Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Cet ouvrage offre une bonne rétrospective de l'histoire des États-Unis, insistant, comme le titre l'indique, sur ses forces et ses faiblesses, ses succès et ses erreurs au cours du XXe siècle. Puis, une fois le passé retracé et décrypté, l'auteur nous propose six scénarios possibles pour les États-Unis à l'horizon 2025. Le premier, « Stabilité unipolaire », est une extrapolation de la situation présente : les États-Unis, superpuissance incontestée, n'abusent pas de leur pouvoir tandis que, de son ...
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Directeur associé de l'institut CSA, directeur de recherche à la Fondation nationale des sciences politiques, Roland Cayrol est bien placé pour nous éclairer sur les sondages d'opinion car il en est à la fois producteur et utilisateur régulier. Il affirme avec fermeté que le problème n'est pas « de savoir si l'on est "pour" ou "contre" les sondages » ; cet ouvrage instructif se propose bien plutôt « d'identifier pourquoi, comment et à quelles conditions le sondage d'opinion ...
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According to Charles Renouvier, "uchronia" is an apocryphal historical outline of the development of European civilization as it has not been, but as it might have been if... It is therefore in the same tradition as Niall Ferguson's book Virtual History, since it brings together historians to imagine what might have happened if certain events had not taken place.
After a short introduction to uchronia, Bernard Cazes analyses the impact of nine imaginary decisions or events: such as if Cromwell had not lived, if America had remained British, if Great Britain had been neutral in 1914, if Britain had been invaded by the Nazis in 1940.
In three out of nine cases, Bernard Cazes argues, the imaginary alternatives would have made no difference. But clearly he was not totally convinced by the demonstration of these historians of uchronia. This is a pity, because the exercise is amusing and could shed light on the real impact of human decisions on social change.
In this short exercise in intuitive futurology, Jean Saint-Geours highlights three basic trends in global change.
The first relates to the phenomenon of globalization that is especially obvious in the spheres of the environment, finance and economics. In view of their growing interdependence, the author also stresses the systemic risks involved and, consequently, the need for further regulation.
Alongside these aspects, he argues that the spirit of competition and conquest that "encourages initiative, effort and invention", should be accompanied by new collective demands for greater cooperation and control.
Finally, insofar as globalization carries with it a risk of homogenization, it is hardly surprising that there should be a revival of particularisms (such as insistence on religious or cultural identities) which in turn will require moves towards a new trade-off between globalization and diversity.
Ce numéro spécial de la revue Foresight est consacré...au foresight, c'est-à-dire à la prospective technologique. Un article général expose d'abord les méthodes et techniques du foresight, de la méthode Delphi à celle des scénarios en passant par les panels d'experts, et dresse un panorama des études en cours. Six technologies clés sont ensuite successivement passées en revue : les NTIC (nouvelles technologies de l’information et de la communication), l'énergie, les technologies de l'environnement, les ...
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French fertility rates have been falling for a century, which is why the country was already facing a serious ageing of its population as early as 1900. In addition, the 1930s were marked by an even sharper decline in fertility, leading the famous Princeton demographers to forecast, just before the war, an absolute fall in the population.
It was against this background, just before the baby boom that nobody really expected, that the pediatrician Robert Debré and the demographer Alfred Sauvy launched their appeal for "French people for France" which criticized the adverse effects of the failure of the population to replace itself, leading first to ageing and then to absolute decline.
The date is 1946. Robert Debré and Alfred Sauvy were then agitating openly for a policy to repopulate France based on measures intended to increase fertility and to integrate the immigrants. Michel Louis Lévy discusses here their analysis and proposals.
When one keeps close track of futures studies produced in America, as we do constantly at futuribles, one cannot help but be struck by the proliferation of studies that try to draw up lists
of varying length, enumerating the trends of all kinds that will (or might) have a major impact on society and lifestyles in the 21st century. These often take the form of a simple inventory of trends and megatrends that the authors either identify in the United States today or expect as a result of recent developments, especially in science and technology. The lists are extremely diverse and usually lack any rigorous analysis.
Michel Drancourt reviews here one such study by two American political scientists who, not content with the usual catalogue, have tried to analyse which factors are most likely to affect the political life of the United States in the future.
They have identified five "realities" that they think will shape American political life in the 21st century, from the emergence of the information society to the ethnic mix of the population.
We are often asked whether there exists a concise account of the basic concepts and characteristics of the futures studies approach, its underlying philosophy and the main steps in building senarios. We are, therefore, reprinting here a text originally published in the journal futuribles in September 1993, now updated and filled out in the light of recent methodological developments, in particular the many case studies carried out under the aegis of futuribles.
The piece begins with a reminder of the key ideas underlying the futures studies approach as an aid to decision-making, the advantages and limits of the attempt to foresee what might happen. The main features of this "intellectual undiscipline" are then discussed, in particular those that distinguish it from forecasting. Lastly, the various steps in building exploratory scenarios are briefly described, as well as the methods that can be used.
Futures studies experts and those who seek sophisticated methodologies may want more substance. However, the author's intention here is to explore deliberately, in as simple a manner as possible, the why and how of an approach that is proving more indispensable than ever.
Olivier Donnat sketches here an overview of major trends in the evolution of French cultural practices derived from a survey by the "Département des études et de la prospective du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication" (Department of Studies and Outlook of the Ministry of Culture and Communication). It is based on a representative sample of the French population aged 15 and over surveyed on an eight years interval. It has thus the merit of having been repeated four times since 1973.
Comparing the results, the author was able to identify four major trends:
- The spectacular rise of audiovisual and music listening. Olivier Donnat first underlines how much the equipment in households has progressed (television, hi-fi, VCR, computers, video-games...) along with a strong diversification of offers (TV programs, diskettes video, CD...). Screens and music have massively invaded the French daily life, transforming the habitat into a space of personal growth and leisure without provoking a phenomenon of cocooning.
- On the other hand, the reading of press and books tends to diminish. They are no longer a privilege way to access to knowledge nor a sign of social distinction. They are a necessity rather than a pleasure.
- The use of some cultural facilities such as libraries and mediatheques increased spectacularly but the use of others, such as museums, only moderately. These activities are still very much associated with particular social groups (managers, intellectual professions, students).
- Last, the author perceives an increasing diversification of cultural practices (i.e. the rise of outside cultural events, festivals, streets shows...) and the development of artistic and cultural activities among amateurs.
Although these surveys are an account of what has happened over the past with no overt extrapolation to the future, the author reminds us that social change comes mainly through the passing of generations. By identifying the activities of youth, he therefore reveals some trends which are likely to last.
Beside the Hespel-Thierry Report (cf. Futuribles n°245, pp.31-44), two other reports on the helping professions were published in France in 1998. They are issued by the Council on Economic Analysis (Conseil d'Analyse Économique) attached to the Office of the Prime Minister.
Gilbert Cette compares the three reports which, although they agree on many observations, sometimes come to different recommendations.
Véronique Hespel and Michel Thierry present their synopsis of a report commissioned by the French Government on services provided to individuals (care of young children, aid to the elderly or handicapped).
Starting with a diagnosis of the existing system, they underscore its complexity and poor performance. As is often the case in matters of social policy over time, new measures have been added incrementally, with a consequent multiplication of administrative bodies. The result is a costly maze which, although it created jobs, was not adapted to needs and in the end was not manageable.
Asked to make proposals for improving the efficiency of the system without destroying jobs or compromising the balance of public finances, the authors came up with several recommendations inspired by a three-part preoccupation:
- to rationalize and impose uniformity on the melange of services,
- to restructure assistance by targeting the most needy households, and
- to put in place a policy of professionalization in the helping services.
Precise measures are proposed. They are succinctly described in the second part of the article published here.
La revue Projet a consacré son numéro de septembre 1999 aux mutations de l'emploi et à l'évolution du rôle du travail dans la société. Une petite dizaine d'auteurs (parmi lesquels Bernard Brunhes, Alain Lipietz et Jean-Emmanuel Ray) se penche ainsi sur l'un des plus profonds bouleversements de cette fin de siècle : celui de notre rapport au travail. Dans un premier temps, trois articles déclinent les mutations en cours concernant la vie professionnelle proprement dite : émergence de ...
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John von Neumann (1903-1957) has written little on his view of the future of the world. His contributions to science and technology cover a wide expanse of disciplines, from the mathematical foundations of quantum physics, to game theory applied to economics and to theoretical analysis of automation and numerical machines. Their extraordinary diversity, unified only by a common mathematical rigor and austerity, may explain why this powerful intelligence has not received the same academic recognition or universal notoriety as other thinkers in the field.
In Can We Survive Technology?, a curious mix of rational pessimism and determined optimism, he wrote in June 1955 for the review Future, he points to a global conflict between technological evolution and the survival of humanity. This is by no means a new twist on Malthusianism of the first expression of concern for the destabilization of the planetary environment. Von Neuman's discourse is not about physical interaction - depletion of resources or global pollution - between the technological system and its planetary environment. It is rather about a total conflict developing between piecemeal geopolitics and the global impacts of technology. The fear of a nuclear holocaust, which has obsessed an entire generation, is doubtless related to this exploration into the risk of self-destruction which technological evolution poses to humanity. But von Neuman's discourse goes much further. He calls attention to the potential instability on a global scale engendered by interaction between technological development and political systems, between techniques applied globally and local institutions rooted in geography.
To give more weight to his argument, John von Neumann sketches, with unequal success, a scenario of the future evolution of technology. The economic competitiveness of nuclear reactors as a source of energy is correctly evaluated, but its blockage by social reaction and the treatment of waste are not evoked. The domestication of fusion and the control of energy by means other than thermodynamics belong to a future which seems more distant than his vision.
Nuclear alchemy has not been as important as he thought it would be. It has become an important tool of experimentation, but has not penetrated the domain of production without the dangerous accompaniment of nuclear waste.
The spread of calculation and automation based on his solid state technology is undoubtedly the element of this scenario which conforms most closely to present reality. The climatic change which is so important to us was anticipated by von Neumann only in the sense that we might provoke it; he did not anticipate that we might have to cope with climatic change wrought by nature itself.
However, the main interest of this text is not that it is better or worse than others as a scenario. It resides in von Neumann's identification of a threat the nature and unity of which are still misperceived : a threat of instability brought by the growing incoherence between technological progress and a world both finite and under-organized. It is also a pragmatic reflection on the means by which humanity might survive this conflict.
L'article de Thomas W. Malone et Robert J. Laubacher constitue une approche prospective stimulante, sans s'appuyer pour autant sur une méthodologie très rigoureuse, du type méthode des scenarios. Ces auteurs caractérisent un certain nombre de faits nouveaux qui leur paraissent porteurs d'avenir et s’efforcent de les situer dans une perspective de temps long, afin de mieux cerner dans quelle mesure ils peuvent être significatifs de tendances lourdes. Ils le font avec beaucoup de prudence, a juste ...
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Ce numéro de Politiques et management public constitue le premier tome d'un dossier entièrement consacré à la performance des administrations publiques et qui reprend les actes d'un colloque international dédié à cette question (tenu à Aix-en-Provence les 28-29 mai 1998). Une dizaine d'articles analysent les perspectives et les moyens relatifs à l'efficacité des administrations publiques, de manière générale mais aussi à l'aune de l'expérience de certains pays (États-Unis, pays en développement, par exemple). À ...
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On a beaucoup parlé de la durée du travail des Américains mais moins de quelles heures ou jours en particulier ils travaillent. Pourtant, il devient de plus en plus évident que les États-Unis s'orientent vers une économie du 24 heures sur 24, 7 jours sur 7, une tendance fort susceptible de se confirmer au siècle prochain (et dans d'autres pays). Les deux cinquièmes des employés américains travaillent en majorité le soir ou la nuit, en équipes tournantes, ou ...
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Utopie et aménagement du territoire ont une longue histoire commune : une des caractéristiques de la pensée utopique réside dans la description d'un territoire « qui n'existe nulle part », cité, île ou planète et où l'urbanisme, le pouvoir politique, l'activité économique et les rapports sociaux seraient organisés de manière idéale. Loin des pratiques de gestion « réalistes » ponctuelles et sans moyens des décevantes politiques de la ville, ce recueil d'articles a l'ambition noble de redonner à l ...
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In this article, Thomas W. Malone, in charge of MIT's program "Inventing 21st century Organizations" and Robert J. Laubacher describe fundamental transformations which are changing the types of organizations and the forms of employments which marked the industrial era and gigantic pyramidical enterprises and salaried jobs.
Pointing to the "tertiarisation" of modern economies (value-added is now mostly from immaterial factors and the knowledge revolution) and the rise of information and communication technology, the authors anticipate the decline of yesterday's giant entreprises. They also predict the decrease of salaried employment around precise tasks and fixed scheduling. It will be replaced by more precious structures, ad hoc projects and the rise of enterpreunial constellations working on just-in-time projects from a distance.
The work world they describe here is far from being science fiction. It fits the emerging will for autonomy and partnership along with the development of polycellular enterprises, enterpreunarial confederations and networks which make use the individual and interrelated intelligence of everyone.
When we read the article of Thomas W. Malone and Robert J. Laubacher, we can take a measure of what has to be changed in our enterprises, whether it be in their managerial style or in mentalities and behaviours. They will have to abandon relationships of authority and dependence to embrace those of co-invention and co-production.
Les villes telles que nous les connaissons aujourd'hui sont largement le résultat des technologies de l'ère industrielle. Celles-ci, par les économies d'échelle qu'elles imposaient, ont en effet favorisé dans un premier temps la concentration de l'activité économique dans le centre. Ensuite, avec le développement de l'automobile, les industries se sont déplacées vers la périphérie, et le centre s'est consacré aux activités de service. De nombreux habitants ont accompagné ce mouvement, venant grossir les ...
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Economist Friedrich List (1789-1846) was contemporaneous with the birth of railways, German uncertainties before Bismarck, and the rise of the United States.
He dreamed of a unified or " common " market within the German market, based on the new possibilities of transportation and protection from external competition (the Zollverein). This would permit new enterprises some time to grow strong enough to face foreign ones.
He was often described as a national-protectionist, a thesis accepted by Emmanuel Todd, who introduces this republication of List by Gallimard. In reality, he was a liberal, although a realistic one. Before facing the outside world, the basics have to be reinforced.
List lived in several countries, where he tried to influence decision makers. He wrote everywhere in the language of his host country. " Free trade is profitable to individuals and the States ". However, during the development phase, protectionism is vital. Regardless of the brilliance of his analyses, List was unsuccessful in efforts to influence the course of enterprises which he helped to launch in the States and later in Germany.
He found his most stiking illustrations in the United States, which he visited to observe the construction of railways. His "National System of Political Economy", written in 1841, was very much studied in the United States. Conceived and written primarily in Paris, it sheds light on the current European debate. We provide three excerpts in this issue. One is on the necessity of strengthening industries before facing cosmopolitan competition. Another is a plea for confederation of peoples in order to secure a perpetual peace. It took Europe a hundred years of suicidal war before it would seriously listen to a message that the world at large is still not ready to accept, despite the United Nations. In the third excerpt, List identified the rational behind the success of America, which was already visible in his times.
Cet article part du paradoxe du progrès technologique, qui est à la fois la source des modifications de l'environnement et leur remède. Laquelle de ces tendances est la plus forte ? Plusieurs exercices de prospective technologique (foresight) ont tenté de distinguer les technologies-clés en matière d'environnement de demain. Mais en focalisant sur la dimension technique, ils n'ont pas pris en compte des facteurs comme le rôle des institutions, l'infrastructure économique, la résistance au changement et l'inertie ...
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All forecasts, whatever their topic and the methods used by their authors, always start by identifying the variables and actors involved. Then comes an evaluation of the margins for manoeuvre, their strategies and their alliances and conflicts.
Analysis of the actors' stakes is an essential but sensitive task in most forecasting exercises. The difficulties arise from the plurality of actors, their respective powers - the repartition of which is itself one of the stakes - the strategies they are likely to select (often in secret) and their relationships, which are often more complex than a simple relationship of consensus or conflict. Christian Schmidt examines the use that could be made of game theory, to provide a better understanding of the actors and their inter-relationships.
Cet article reprend les travaux menés par l'Institut Estonien de Prospective entre la fin 1996 et le début de 1997 en les resituant dans la perspective actuelle de l'après crise. Il résume d'abord les scénarios qui avaient été établis à partir de deux critères alternatifs. Le premier critère était de savoir si l'Estonie allait se tourner pour ses échanges commerciaux plutôt vers la Russie et la CEI ou bien allait privilégier l'intégration dans l'Union ...
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The Next One Hundred Years (1900-2000)
In 1982 the World Future Society retrieved an anticipatory article from the end of last century and published it in the December issue of The Futurist that year. We are reproducing it here, translated for the first time into French. In the 1982 reproduction it was accompanied by two commentaries written by University of Minnesota Professors Harold Shane and Gary Sojka. The author was an American journalist by the name of Elfreth Watkins Jr., who was about thirty when he wrote it. It was published in the Ladies Home Journal of December, 1900.
Bien qu'il y ait plus de livres publiés aujourd'hui que jamais (65 000 paraissent chaque année uniquement aux États-Unis et encore plus en Allemagne ou en Chine), le livre est, selon l'auteur, une technologie qui appartient au passé : encombrant, coûteux pour l'environnement, difficile à trouver, cher... Le livre survivra toutefois, il restera sans doute un loisir apprécié dans lequel la matérialité de l'objet gardera sa valeur. Mais lorsque l'on considère sa fonction purement informative ...
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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.