminds us of the currently uncontested need to free ourselves from dependence on fossil fuels, which admittedly involves increased use of renewables, but can scarcely be envisaged without nuclear power.
Lastly, where the Fukushima disaster is concerned, Bernard Bigot shows how it was, in his view, predominantly the product of a management error, from which lessons must be drawn to improve the safety conditions of existing or projected power stations and enable the staff responsible to deliver the right response as quickly as possible when an accident occurs. In this context and given France’s high level of dependence on nuclear power, the level of use of this energy source ought not to be reduced on account of the events of March 2011.
There have been an increasing number of foresight exercises in the field of energy and global warming in recent years, as we have seen from the articles devoted to these questions by Futuribles in 2011 (both in this special issue and in the April number). It is certainly the case that the goals for greenhouse-gas emission reduction are rather ambitious, particularly in France, it being the aim of the 2005 French framework law on energy to reduce carbon gas discharges by a factor of four.
Among these scenarios, the Négatep scenario developed by Claude Acket and Pierre Bacher from the “Sauvons le climat” [Let’s save the climate] Association proposes to achieve this (“factor 4”) goal in France by 2050 by reducing fossil fuel use by 75% and replacing this as quickly as possible with electricity produced from non-carbon-gas-emitting sources – chiefly, nuclear power and renewables. The authors lay out their goals here, backed up by figures, comparing these with the reference scenario. They also show the path that must be followed to arrive at these goals, particularly in the residential and tertiary sectors, and in transport and industry (through control of needs and recourse to alternative energy sources).
They close by comparing the Négatep scenario with two other more recent scenarios aimed also at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, on the one hand in Europe, and on the other in Germany. The comparison confirms that they were right to rely on electricity as a substitute for oil, but gives them cause for concern in respect of the consequences (formidable in their view) that the replacement of nuclear power and coal energy by intermittent renewable energies might have in Europe, both with regard to costs and to the effects on the power network.
Despite the alerts that have been sounded since 1992, as international conferences aimed at curbing global warming have come and gone, and despite the plans for reducing the use of fossil fuel resources that call for the moderation of energy consumption, few actions or incentive measures (and even fewer directives) have actually been developed to act on the demand for energy. Yet, as Henri-Luc Thibault and El Habib El Andaloussi show here, some very concrete measures can have major effects in this area. This is the case with everything relating to the improvement of energy efficiency in building, where housing conditions, the housing stock and related energy consumption (heating, air-conditioning etc.) are concerned. Thibault and El Andaloussi show the potential impact of such measures in the Mediterranean region.
Basing themselves on the work of the “Plan Bleu” organization, which has worked out a revolutionary scenario for the energy field in the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean (to 2030), they begin by recalling the importance of buildings in regional energy consumption and the various levers that might be used to reduce that consumption (regulation, materials, efficiency of machinery etc.). In such a scenario, the potential for energy savings in this sector would seem considerable. Moreover, this would enable a substantial decrease in greenhouse gas emissions to be achieved, and would also have very positive effects in terms of job creation. In conclusion, the authors point out the need for investment over 20 years, depending on the particular country concerned, to put in place the five flagship measures of energy saving, which would be genuine investments for the future…
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.