Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
The major advances in research into the basis of life, especially over the last two decades, threatens to lead - as discoveries and/or inventions are made and, as a result, patents are taken out - to a process of private acquisition and hence commercialisation of the world's gene stock.
Pierre-Benoit Joly and Bertrand Hervieu first outline the dangers inherent in these developments and then go on to discuss the various "innovation regimes", in particular how we have shifted from agricultural research shaped mainly by public bodies and the farming community to genome -soon to be post-genome- research dominated by multinational firms, that incite moves to strengthen intellectual property considerations.
Rather than making the argument one of public versus private control, the authors favour seeking a third way. They begin by analysing the reasons behind patent laws (whose purpose is to encourage research while fostering the spread of innovations), while at the same time they emphasize the problems in practice, especially where life-forms are involved, and the benefits and drawbacks that may arise when patent laws are applied too rigidly.
They then show that other ways of protecting inventions exist which make it possible to share financial resources and genetic material (as has happened in the case of cattle). With these precedents in mind - for which they also sketch the advantages and disadvantages- they make a plea for a European model based on sharing resources, with references to successful initiatives of this kind in both the United States and Europe.
As France prepares to mark the centenary of the separation of Church and State in 2005, the current concerns about the presence of religious symbols in state schools (above all, headscarves worn by Muslim girls) show that the debate is far from over. Above and beyond the issue of religion in schools, the question touches the more general problem of attitudes to Islam in French society. How can we prevent secularism, which is a core value of the French education system, from leading to the exclusion of some pupils? And what can be done so that the French version of Islam distinguishes the temporal from the spiritual?
In this debate it is hard to find more relevant reading matter than A Letter Concerning Toleration published by John Locke in 1689. Although there are plenty of texts about tolerance dating from the 17th century (Spinoza, Bayle), Locke's Letter has become the best known reference, because it is so clear and concise. Starting from a conception of the freedom of judgement essential for all human beings, Locke defines the strict limits on the rights of the two institutions (Church and State), the one concerned with man and his worldly goods, the other with matters of faith and the eternal salvation of his soul.
According to Locke, the right to toleration has nothing to do with religious convictions; instead, it is essentially a practical political issue relating to the conduct of social relations. He makes a radical distinction between politics and religion: anyone who confuses two spheres that are so different in their origins, their ends and their concerns is muddling two things that are diametrical opposites, Heaven and Earth. Tolerance in Locke's view nevertheless involves restrictions, above all with regard to convictions that seek to impinge upon the State's sphere: Roman Catholicism because it is ruled from abroad, atheism because he sees it as basically unsuited to maintaining the moral ties essential to political life. Having had some experience himself of the business of the State, Locke was totally uncompromising about the boundary between public law and divine law: his obsession as a champion of liberalism (in the sense of respect for individual liberties) was with the social disorders arising from arbitrary actions by magistrates or from religious fanaticism or, worse still, the combination of the two.
The text reprinted here is an extract from a book by Yves Cannac published in 1983 (Le Juste Pouvoir, Paris: Jean-Claude Lattès) in which the writer offered his views of the efficiency of the French education system and its ability to respond to public expectations and to those of pupils and their parents. The article is now 20 years old, but the views expressed remain highly relevant, judging by the criticisms of the system in the media today by those currently involved in education. Let us hope that just as schools are about to engage in a full-scale self-examination (under the aegis of the committee chaired by Claude Thélot), the plea made here will be heard: that the school system should really serve the public.
In France the issue of administrative reform, more specifically of the civil service, crops up constantly and yet is also almost a taboo subject. Nevertheless, the Conseil d'État has just produced an important report about it, and Marcel Pochard presents here some of its key ideas.
French civil servants (numbering more than 5 million people) are subject to the common law of employment, but they enjoy a special status that was intended originally to protect them from what Jules Jeanneney called "the impulses, injustices and the ever-present risk of arbitrary action by those in power". As a result they constitute a particularly strong interest group (if not several).
While reminding us of the justifications for the special position of civil servants and the key characteristics, virtues and deficiencies of the public service, Marcel Pochard argues that a thorough overhaul is now indispensable.
He stresses that the civil service is facing three major issues: its performance, since the public sector cannot remain isolated from a largely inevitable general trend; better management of human resources, since this is recognized as having a key role in organizational efficiency; and reconciling the laws governing the public service with other branches of law, especially relating to the public budget and the free movement of state employees within the European Union.
In order to meet these challenges Pochard envisages five avenues of reform. The first concerns the laws relating to employees of the state and the need to review "their range and content" without questioning the need for special arrangements. The second proposes the introduction of contracts in civil service law. The third concerns the modes of management of civil servants, the fourth the modes of personnel organization and management, including the need to separate the grade from job content. The fifth and final one stresses the need to foster a better dialogue within and among civil service departments.
"The time has undoubtedly come for a complete overhaul of the French civil service", writes Marcel Pochard, and his analysis and proposals, which are both daring and relevant, will doubtless generate a lively debate. It remains to be seen whether these recommendations will be accepted and, above all, whether anything will come of them...
In this discussion paper, Daniel Bouchacourt addresses the concept of "rupture" via two of the possible ways it can occur: as a breaking-point and as a threshold. Having defined these two concepts, he uses specific examples (epidemics, major climate events, mobility, etc.) to show in what way these two types of rupture are deeply disturbing for modern societies.
The author emphasizes in particular the regrettable failure of governments to foresee and take account of these factors in the long term. Yet, very often, many weak signals and sometimes even significant trends make it possible to see the approach of these thresholds and, if they were taken into account, it would help governments to avoid them or to make better advance provision for them.
To remedy this lack of foresight, Daniel Bouchacourt proposes four types of policy: restore greater emphasis on the medium and long terms in social and economic analysis, promote positive attitudes, reassure public opinion by providing better information, and derive greater benefit from globalisation.
Pour célébrer le centième anniversaire de sa création, Le Moniteur propose à ses lecteurs de porter un regard vers l'avenir. Les grands enjeux pour la construction à l'horizon 2020 ont été identifiés dans le domaine de l'habitat (des logements plus nombreux pour des familles atomisées), des infrastructures, de l'architecture (nouveaux matériaux et nouvelles technologies), ou encore de l'aménagement du territoire (impact de la décentralisation, arrivée des néoruraux). Les mutations à l'œuvre concernant les lieux ...
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In 1993, in a report to the French Senate on the economic and fiscal implications of the relocation abroad of manufacturing and services (L'Incidence économique et fiscale des délocalisations hors du territoire national des activités industrielles et de service. Paris: Senate, June 1993), Jean Arthuis expressed his concern about the impact of relocations on employment. His assessment then was deeply worrying: in 15 years, the domestic workforce in the sectors most affected by this trend (electronics, clothing and textiles, shoes) had been more than halved.
At the time, the report was presented by Arthuis in this journal ("Les délocalisations contre l'emploi. La sombre analyse du rapport Arthuis", Futuribles, n°181, November 1993) and he intended to shock ("the house is on fire", he wrote then). It proved to be prophetic in that he predicted the coming of the "second generation" of relocations that would affect services and intangibles.
Now indeed, 10 years later, the headlines of the European press continue to be full of news of closures of industrial plants while more and more foreign businesses are established in China, India or Eastern Europe, in high value-added sectors and research as well as basic manufacturing.
In this article, Jean Arthuis makes a gloomy assessment of the last 10 years: "the numbers of relocations have not stopped growing... Worse still, they have increased." He adds, "all sectors of the economy are now affected". Unlike those who like to think that this phenomenon is simply marginal, he argues that it is indeed a major trend but that something can be done to offset it. In his view, the solutions lie in reducing social security contributions and tax rates, in better economic coordination at European level, or in reforms of governance. In addition, he makes proposals for practical measures such as the creation of a "social" value-added tax and ecological taxation.
In the June 2003 issue of Futuribles we published an article by Michel Albert arguing that business could have a key role in promoting sustainable development. Nicole Notat has a similar viewpoint here, showing how the idea of the social responsibility of firms (SRF) has developed, driven by the growing awareness of the social and environmental risks associated with their activities and by a groundswell of opinion among both intergovernmental organizations and civil society.
Mme Notat describes the forms that reactions to these new demands can take, including ethical financing and socially responsible investments, or where necessary outright philanthropic actions. Better still, she stresses that firms can make a real contribution through preventive or proactive strategies that integrate social and environmental concerns in their management.
At the same time, Nicole Notat argues that, because there is no normative statement of what the SRF involves, it is essential to ensure that efforts conducted under this label are in fact genuine. Hence the creation of agencies like the one she heads, Vigeo, which tries to ensure the good faith and good practice on the part of firms.
For her, in any case, the issue is extremely important and the investment in it will be rewarded. A firm that os truly socially responsible has every likelihood of also being more competitive in the short term and, a fortiori, in the long term too.
How the social sciences conceptualize the future depends in varying measure upon intellectual developments within these sciences, upon competition versus cooperation between them, and upon changes in the surrounding society that alter the role of social science. This article notes that social science has matured into a set of somewhat static disciplines that do not expect to grow rapidly as they did decades ago, and this fact may give them a relatively conservative view of the future. However, it is ...
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Sous les effets conjugués du déclin démographique, d'une population vieillissante, d'une forte concentration de cette même population dans quelques aires urbaines et d'une succession de crises économiques et financières, la société japonaise pourrait bien connaître de profondes mutations. Ce dossier a pour objectif d'en appréhender les évolutions en prenant comme angle d'analyse la ville et trois dynamiques sous-jacentes qui rendent compte de ces changements : l'évolution démographique, la modification du rapport entre collectivités locales et ...
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Contrary to the beliefs of neoclassical economists, the value of a firm (or a territory or, more generally, an organization) cannot be assessed solely in traditional accounting terms which, at best, tell us about the past and not about their potential to create value. And this is all the more true when we start looking at an economy where the main factors of wealth are intangibles.
The problem, however, is that "intangibles" is an umbrella term covering all manner of things, and it can give rise to a wide range of interpretations, depending on whether it is taken to mean only skills and intellectual potential, or only items related to information, or ...; besides, it is usually understood as a stock, although increasingly it should be treated in terms of flows and interactions.
A study group was therefore established by Futuribles to determine, on the basis of specific cases, what the key components of "intangibles" are, to explore the indicators that might best capture them, and lastly to develop a tool to evaluate and assist the strategic guidance of organizations.
Véronique Lamblin and André-Yves Portnoff, who together led this working group, present here how we arrived at our conception of this intangible capital, what its main components are (collective intelligence, quality of relationships, organizational factors, capacity to activate, etc.), and what is involved in the method of evaluation that has been developed, called "Valeur Instantanée et Prospective" (VIP, Immediate and Prospective Value) of organizations.
This method has already been successfully tested on several firms; in the future it may perhaps enable firms to avoid strategic errors arising from reliance on traditional accounting systems that are now clearly inadequate.
Firms are increasingly obliged to be accountable for the impact of their activities on the environment. Anticipating this need, many firms have begun to include this requirement in their annual reports, sometimes even producing a report specifically concerned with sustainable development. How worthwhile are these early initiatives?
Thierry Lavoux and Patrice Grégoire have examined a study of the 2001 annual reports of 150 French firms conducted by the French Institute for the Environment (IFEN). They issue a warning: environmental reports have been produced by few firms, especially those whose activities involve considerable risks to the environment, and they should be treated with caution. These reports tend to provide few facts, especially long-term data, but plenty of general ideas.
Moreover, their findings are corroborated by several international surveys whose results they summarize. Sustainable development is clearly a matter of increasing concern so that firms have to give an account of what they are doing in this regard. Yet much progress remains to be made before this concern becomes fully integrated in management thinking and firms produce plausible reports of their efforts to act responsibly towards the environment.
In this article, the authors challenge the hegemony of western science fiction, arguing that western science fiction is particular even as it claims universality. Its view remains based on ideas of the future as forward time. In contrast, in non-western science fiction the future is seen outside linear terms: as cyclical or spiral, or in terms of ancestors. In addition, western science fiction has focused on the good society as created by technological progress, while non-western science fiction and futures ...
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While many writings in the scenario planning literature point to aspects of the constructivist learning perspective, few have made the links explicit. This manuscript intends to expose the links between the process of scenario planning and the constructivist approach to learning and teaching. Thus, the contribution of this manuscript is that it identifies constructivism as a core theoretical domain that informs the process of scenario planning, and describes the ways in which the principles of constructivist learning are found in ...
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Just over ten years ago Michel Albert published an influential book Capitalism against Capitalism (Capitalisme contre capitalisme, Paris: Seuil, 1991) in which he contrasted two models of capitalism: the "neo-American" model, geared to individual success and profit, and the "Rhineland" model, which emphasized collective success, consensus and concern for the long term.
Since then, Michel Albert has often had things to say about the decline of the Rhineland model, and the retreat of "social market economics" in favour of the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. But now suddenly he is arguing that firms -making up for the shortcomings of the state- are paradoxically starting in the United States to embody a new style of social market economics...
He is now arguing that there are two contrasting models of the firm: one is concerned only with maximizing profits for shareholders, whereas the other is motivated by the ideal of broad-based partnerships, seeking to reconcile the interests of customers, shareholdersand employees as well as both short- and long-term demands.
And, somewhat surprisingly, Michel Albert reveals that this new style of firm, which is both socially responsible and a highly efficient business, is coming from the United States to show us what to do.
De nombreuses entreprises ont été amenées à modifier leur organisation à l'occasion de la réduction du temps de travail. « Toutes choses égales d'ailleurs », les salariés ont diversement vécu ces changements. Leur appréciation est plutôt positive quand il s'agit d'utiliser davantage les technologies de l'information ou de développer le travail en groupe, ou encore quand cela permet de disposer de plus de temps pour s'occuper de sa famille, spécialement pour les hommes. À l'inverse ...
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Contrairement aux croyances des économistes néoclassiques, la valeur d'une entreprise (d'un territoire ou, plus généralement, d'une organisation) ne peut s'apprécier exclusivement à l'aune des éléments comptables classiques qui, au mieux, ne nous renseignent que sur le passé, nullement sur leur potentiel de création de valeur. Et ceci est d'autant plus vrai que nous entrons dans une économie au sein de laquelle les principaux facteurs de richesse sont de nature immatérielle. Le problème toutefois est ...
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In this article we present scenarios of wind power development in Finland up to the year 2025. We asked 14 experts to describe probable and preferable futures, through the means of a questionnaire and interviews. The 28 cases were grouped using cluster analysis, and the emerging five clusters were complemented into scenarios by qualitative analysis of the interviews. Wind power production grows in all scenarios but there were differences in the order of magnitude of ten The growth rate of ...
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Les auteurs rendent comptent dans cet article des conclusions d'un programme de recherche financé par plusieurs grandes compagnies américaines. Selon eux, la plupart des entreprises ne savent pas manager les knowledge workers de manière efficace. Elles pourraient améliorer leur productivité et leur flexibilité en réduisant dans le même temps leurs coûts fixes de 30 % Le changement de nature du travail (de plus en plus intellectuel), la diversité croissante de la population active (plus féminine, plus âgée), les attentes de ...
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Les nouvelles technologies bureautiques et industrielles brouillent les frontières entre les métiers. Les traits caractéristiques de l'organisation du travail des cadres se diffusent au sein des autres groupes socioprofessionnels, conjointement au développement des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC) et des machines automatiques. Cela conduit à une homogénéisation du rapport au travail, qui passe par plus d'autonomie, plus de communication, plus de réunions, plus de tâches indirectes. Néanmoins, ce phénomène s'accompagne de clivages forts ...
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At the start of the 21st century, there were less than 1 million small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Russia. Most of these were in Moscow or St.-Petersburg. Employment in SMEs has fallen in the last 3 years to about seven million people. The proportion of SMEs per thousand of population is well below European levels. Should these downward trends be changed, and if so how? The potential for entrepreneurship amongst the Russian people appears to be no ...
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In order to anticipate technological futures of Building Management Systems (BMS), many methods can be identified. However, people often focus on the results of these studies relating to new products. Undoubtedly it is easier to agree on conclusions of a study than on methods used to carry it out. Thus, answering several methodological issues, we develop a new technological future method named `CLE' (complexity, logic, evolution). This one relies on three main ways to answer particularly the problems of complexity ...
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John Robinson has therefore analysed the daily routine of Americans and the changes that have occurred in their lives in recent decades. He then uses this information to compare France and the United States.
The trends in how time is divided between work, the family and leisure pursuits has changed little overall since the 1960s, and turn out to be remarkably similar in the two countries. Nevertheless certain changes can be observed: more women in paid work, less time spent on household tasks and caring for the family, men taking on a greater share of household tasks and a slight fall in the amount of time spent on personal care (washing, dressing, etc.). The greater leisure time available tends to be spent watching television and keeping fit.
While French and American trends usually run in parallel, they diverge in certain areas, in particular the non-productive aspects of life (meals, socializing, group activities) that increase the social capital of daily life. Unlike the Americans, the French prefer to spend their leisure time with other people even though, paradoxically, they spend less time with their children when they get older.
La fin du monde bipolaire a eu pour effet indirect de consacrer l'entreprise comme acteur géopolitique à part entière. D'une part, les industries stratégiques (transports, énergie, télécommunications) se sont émancipées de la tutelle des États grâce au mouvement de dérégulation et certaines activités militaires ont même été privatisées. D'autre part, la défense des intérêts économiques des entreprises privées est devenue un axe majeur de la diplomatie des gouvernements. En outre, les entreprises les plus puissantes pratiquent un ...
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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.