Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
The victims of economic globalization are not confined to France: certain American firms, too, are suffering from global competition, having failed to find ways of adapting in order to survive. Among them, General Motors, a symbol of American manufacturing for almost a century, is currently going through a critical period. After being a world leader in vehicle manufacturing for decades, the company is having to cope with social costs that it cannot meet as well as a sharp fall in domestic demand for its products (which used to be its main source of earnings), the end of low oil prices, while at the same time it has not made adequate investments in research and innovation such as have allowed a rival like Toyota to gain a comfortable foothold in the sector.
This is a major challenge, as Michel Drancourt shows in this article, presenting the history of the firm and the various problems it must resolve. And if there is to be a favourable outcome, he argues, it can come only if General Motors is prepared to take real risks - for example, by investing heavily in innovation to prepare for the time when the oil has run out or radically changing its approach to the international market for vehicles.
Intellectuals in the 1920s were much concerned to find new forms of economic, social and political organization capable of meeting the challenges of modern times and of giving practical expression to the pacifist attitudes which were widespread after the First World War. In this context, the idea of a union of the countries of Europe began to emerge: for those in favour, it had the double advantage of preventing any fresh conflict and of strengthening the nations of the Old World vis-à-vis the rising power of the United States and the Soviet Union. Thus the idea of a united Europe was fashionable in the 1920s, and the Revue des Vivants reflected this in 1929 by organizing a competition on the theme of "the United States of Europe", then publishing the best contributions.
Claude du Granrut offers us here a summary that reveals, as well as the visionary character of the writings chosen, how the issues dominating European unification have remained much the same down to the present day. This article is useful in both showing how much progress has been made but also highlighting the questions that still need to be resolved after more than 70 years.
In recent years the information and communication technologies have flooded Western households (personal computers, cell phones, the Internet, etc.), sometimes helping to blur the boundaries between professional and private life. Against this background, has teleworking (working at a distance, working while travelling or dividing time between home and office) increased in the industrialized countries?
Anne de Beer sets out the regulations governing teleworking in France, in Europe and in the United States, and presents the results of various surveys carried out in these areas that give an idea of how widespread the practice has become. Whereas in the United States 24.6% of those with jobs do some teleworking, this is true of only 13% of those working in the 15 (pre-enlargement) members of the European Union, with wide regional differences (the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries are far ahead of southern Europe). On the basis of these surveys the author shows what the benefits of teleworking are for employers and employees, and which factors are likely to promote or restrict its spread.
Quite apart from its potential economic and organizational advantages for firms, teleworking also relates to some social choices such as quality of life and job satisfaction for workers, as well as to more macroeconomic factors such as employees' productivity and environmental protection (energy savings and reduced traffic pollution).
Is the spread of information technologies, above all the Internet, an asset for businesses? If so, do they make the best use of the opportunities these technologies offer? How is the situation likely to change and therefore what new opportunities are likely to present themselves? Do firms in France know how to seize them and do the authorities know how to encourage them?
These are among the questions that Jean-Michel Yolin has tried to answer every year since 1997 in a report to the French Minister of Industry. Here Gérard Blanc shares the main conclusions of the report published at the end of 2005, presenting the current state of technology and the emerging trends, as well as showing that French firms have still not made the most of all the inherent opportunities.
This article was originally published in Futuribles in 1988. The author then issued a warning to readers about the serious risks connected with the ageing of the population of the United States. Mahoney emphasizes in particular the problems of financing health care expenditures that might arise, which might lead later to rationing care and raise the question of the right to life of very old sick people. He also stresses the possibility of serious intergenerational conflicts in the event that public spending were to become too heavily biased towards funding pensions and the health care needs of the elderly at the expense of the working population and their children. In this regard, the ability of elderly people to organize pressure groups and their greater propensity to vote relative to younger age-groups means that politicians tend to court them and listen closely to their demands; as their numbers rise, the imbalance favouring them at the expense of young people might increase significantly, according to Thomas Mahoney.
The article remains as interesting now as in 1988, to judge from the pattern of demographic change in the United States and its likely consequences (see also the article by Charles du Granrut on "Crunch time for the pension system in the United States?" in this issue, p. 21). It remains just as relevant, too, for the other industrialized countries experiencing an ageing population, in particular France and the "old" countries of Europe.
As we have already argued (Futuribles, n° 299, July-August 2004), whereas the standard of living of Europeans gradually caught up with that of the Americans in the three prosperous decades after the Second World War, the gap between them has widened again since then. What is the reason for the relative decline of Europe vis-à-vis the United States and for the varied showing from country to country within Europe? The experts disagree as to the underlying causes of these differences.
Because we are concerned with knowledge-based economies, the factors most often mentioned are the lower spending on R&D, the lags in innovation and rigidities in the labour markets of European countries, especially France. "Wrong!" say Philippe Durance, Michel Godet and Michel Martinez. Instead the explanations lie in the differences in demographic increase and the disparities in hours worked and, above all, in employment levels.
The authors' arguments come down to three factors. First, four-fifths of the difference between growth rates in the United States and Europe can be explained by the difference in rates of population increase, followed by the shorter hours worked by those in employment (an American works 25% longer hours than a French worker), and lastly the lower proportion of those in work in Europe, with significant differences among countries, for instance between Britain and France.
And here the authors proffer an argument that cannot fail to capture the attention of our readers: "Let's stop boasting about the apparent high productivity rate in France, which is largely a reflection in the statistics of the fact that the least productive workers are consigned to the scrapheap". In other words, "the hourly productivity rate is then an indicator of exclusion", and it would be better if everyone worked, so that overall activity rates rose, rather than practising discrimination in the name of maintaining productivity.
Faits : Les Européens vont effectuer 11,3% de leurs achats de voyages en ligne en 2006 (9,5 % en 2005), selon le Center for Regional and Tourism Research danois. Les Américains ont déjà en 2005 dépensé 65,4 milliards de dollars US pour réserver 30% de leurs titres de voyage en ligne (+25,5%/an) d’après PhoCusWright. L’influence d’Internet dépasse ces chiffres car beaucoup d’achats conclus par les voies traditionnelles sont préparés en ligne. Selon une ...
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Ce rapport s'inscrit dans la lignée des travaux réalisés depuis 1997 par le groupe « Prospective des métiers et qualifications » du Commissariat général du Plan, devenu Centre d'analyse stratégique. Il a été réalisé en collaboration avec la DARES (Direction de l'animation de la recherche et des statistiques, ministère de l'Emploi et de la cohésion sociale). Il examine en détail une vingtaine de domaines professionnels sous l'angle de la demande de travail (combien de personnes vont partir ...
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Place croissante de l'innovation, développement massif des technologies de l'information et de la communication, tertiarisation continue des pays développés, tels sont les trois phénomènes qui ont bouleversé l'économie mondiale depuis plus de 20 ans, valorisant ainsi l'économie de l'immatériel, facteur d'innovation et de croissance. La commission présidée par Maurice Lévy et Jean-Pierre Jouyet s'interroge sur les moyens de permettre à la France de surmonter ses faiblesses, notamment en termes de recherche, d'innovation ...
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La prétention est de taille : « ce livre est plus complet, plus honnête, plus méthodique et systématique, plus pratique et tourné vers l'action que la plupart des livres de prospective classiques » annonce l'auteur page 11 (et le message est répété à plusieurs reprises). En réalité, le nouveau livre de Pero Micic, directeur de la société de conseil allemande Future Management Group, est un genre de manuel qui comprend deux parties : une introduction générale à ce qu'il appelle le ...
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Dans l'article introductif du numéro de GDI Impuls intitulé " Connaissance du futur ", Karin Frick et Stefan Kaiser font la synthèse d'une enquête envoyée à une vingtaine de prospectivistes dont Geoffrey Delcroix (Futuribles), Elisabetta Pasini (Future Concept Lab), Jonathan Said (Centre for Economics and Business Research) et Rohit Talwar (Global Future Forum). Comme le signalent les auteurs, on ne peut parler de " connaissance " à propos du futur, et l'article met en évidence les paradoxes auxquels est confrontée la ...
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Cet ouvrage rassemble les textes des intervenants à la grande conférence annuelle de la World Future Society, qui s'est tenue en juillet 2006 à Toronto. Les textes sont regroupés en huit sections. La première, « International Futures », traite des défis mondiaux : émergence de la Chine et de l'Inde dans l'économie mondiale, avenir de la politique européenne de défense, scénarios sur le Brésil en 2020, montée du fondamentalisme religieux... « Leadership for the Future » insiste sur le rôle des dirigeants ...
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As is clear from reading most of the articles in this special issue, all the scenarios for stabilizing or reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to "acceptable" limits require a real effort to tackle the growth of energy consumption. As Véronique Lamblin emphasizes here, all possible means of increasing energy supplies (especially by improving yields or lowering the costs of production technologies) are to be welcomed; nevertheless, this approach alone will probably not be sufficient, given the current concerns about climate change.
Consequently, after highlighting the crucial importance of dealing with the energy problem, she presents here some possible ways of reducing energy consumption in the industrialized countries: production technologies involving a lower carbon content, cutting back demand for electricity and energy for transport, intelligent devices for detecting and reducing waste, management of energy use in housing, industry and vehicles, substitution between products and services, etc. Unfortunately, despite many possibilities that already exist or are in prospect, tackling energy consumption remains a taboo subject, especially because it is too often wrongly understood as holding back economic growth, and it does not attract the amount of effort (in terms of technological or socio-organizational research, for example) needed to match the stakes involved.
This is one of the major failures of both governments and business, in France, in Europe, and throughout the world. It is obvious that if active measures are not taken soon to improve matters, stabilizing the greenhouse gas emissions and thus limiting global warming will remain merely pious hopes.
Le monde s'oriente-t-il vers un avenir énergétique durable ? La poursuite des tendances actuelles laisse penser que non. Le Conseil économique et social, se plaçant à l'horizon 2050, dresse le panorama du mix énergétique raisonné et équilibré qui devrait prévaloir à cette date. Aucune source d'énergie ne peut être exclue a priori, selon cet organisme. Les recherches doivent être activement poursuivies dans tous les domaines. Le XXIe siècle verra se développer une production décentralisée, notamment dans certains espaces ...
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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.