Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Take-off in France (1973) (Futures of Yesteryear)
In the early 1970s the Hudson Institute, which was created by the famous American futurologist Herman Kahn, carried out for the French government a study of "the wealth of France and the future of Europe", which caused a stir when the results were published in 1973 under the title L'Envol de la France dans les années 1980 [Take-off in France in the 1980s], co-authored by Edmund Stillman, James Bellini, William Pfaff, Laurence Schloesing and Jonathan Story. We have selected from Herman Kahn's preface and from the report itself several extracts that seem interesting to read thirty years on.
In 2002, per capita GDP (gross domestic product) in France and the European Union was roughly 25% below that of the United States. Per capita GDP is related to several factors: hourly productivity rates, average working hours and the employment rates. In France, hourly productivity rates are very high, but working hours and the employment rates are low.
This explanation does not hold when the facts are examined, argues Cette, since productivity in general appears to fall as working time increases, hence less is produced in the 36th hour than in the 35th, and this is even more true concerning the employment rates, especially those of young people and workers aged over 50 which are particularly low in Europe, especially in France. Gilbert Cette points up this argument with the help of a comparison between the "observed" and the "structural" hourly productivity rates, with the latter distinctly higher in the United States than in Europe and Japan.
He shows that, ultimately, the improvement in productivity in the United States and the decline in Europe is largely due to the growth and, above all, the spread of information and communications technologies. However, for this to have the greatest multiplier effect, there must be not only an appropriate level of investment but also greater flexibility in the markets for goods and labour.
This article implicitly raises an important question about the balance to be struck between productivity and numbers in work, which is a real issue for society to decide.
Jean-Jacques Salomon energetically castigates the contempt for scientific research in France; he criticizes the lack of resources and the dangers that this will incur in the medium and long term. But he goes further and proposes a proper plan to give a new impetus to research, development and innovation, emphasizing that it is not enough to allocate more money - the whole structure of research needs fundamental reform, as indeed does the French model of education.
Those in government care little for research, he argues, even though it has become ever more important in planning for the future.
First, research needs a genuine injection of money, and Jean-Jacques Salomon proposes ways in which the necessary funding could be achieved. But it is also essential to tackle the institutional and structural problems that beset a system that is in large part badly designed for today's needs.
The author distinguishes two complementary types of research (i.e. basic and applied), and shows that it is essential to overhaul the organization and the manner of funding and managing research. He argues forcefully in favour of a "national science foundation" and, incidentally, for a closer integration of research and the universities.
In this vein, he would like to see a thorough transformation of the French education system, with a clearer separation of vocational training - which needs to be upgraded - from higher education and research, which should be encouraged... Scattered through his text are recommendations that are particularly welcome in this long troubled period for the French system of research and innovation, and he starts a debate that will be continued in future issues of Futuribles.
Pierre Bonnaure pursues an investigation published in Futuribles of the role played by information and communications technologies in economic growth. He shares here his view of the impact of regulation in this sector and stresses, in particular, the importance in economic warfare of how norms are defined; he argues that, through lack of political judgement, the French - and sometimes the Europeans - have often made bad decisions about regulations which have then handicapped them vis-à-vis their main competitors (the United States and Japan).
As part of the revision of the overall plan for the Île-de-France, a study of the "deindustrialization" of the Paris region was carried out by a team of consultants for the regional directorate of the Ministry of Infrastructure. This article highlights the main findings.
The authors first outline the changes observed in France and in the Paris region over the last 30 years. This overview reveals, basically, that manufacturing employment has fallen sharply and, in spite of major improvements in productivity, the share of the national value added contributed by firms in the Île-de-France has fallen. By contrast, it appears that commercial services have expanded and have largely offset the decline in the manufacturing sector in the region.
Having given details of this finding, the authors suggest two possible scenarios based on a survey they conducted of 40 decision-makers.
The first scenario relates to firms which intend to "act so as to optimize costs and rationalize their activities", while the second relates to those that focus rather on developing certain specialties. The authors argue that, in any case, the image of Paris and its region has a decisive impact on the way the area develops and on where firms choose to locate. They go on to stress that these two scenarios are not mutually exclusive but rather correspond to different strategic approaches open to different sectors and specializations. They also discuss the impact of these strategies on where firms choose to locate within the Île-de-France and how these choices can contribute to spatial polarization.
The big worry used to be the relocation of jobs abroad. Now the talk is rather of "deindustrialization". The precise term matters little. The fact is that, throughout the West and especially in France, there are fears that China will become the world's factory and India will be its main provider of high-tech services, not to mention the role of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and, more generally, the rapidly developing nations increasingly competing with the old industrialized countries.
Michel Drancourt has been an astute commentator on the business scene for almost 50 years, he was formerly responsible for industrial redeployment in Lorraine (a region in eastern France suffering from industrial decline), and he also set up GERIS (Groupement économique de reconversion industrielle et de services, an agency to promote job creation in manufacturing and services) for the firm of Thomson. Here he reacts to a recent report by DATAR, La France, puissance industrielle [France as an Industrial Power] (Paris: La documentation Française, 2004), and argues that, as well as the growing competition faced by the countries of the Old World, firms are having to contend with other major pressures: first, the race to cut prices, partly in response to pressures from big retailers, which means that productivity is considered more important than job creation; secondly, technical change (in the broadest sense) and the more general need to be innovative, with regard to products, services and processes, which alone can create new markets.
With the help of many examples, the author describes the changes under way in modern economies and stresses that, in order to create wealth and jobs, it is essential to take advantage of expanding markets (whence the need to be part of them) and to develop new products and services.
Since the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000, the European Union gave itself the target of becoming "the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world" by the year 2010. A target which, according to the official line, would involve bringing the European research effort to 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) by this time. Why this figure of 3% of the GDP? Part of the response lies in an extract from the 1964 work from the Plan, Considerations for 1985 (Paris: La documentation Française), which is reproduced in this issue. From 1964, the strategists for the French Plan estimated that in two decades' time, 3% of the gross domestic product should be devoted to research, in order to put France in a favourable position among international competitors and to make it a genuine rival for the United States -which was already showing this investment rate in the research carried out in 1964! They also insisted on the necessity of increasing research performance in France, notably with the help of an appropriate recruitment policy and the creation of "suitable reception facilities" which would incidentally provide researchers with the means to work efficiently.
Après avoir quitté la direction de la CFDT et le monde syndical, Nicole Notat a créé en août 2002 l’agence d’audit « Vigeo », dont l’objectif est d’être une société d’évaluation des performances sociales et environnementales des entreprises, à l’échelle européenne. Après qu’Hugues de Jouvenel ait rappelé que l’idée de responsabilité sociétale des entreprises était, à l’égal du développement durable ou de la gouvernance, en plein essor, ce qui pousse tout un chacun ...
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Les Wild Cards ou ruptures possibles sont des incidents dont la probabilité d'occurrence est faible, mais dont l'impact serait important et des conséquences stratégiques pour une organisation ou une société incontournables : les événements du 11 septembre 2001 en sont l'archétype. Les effets d'une Wild Card ne sont pas forcément brutaux, ils peuvent aussi être progressifs (le changement climatique). Les Wild Cards ne sont pas toujours imprévisibles, on peut mettre en place un système pour les identifier ...
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La faculté de sciences politiques de la UNAM (universidad nacional autónoma de México) a mis en place en 2003 un séminaire d'études prospectives. Ce séminaire, qui a intégré le noeud sudaméricain (subnodo) du Millennium Project, a mis en ligne en avril 2004 le premier numéro de sa revue électronique trimestrielle. Une rubrique " études de cas " explore l'avenir des États-Unis, avec quatre scénarios. Plusieurs textes éclairent la situation actuelle de ce pays, et des données factuelles (démographie, ressources énergétiques ...
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De nombreux travaux de prospective en matière de nouveaux produits ont échoué en sous-estimant les difficultés de leur diffusion, ainsi que celles de création de nouveaux usages. Ces travaux ont très peu souvent fait l'objet d'analyses rétrospectives qui auraient permis de mieux comprendre les erreurs de méthode ou d'appréciation, et de repérer en fonction de quels critères certains paramètres ont été jugés importants et d'autres laissés de côté. À travers une recherche exploratoire s'appuyant sur ...
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The question keeps returning of whether other development models exist besides the one followed by the richest Western nations - does modernization inevitably mean abandoning local culture and adopting Western values? In other words, can a different balance between tradition and modernity be achieved involving varying forms of compromise related to local cultural requirements?
This question is frequently raised with regard to general development strategies; it is also raised, with growing urgency, in firms, where there is too often a tendency to think that overall performance depends on adopting "good practices" in management that are universally applicable, regardless of local circumstances.
Philippe d'Iribarne takes the opposite view: while acknowledging that universally applicable good management practices exist, he shows how they can be implemented in different ways from country to country so as to meet local needs.
Far from just sermonizing, he bases his argument on a survey carried out in four firms: a Mexican food processing company, a Moroccan firm making electronic components, a petrochemical firm in Argentina and a state-owned electricity supply company in Cameroon.
In each case he shows how the firms were able to devise their own ways of reconciling global and local requirements and balancing economic and social concerns. The author draws from these examples some lessons that are especially useful today as globalisation is leading multinationals to set up in business in countries with very different cultures.
Dans cette étude, produite par le Technology Futures Analysis Methods Working Group, les auteurs dressent un portrait des nombreuses méthodes de prospective technologique existantes (cartographie, foresight, etc.) et traitent des changements technologiques qui peuvent influer sur ces méthodes d'exploration des technologies émergentes. Un tableau présente plusieurs de ces méthodes selon la famille à laquelle elles appartiennent et selon leur aspect normatif ou exploratoire. Les auteurs soutiennent que le processus est essentiel dans la conduite de tels exercices à l ...
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La question centrale de ce nouveau thème de recherche de Philippe d’Iribarne pourrait se résumer ainsi : comment concilier tradition et modernité en entreprise ? En d’autres termes, y a-t-il une autre voie de développement que celle qui consiste à s’inspirer du modèle occidental ? Le livre qu’il vient présenter, Le Tiers-Monde qui réussit. Nouveaux modèles, s’appuie sur des enquêtes de terrain dans des entreprises situées au Sud, et cherche à savoir comment fonctionnent les entreprises dans des ...
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For many people, the name of Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) merely conjures up his comic masterpiece, Three Men in a Boat (1889). In summing up the writer's career, P. van Tieghem states quite rightly in the Dictionnaire des littératures that "he showed a great gift for describing the amusing side of life". But, just as before 1914 another English comic writer, P.G. Wodehouse, was parodying German spy stories with which the British enjoyed frightening themselves, Jerome had the unusual idea of parodying the (not very) amusing aspects of the utopian novels of his own time, and at the same time he managed to anticipate with disturbing foresight the underlying theme of a literary genre that did not then exist: the dystopia or negative utopia.
According to the Encyclopédie de l'utopie et de la science-fiction by Pierre Versins, this strange parody that Professor Beauchamp brings to our attention was translated into French in 1934 in a Belgian literary review (under the title "The New Utopia, or the World in the Year 3000"), then in 1938 was published in a little book entitled Ah! le beau rêve... (Oh What a Beautiful Dream!) but it has not been possible to trace them.
In the United States and in Europe, increasing numbers of business executives are on trial, accused of fraud or, more precisely, of having artificially inflated the value of their stocks and having thereby betrayed the trust of their partners.
Drawing from a study carried out by Futuribles, André-Yves Portnoff points out that one of the principal responsibilities of senior executives should be to maintain a balance between the interests of shareholders and those of the other groups concerned: customers, workforce, suppliers, etc. He stresses how much capitalism is likely to suffer as a result of these practices, which are motivated solely by the lure of short-term financial gain, and of a lack of a collective moral stance which would sustain values that are far more important for business performance in the medium and long term.
This paper describes the development of European scenarios of sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions and resulting depositions in Finland during the 21st century, based on the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios. The work is a part of the FINSKEN project, which aimed at developing consistent long-term scenarios of global change for Finland. The derivation of emission scenarios for European countries and the calculation of environmental loading scenarios based on them presented in this paper is analogous to the estimation ...
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Le rapport de Jean-Michel Yolin propose une nouvelle mise à jour du rapport « Internet et PME » de 1997. Il a pour but d'une part d'examiner de quelle façon Internet peut participer à la compétitivité des entreprises françaises et d'autre part de proposer des actions pour que les entreprises tirent le meilleur parti de cette évolution. Après avoir présenté les enjeux, les atouts et les risques de l'Internet, l'auteur étudie plus particulièrement l'impact de l ...
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Né de la prise de conscience collective des enjeux que porte la diversité du vivant et des menaces qui pèsent sur elle, le concept de biodiversité s'est imposé au monde à la faveur du sommet planétaire de Rio de Janeiro, en juin 1992. Dix ans plus tard, à Johannesburg, les exigences d'action étaient rappelées et l'engagement était pris de freiner l'érosion de la biodiversité à l'horizon 2010. L'objectif de ce rapport est de présenter ...
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En comparaison internationale, la France a un faible taux d'emploi, et ceci recouvre essentiellement un « déficit » d'emplois dans les services. En effet, au cours des dernières décennies, la baisse de l'emploi industriel n'a pas été plus marquée en France que chez ses partenaires ; en revanche, la création d'emploi dans les services a été plus limitée Par ailleurs, l'exemple américain montre que l'expansion de certains services peut s'accompagner de gains de productivité élevés ...
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Le rapport de la CNIL fait apparaître que l'émergence des nouvelles technologies de communication et tout particulièrement l'introduction d'Internet dans l'entreprise a des incidences sur les rapports employés-employeurs. Ainsi, la technique pose de façon nouvelle des questions qui avaient été réglées dans un contexte ancien. Sur la base de son étude, Hubert Bouchet émet des propositions telles que la recherche d'un équilibre dans la mise en œuvre des dispositifs de « cybersurveillance » (Internet, messagerie, rôle des ...
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This paper presents an overview of the changes in ground-level ozone and vegetation exposure occurring in Finland, both as observed in the recent decade, and as estimated for the period 1900 to 2100. A trend analysis of ozone and total nitrate concentrations is carried out for the 1989-2001 period. Future and past concentrations are modelled based on chemistry-transport model simulations, the SRES (Special Report on Emissions Scenarios) scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and emission inventories. Measured summertime ...
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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.