Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Investment in R&D and innovation has always been, and still remains, a key requirement for the economic success of states. The developed countries learned this long ago, particularly the triad of the USA, Europe and Japan, which were for a long time leaders in the field. However, for several years now, the relative part played by these countries in global research and development has increasingly been challenged by a number of emerging countries, particularly in Asia. And though the economic crisis of recent years has been the occasion for many developed countries to reassert the essential role of investment in R&D and innovation in recovery strategies, it is not certain that this will actually enable those countries to reverse the latent trend that sees the 19th- and 20th-century pioneers losing their supremacy.
Pierre Papon shows here how global research potentials have evolved and which are the leading countries in this area. He also outlines the specializations of the main global actors in international scientific and technical production. He reminds us, in particular, of the slow (but manifest) erosion of European positions in global scientific competition, even if the quality of production remains intact, and stresses, in parallel with this, the rise of the emergent nations, with China and Brazil at their head. Where industrial research is concerned, the trend, according to Pierre Papon, runs in the same direction and it will perhaps be a USA-China-Japan triad that will take over leadership in the coming years. If, indeed, the fine slogans calling for an R&D-led recovery turn out to be as ineffective as the Lisbon strategy was stillborn, it is highly unlikely that the states of Europe will come out of this crisis unscathed in terms of their international scientific and technical positioning.
We have on many occasions sounded the alarm in Futuribles regarding the situation of France and Europe, where economies have been under par for more than 30 years now and unable to sustain the pace of innovation appropriate for developed countries in the context of the early 21st century. We have, admittedly, seen attempts to re-stimulate these economies, no doubt the most emblematic of these in the recent period being the “Lisbon Strategy”, launched in March 2000, whose main objective was to make the European Union “the most competitive, most dynamic knowledge economy in the world” by 2010. But we are now in mid-2011 and the least that can be said is that the objective is some way from being fulfilled. And, re-reading the diagnosis and recommendations of André Danzin in 1979 (Science et renaissance de l’Europe. Paris: Chotard et associés, 1979), there is reason for concern about the Old Continent’s capacity to face up to the scientific and technical challenges of the present and – most importantly – of the future.
Pierre Bonnaure has re-read the book André Danzin wrote in 1979 following a request from the European Commission that he formulate suggestions for using science and technology to re-stimulate Europe. After recalling the context of the late 1970s, Pierre Bonnaure shows here how Danzin’s findings are still topical (Europe falling behind in global competition and failing to innovate). He takes up again the various recommendations formulated at the time which, in many people’s view, still have currency (focussing on high-value-added activities, playing the card of the energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly sectors, investing in information technology and the eco-life sciences). And though some of these – particularly in the area of research organization in Europe – have been implemented in the three decades since Danzin’s work appeared, we must admit that Europeans are still awaiting the “rebirth of Europe” and, if things are left too long, it will no longer be possible to draw on these recommendations to contribute to it.
Hervé Sérieyx et André-Yves Portnoff sont partis du constat que si la France décline sur la scène internationale c’est faute d’exploiter intelligemment son riche potentiel humain. Pour échapper à ce déclin, ils exhortent les Français à l’action citoyenne dans les domaines clefs que sont l’École, l’entreprise, la société Web 2.0 et le territoire.
Drawing on the various testimonies presented in this dossier on French companies that have succeeded by innovating, particularly in their managerial practices, André-Yves Portnoff outlines a number of key factors taken from the experience of these actors. He stresses, for example, the importance of human relations within companies, of the new technological dispensation, which means that the occupational and personal spheres increasingly overlap, of the need to seek out and exploit synergies, and of the crucial role played by staff training, attention to customer expectations etc.
In the course of his analysis, he offers 12 points of reference that are essential for the production of quality goods and services in France – and in Europe – in conditions that ensure value creation for all stakeholders. These are 12 starting points for the thinking that will be done within the framework of the ETIC study (Entreprises et territoires au défi de l’innovation et de la compétitivité) currently being launched by the Futuribles International Association with André-Yves Portnoff and Hugues de Jouvenel (Director General of the Futuribles Group) as its scientific directors. The study will, of course, go much further in analyzing and proposing precise strategic approaches and will also look more closely at local and regional dynamics and the role played in them by the local economic fabric.
Each year, within the framework of its “Vigie” pooled horizon-scanning system, the Futuribles International Association publishes a report surveying the long-term and emergent trends in the strategic environment of companies and organizations over the next 10-20 years, which complements the work done over the course of the year. The Rapport Vigie 2011, published in late December 2010, offers a foresight analysis of seven key issues, before going on to propose four scenarios for France in the years to 2030.
Cécile Désaunay and François de Jouvenel, who made very major contributions to the production of this report (available in its entirety only to partner-members of Futuribles International), offer a summary in this article of these four scenarios relating to France in 2030: “Competitiveness and Social Responsibility of Companies”, “Dual Society”, “Broad Middle Class” and “Local Economy”. As in all exploratory foresight studies, the authors do not favour any of the scenarios in particular, the four of them enabling the reader to form an idea of the various possible trajectories for France and the French over the next 20 years.
For the moment, all options remain open. It is for the decision-makers to bend their policies in the direction required by their preferred scenario and for public opinion to tell its representatives clearly which future seems most desirable.
In February 2010, 50 leaders of the largest European industrial groups presented their “Vision for a Competitive Europe in 2025” and, in so doing, criticized Europe’s industrial decline. However, as MIT had done 20 years earlier in its study Made in America (Cambridge [Mass.]: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1989), they stressed at the same time that this decline was not inevitable, but that Europe had to say goodbye to managerial practices that had turned out over recent decades to be suicidal, both for companies and for regions/localities and the overall performance of the European economies – and the French economy in particular.
Since then, things have scarcely improved: any number of alarms have been sounded and there have been countless grand speeches rehashing the knowledge-economy-related objectives that were originally set for 2010, but are now being spoken of as relating to 2020. These include the creation of competitiveness hubs, a reinvigorated research effort, the imperative to innovate, etc. And yet, confronted with ever more intense competition, companies and regions/localities often remain in a state of uncertainty: what is to be done concretely? How can innovations actually be promoted that are able to improve their overall performance and lasting competitiveness?
To attempt to answer these questions, the Futuribles International Association has decided to launch a subscription study aimed at identifying directly on the ground what are the good practices initiated by companies and regional/local authorities, at exploring how these have been implemented and what very concrete lessons can be learned from them, so that they may be transposed from one company or region/locality to another.
By way of prologue to this study, six precise cases are presented in detail by actors on the ground, these latter being, for the most part, entrepreneurs: the Meyer-Sansbœuf rope manufacturing concern (Haut-Rhin); the fencing designer and manufacturer Lippi (Charente); the shoe manufacturer Samson (Maine-et-Loire); the clothes-peg producer Laguelle (Allier); the participation of a dozen or so companies from the Industries and Agro-Resources Competitiveness Hub (in Picardie) in the Futurol project (on second-generation biofuels); and the software designer CLT Services (Paris). Drawing on these six case-studies and much other original evidence and experience, André-Yves Portnoff offers some broader, deeper thinking on the actors in the current “intelligence revolution”, thinking which shows that it is possible to produce quality goods and services in France and Europe, and to be competitive without cutting back on human capital (far from it, indeed) – all this contributing to the identification of some primary key factors of lasting success for companies and regions/localities.
In a book published in late 2010, Bertrand Collomb and Michel Drancourt set out a “defence of business” (Plaidoyer pour l’entreprise. Paris: François Bourin, 2010). The authors share a passion for business, the first as a director for almost 20 years of the Lafarge Group (a leading player in the building materials sector), the second through a great many activities, including the writing of various books on that peculiar entity that is the business enterprise. In this Defence of Business, they describe the new challenges facing enterprise and enterprises in these early years of the 21st century. They go on to outline the fundamental aspects of the business enterprise – the basis of its substance and the way it functions today – and, lastly, propose a number of choices that have to be made if it is to be part of a prosperous future.
Bernard de Montmorillon, a professor specializing in organization theory and strategic decision-making, has read this work for Futuribles and lays out in this review the key elements and major lessons to be drawn from it.
The growing refinement of information technology and its spread throughout modern societies has accustomed individuals, wherever they may be, to being constantly in contact with their fellows and also connected to their various private electronic devices (telephone, smartphone, Internet etc.). Such “omnipresence” could not but have effects on the world of work. As André-Yves Portnoff shows here, drawing on various recent studies on workers’ aspirations for teleworking and the impact of technology on the relationship with their companies, employees are less and less keen to forego that same omnipresence of intervention in the occupational sphere.
Awareness of the possibilities opened up by technology lends a new meaning to partial teleworking, which becomes a way to manage private and working time more flexibly. Most importantly, this could be of benefit to everyone since several studies confirm that when this flexibility, which is desired by a majority of workers, is achieved, appreciable productivity gains and savings for companies ensue, alongside positive effects for the environment. However, to have people working partially away from their desks implies a less Taylorist management of the workforce and a strategy of exploiting mobility that represent radical cultural change for many organizations, particularly in France.
Les tendances qu’annonçait la note d’alerte n° 58 sont confirmées par le dernier tableau de bord européen de la R&D industrielle : les entreprises de l’Union européenne (UE) et des États-Unis ont réduit leur effort, alors que le Japon maintient le sien malgré la crise et que la Corée du Sud, la Chine et l’Inde progressent rapidement. Beaucoup de champions européens et français risquent de perdre des marchés dans les prochaines années et la relève par de ...
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Bertrand Collomb et Michel Drancourt croient tous deux que les entreprises d’envergure internationale, telles que Lafarge, ont un rôle à jouer pour relever le double défi de la globalisation et de la sauvegarde de la planète. Dans l’ouvrage qu’ils viennent de publier ensemble, "Plaidoyer pour l’entreprise", ils appellent à retrouver confiance dans la capacité des entreprises à tirer profit des nouveaux horizons que leur offre un monde globalisé, et à infléchir le choix des politiques dans ...
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Les auteurs de ce rapport de la Délégation sénatoriale à la prospective mettent en garde contre les risques d’une dégradation des conditions économiques et sociales si rien n’est fait pour améliorer le pacte social dans l’entreprise, notamment la reconnaissance des salariés et la revalorisation du travail. Depuis 30 ans, le pacte social dans les entreprises françaises a été progressivement remanié sous la pression de contraintes économiques externes (mondialisation, concurrence accrue) et internes (priorité croissante donnée aux profits ...
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Le secteur du transport de marchandises fait l'objet de nombreuses études, car il constitue un maillon indispensable de l'activité économique, bien qu'il ne produise que peu de richesse économique. Dans ce rapport, plusieurs experts synthétisent les enjeux et les priorités pour le secteur au cours des prochaines années, avant de formuler des objectifs et des propositions. Ils rappellent tout d'abord qu'en France, le secteur du transport de fret peut compter sur une bonne maîtrise de ...
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Au terme de cinq années de négociations, l’Organisation internationale de normalisation (ISO) a publié le 1er novembre 2010 la première norme internationale sur la responsabilité sociétale à destination des entreprises et des administrations. Une telle norme pourrait permettre l’uniformisation des politiques de RSE et leur diffusion dans le monde entier. L’absence de certification associée risque toutefois de porter préjudice à cette ambition.
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.