Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
A lively debate has been going on simultaneously in France for several years on several topics:
- "the decline of France", the decline of manufacturing and the fact that the economy is falling behind that of other industrialized countries, especially the United States and the rapidly growing developing nations in Asia;
- the ups and downs of research in France and, worse still, the country's poor showing with regard to technological development and innovation.
Futuribles has made a major contribution to this debate, including publishing numerous articles criticizing the lack of a satisfactory policy to foster research and innovation, and putting forward various proposals for improving the situation.
The French government, as is now standard practice, has announced that it will soon present to parliament (though this keeps being postponed) a draft bill about research and innovation; the preliminary proposals, insofar as they are yet known, appear to rely heavily on the creation of a "national research agency".
At the same time, the French President has asked Jean-Louis Beffa, the highly respected CEO of the firm Saint-Gobain, to draw up a report published on 15 January 2005 entitled Pour une nouvelle politique industrielle (Towards a New Industrial Strategy).
The preliminary proposals and, more particularly, the Beffa Report, are examined here by André-Yves Portnoff, who criticizes yet again this typically French gambit of not only piling on even more laws and regulations, but now creating more and more quangos, relying exclusively on major public programmes to be run by large (often state-owned) firms and geared to supplying the public sector. Past experience has shown that this approach, except in certain specific sectors, has had limited success. It would be much better to foster innovation of all kinds by smaller firms that are more in touch with the market.
La société de conseil Forecasting International suit depuis longtemps les grandes tendances du monde contemporain. Son président, Martin Cetron, et Owen Davies, journaliste scientifique, résument dans cet article les changements à l'oeuvre dans les domaines économique, social, démographique et environnemental, en les illustrant de faits qu'ils jugent significatifs, et en en dégageant les implications pour les décideurs. Ainsi, après avoir rappelé les projections de population mondiale du Census Bureau, ils avancent l'idée que celles-ci sous-estiment peut-être la ...
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This article is the seventh in the series started by Futuribles in June 2004, in partnership with the Aleph group of the French Commissariat général du Plan. The aim of the series is to enlighten readers about what specialist bodies are doing in other countries in the area of futures studies and strategic thinking geared to public decision-making. The earlier articles looked at what is happening respectively in Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Quebec, South Africa and Japan. This seventh article focuses on the countries that joined the European Union in May 2004 (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Cyprus and Malta).
Mounir Corm and Aurélien Colson argue here that, although the ten new member states are extremely diverse and have very different histories, they have considerable expertise with regard to foresight, planning and/or strategic thinking. They describe the main agencies, country by country.
Ensemble des techniques et des connaissances liées à l'utilisation du vivant dans les processus de production, les biotechnologies recouvrent un large champ d'investigation qui va de la santé (biotechnologie rouge) à l'agriculture (biotechnologie verte) en passant par la chimie de transformation des ressources renouvelables (biotechnologie blanche). Le récent rapport de Jean-Yves Le Déaut, député de Meurthe-et-Moselle et vice-président de l'OPECST (Office parlementaire d'évaluation des choix scientifiques et technologiques), a fait le point sur " la place ...
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The British economist W.S. Jevons (1835-1882) was described by Schumpeter, in his monumental History of Economic Analysis, as "one of the most truly original economists who ever lived". Nevertheless, he does not mention Jevons' book on The Coal Question, published in 1865, which warned of the possibility that the coal deposits of the United Kingdom would inevitably run out in the long term, which led the government to set up a commission of enquiry on this matter (it concluded that the coal seams would be exhausted by 1988...).
Looking at the issue as an economist and not as a geologist or engineer, Jevons challenges the idea that "our coal seams will be found emptied to the bottom, and swept clean like a coal-cellar". In his opinion, the real problem lay instead with the gradual disappearance of the comparative advantage Britain then enjoyed relative to its competitors thanks to the size and relative cheapness of its coal reserves. He drew the depressing conclusion that he put in the form of the following dilemma: "We have to make the momentous choice between brief greatness and longer continued mediocrity."
This disenchanted conclusion calls forth two comments. The first, just an aside, is that it was couched in remarkably similar terms to those that the economist Augustin Cournot was to use in 1877 in his book Revue sommaire des doctrines économiques, in which he talks about the dilemma of governments that, faced with the prospect of coal reserves running out "within five or six centuries", will have to ask themselves "whether it is better for the fire in the hearth of civilization should be kept alight as long as possible or whether it should burn more quickly and give out more intense heat". The other comment is more serious and concerns Jevons' curiously defeatist attitude to the loss of Britain's comparative advantage as coal became more expensive in the long term - as if this alone would be enough to bring an end to the country's hegemony...
"Coup de gueule en urgence. Alerte sur notre contrat social" est destiné à réveiller les Français. Hervé Sérieyx pense qu’il est encore temps de faire bouger les choses dans la société, tout du moins si l’on veut conserver notre contrat social (qui repose essentiellement sur la solidarité entre les individus). Au cours de sa carrière, il a régulièrement constaté ce qu’il appelle le « catastrophisme du bousier », ou la capacité qu’ont les individus à voir tout en ...
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According to Michel Godet, the French are wrongly obsessed with the relocation of manufacturing activities to other countries. He argues instead that it is "less a case of de-industrializing than of shifts in manufacturing practices and the internationalization of industrial activities", and indeed these changes have a beneficial impact on employment.
That manufacturing productivity should rise is a good thing as long as there is service sector growth, including in services for firms that will contribute to the needed expansion of the tertiary sector of the French economy.
The real problem of the French economy and society lies not in globalization or in de-industrialization. Rather, it arises from the fact that, rather than encouraging initiative, every effort is made to keep uncompetitive firms in business artificially.
What we should do, says Michel Godet, is first of all help successful firms to expand and to activate dormant projects. We should abandon the myth of large-scale plans and instead stimulate the creation of activities which would, in turn, create jobs. We should stop dreaming of a knowledge economy fuelled by major programmes for research and development, and create a new collective pattern of growth based on a network of skills, individuals and organizations. They should stop attacking each other and work together to create a new collective dynamism.
In short, Godet concludes, we should stop looking for a foreign scapegoat for France's problems and also stop hoping for salvation from abroad. The solutions lie above all in mobilizing people and therefore in better management - this alone could lift the country out of its threatened stagnation.
Albert Robida's 1882 novel Le Vingtième Siècle, roman d'une Parisienne d'après-demain is well known in French-speaking countries but has only just been translated into English for the first time - The Twentieth Century, translated with commentary by Philip Willems (Early Classics of Science Fiction, series editor Arthur B. Evans), Middletown (Connecticut): Wesleyan University Press, 2004, 397 pp. Bernard Cazes gives a brief outline of this utopian novel, stressing in particular the two main forces that Robida thought would drive change in the 20th century: changing moral standards (especially with regard to the position of women) and technical progress. Lastly Cazes reads between the lines to decipher what Robida foresaw for international relations in his novel.
Le rapport annuel de la Commission économique des Nations unies (UNECE) sur la place de la robotique dans le monde, tant industriel que domestique, nous donne quelques chiffres éloquents sur l'avenir du robot à la maison. Aujourd'hui, près de 610 000 robots de service sont en fonctionnement, principalement des aspirateurs et des tondeuses. L'ONU estime qu'entre 2004 et 2007, leur nombre devrait augmenter de 4 millions, soit une progression de 655 %. Côté professionnel, les robots médicaux ...
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Au Global Business Policy Council qu'il a fondé au sein d'A.T. Kearney, l'auteur publie annuellement l'« indice de confiance », une étude approfondie des conditions d'investissement dans près de 60 pays. Cette approche « risque pays » inspire ce livre, qui propose un cadre permettant d'identifier les changements extérieurs et quelques scénarios illustrant la façon dont l'environnement économique mondial pourrait évoluer. La première partie de l'ouvrage offre un aperçu de l'avenir au travers du ...
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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.