Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Michel Godet comments on two recent reports by the Council for Economic Analysis on productivity and employment, and on the gap between France, the rest of Europe and the United States in this regard. This leads him to offer a different explanation of the poor performance of France, which he thinks is due to the small numbers in work, the demographic decline and the excessive emphasis only on those jobs that are judged, rightly or wrongly, to be highly productive.
He stresses first the high demand for personal services, the large numbers of potential jobs in this area, and hence the need to reassess the worth of professions relating to it. He then goes on to offer a critical discussion of the analyses of productivity, emphasizing in essence that, although the hourly productivity rate in France is high, the economic results are in general poor, and this is because there are not enough people in work.
Lastly, he outlines various ways of reviving growth and employment, for instance by encouraging part-time working and replacing welfare payments that are made without any requirement to work with arrangements which would encourage more French people to stay in their jobs or return to employment.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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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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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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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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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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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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.
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.
Cet article présente l'exercice de construction de scénarios réalisé en novembre 2002, lors d'une conférence sur l'avenir des régions européennes organisée par le think-tank allemand Scenario Management International (ScMI). La méthode utilisée est longuement développée. Tout d'abord, trois grandes questions ont servi de cadre à la réflexion : la première portait sur la vitesse de l'intégration européenne, la deuxième sur la survie des cultures régionales, la troisième sur le dynamisme de l'innovation technologique au sein ...
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We were very sorry to learn of the death of Henri Mendras (1927-2003), who was an extremely acute observer of contemporary societies and, through his unfailingly forceful analyses, made a significant contribution to studies of the future of societies. He was a founder member of what was to become the "Futuribles group" and took part in our activities from the very beginning right up to his death, always observing the changes in Western society with a keen and penetrating gaze.
In his memory Bruno Hérault has compiled a text including substantial extracts from his works which were particularly significant markers in Henri Mendras' intellectual development.
First, La Fin des paysans (published in 1967 by Futuribles), a book in which Henri Mendras described with remarkable clairvoyance the profound changes occurring in agriculture and the life of the countryside, a "possible future" (futurible) that is still strikingly relevant. Then La Seconde Révolution française (Paris: Gallimard, 1988) and, 14 years later, La France que je vois (Paris: Autrement, 2002); in these works Henri Mendras analysed the major changes taking place in French society (what he called "belated modernity"), while showing how things that other commentators criticized as shortcomings could be read more positively: for example, "individualism brings out its opposite, the strengthening of social relationships"; "if the two-tier society is frightening, this is because equality has made such great strides that any inequality has become intolerable".
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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Le projet de recherche européen eGap, coordonné par Futuribles de juin 2002 à juin 2004, s'est donné pour but de comprendre les raisons d'un constat : il existe un décalage dans le temps entre l'innovation, la mise à disposition d'outils technologiques, et l'adoption et la mise en œuvre dans les petites et moyennes entreprises (PME) d'un schéma socio-organisationnel innovant. Le mode choisi est le travail à distance, ou télétravail, le travail mobile, ou les téléactivités ...
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La première partie du rapport énumère les neuf constats du groupe de travail liés aux nouvelles technologies de l'énergie qui caractérisent la situation actuelle et les défis que doit affronter la politique de recherche et développement dans les technologies de l'énergie afin d'honorer les besoins énergétiques à venir de la France et de l'Europe et de réduire les émissions de gaz carbonique. La seconde partie propose les grandes lignes d'une stratégie européenne de recherche et ...
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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.