Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
A few weeks ahead of the Russian presidential elections and in the current context of hydrocarbon prices rises, Futuribles is publishing an article this month on the return of the state to the heart of the Russian energy sector.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian government has carried out an important restructuring of the national energy sector around major public and private companies. The main objectives of this reorganization were to sustain the economic growth of Russia and also - increasingly, in the view of Faouzi Bensebaa and Viviane du Castel - gain the country greater influence on the international scene.
In this article, the authors present an assessment of the Russian energy sector and turn the spotlight on a number of projects (Sakhalin 1 and 2, Khariaga) which particularly illustrate the Russian strategy of controlling hydrocarbon resources for economic and geopolitical ends. They show, in this way, how the state is gradually taking over control of national energy resources (including by going back on agreements struck with foreign partner companies) and using that control for political ends (particularly towards "nearby foreign countries"). At the end of their article, they nevertheless stress the factors militating against this renewed control of the energy sector: contradictions internal to the Russian regime, technological backwardness, international financial interlinkages...
Cette 12e édition de State of the Future propose, en six parties, un état des lieux des problèmes émergents qui concernent et concerneront l'humanité. En premier lieu, 15 défis mondiaux nécessitant des stratégies mondiales sont identifiés : le développement durable et le changement climatique, l'eau potable, la croissance de la population mondiale et le manque de ressources, la démocratisation, la prise en compte du long terme par les politiques, la convergence mondiale des technologies de l'information, le fossé ...
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On 12 September 2007, the European Commission launched a broad consultation on the future of the European Union's finances, inviting all parties concerned at the local, regional, national and European levels to take part in the debate on the Union's budget, with a view to a reform project that should take shape in 2008-2009.
Jean-François Drevet therefore devotes his December column to the European budget, reminding us of the current rules and the practices in force in a context that is still, in his view, overly characterized by national preoccupations. He presents a number of possible developmental paths, stressing the point that it is important to see this question in terms of added value from joint action, not of a "fair return" on contributions.
From the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran to the recent collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, the "Shiite question" has regularly been mentioned but seldom analysed in depth, even though it plays an essential role in the regional equilibrium and, increasingly, the gap is widening between this minority strand within Islam (fewer than 15% of Muslims) and the majority denomination (the Sunni). François Zabbal provides a portrait of Shiism here: the identity, history and political involvements of Shiites (from Iran to the Lebanese Hezbollah, not forgetting Palestine), their presence in the Middle East etc. He touches also on the "Shiite revival" (particularly in the area of philosophy) and discusses the possibility of a Shiite axis developing around Iran that could lead to a break up of the Middle East along the lines of recent Iraqi experience, one of the consequences of which is to have put off the prospect of any kind of Arab or Islamic unity for many years.
Following on from the special issue of Futuribles devoted to "Dialogue or Clashes of Culture" published last July, we reprint here extracts from the third number of the journal Prospective, entitled "Relations between the West and the rest of the world". In it, the authors (Gaston Berger, Jean Darcet and Marcel Demonque) analyse the difficulties raised by the aid offered (sometimes imposed) by the West to so-called "underdeveloped countries" (for example, financial or technical assistance), and the actual or inherent risks to the populations of these countries who, viewing this aid as a sign of criticism of their cultures, began to oppose the West. The authors stress the importance of human values and beliefs in relations between civilizations, and conclude by discussing the distinction between civilizations and cultures: the former defined as relating to universal values, the latter to more personal - and therefore inevitably more varied - values.
En Chine et en Inde, la combinaison d’une croissance économique soutenue, de capacités militaires en expansion et de populations nombreuses constitueront le socle d’une croissance attendue en forte accélération, tant sur le plan économique que sur le plan politique. La Chine et l’Inde ont amorcé « un sprint soudain dans la course à la puissance » et ont à ce jour à peine commencé leur bouleversement de l’ordre international. Chindia, la Chine et l’Inde agrégées du fait ...
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Un sondage récent du centre Youri Lévada montre que les Russes sont de moins en moins nombreux à vouloir défendre " une démocratie sur le modèle occidental ". Le nombre de nostalgiques du régime communiste reste stable.
Le dernier document de stratégie de la Commission européenne sur les pays candidats à l'entrée dans l'Union manifeste des perspectives très incertaines d'élargissement à court et moyen termes.
A new intergovernmental meeting was held at the end of July 2007 in order to try to overcome the institutional impasse resulting from the rejection of the European Constitution by France and the Netherlands in 2005. The EU's member states discussed the drafting of a "constitutional mini-treaty" to be submitted to the meeting of the European Council in October 2007. In this month's op-ed piece on the EU, written before the Council meeting, Jean-François Drevet examines one of the matters that must be sorted out: how powers should be divided between the EU and the member states, focussing particularly on France and Germany.
Jean Hourcade, membre d'Asie 21, le groupe de réflexion de Futuribles sur les futurs possibles de l'Asie, nous présente dans ce texte des scénarios d'évolution de la situation politique en Birmanie, pays dans lequel il a vécu et dont il analyse les évolutions depuis des années.
This month Jean-François Drevet's op-ed piece focuses on the relations between the European Union and its neighbour Libya, which is seeking to normalize its international relations, but also with the other Mediterranean countries that are the EU's partners in the context of the Barcelona agreements. He argues that there are many obstacles in the way of establishing concrete policies to promote co-operation between the EU and these nations. In addition to the criteria related to encouraging democracy and respect for human rights, the relations that these countries have with each other reflect the difficulties involved in improving regional co-operation. The best way forward is probably to be pragmatic, for example by encouraging the countries south and east of the Mediterranean to develop collaborative action in some sectors (such as the environment) in order to test how far they are prepared to co-operate at the supranational level.
Ever since the intervention in Iraq by the coalition led by the United States, begun in 2003 and continuing today, Iraq has been the scene of terrible conflict. The fighting between coalition forces and the army of Saddam Hussein has been followed by civil war, the rivalries being in some cases religious (Sunni versus Shia), in others ethnic (Kurd versus Arab), with in addition violence of various kinds against the occupying forces. In August 2007, the number of civilian Iraqis killed since the start of the intervention is estimated as somewhere between 70,000 and 76,000 (according to Iraq Body Count).
Faced with this situation, increasing numbers of Iraqis are fleeing their country and seeking refuge in neighbouring states. François de Jouvenel examines where matters now stand with regard to the population movements and the problems they raise - not just humanitarian but also social and political - in the receiving countries (Syria and Jordan in particular), and highlights the geopolitical risks that result from them for the region as a whole.
Dans les efforts qu'elle a déployés lors du sommet de juin 2007 pour sortir de l'impasse créée par les réponses négatives aux référendums du printemps 2005, la présidence allemande a obtenu un accord sur un calendrier d'adoption du " traité simplifié ", appelé à se substituer au projet de traité constitutionnel.
In April 2000, Futuribles published an article by Nicholas Eberstadt warning of the risks of serious problems in Russia arising from the declining health of the Russian population and the demographic consequences; his analysis seems so far to be accurate. In this issue we are publishing another article by Nicholas Eberstadt, devoted this time to population change in the United States, which he says is the demographic exception because its population growth sets it apart from the other major industrialized countries.
First he describes the exceptionally high fertility rates of American women (a long-term trend that he reckons is likely to continue and perhaps even become stronger) compared with European rates and he outlines the factors that may explain this difference. He goes on to discuss the special contribution of immigration in the American case and the influence that this migration model continues to have on strong population growth. Lastly, extrapolating from the trends that he has described, Nicholas Eberstadt suggests several possible trends for American demographics between now and 2025: he stresses in particular the growing gap between the United States and Europe with regard to population change and the possible economic and geopolitical consequences that this may have.
This month Jean-François Drevet's op-ed piece focuses on the European Union's policy to help the less affluent areas of the EU. As the Commission's fourth report on the subject is published in July 2007, he examines the disparities in economic growth within the EU and what impact the policy (in particular the structural funds) is having not only on growth in the recipient regions (especially the latest countries to join the EU), but also for the economies of the member states that provide the finance.
In this article, as the French government sets out to undertake a major reform of the country's higher education system, Barbara Kehm highlights current trends in Europe in this field.
The author starts by describing the "Bologna process", which launched a new system of qualifications and a series of major reforms of higher education programmes in more than 40 European countries. She then shows how this process (started in 1999) has been combined with the Lisbon strategy (2000) with the aim of establishing by 2010 a Europe-wide system of higher education linked to plans for research and innovation.
Barbara Kehm also examines how the role of the state in the management of higher education is changing in Europe. She discusses the new forms of governance that have developed against the background of the system's problems of both funding and legitimacy, resulting in growing moves towards greater autonomy for individual institutions and more vocationally oriented courses.
Finally, Barbara Kehm looks at three key issues for European higher education: more diverse sources of funding (in order above all to cope with increased numbers of students), research and improvements in quality (via better evaluation and accreditation), and internationalization (involving both co-operation and competition). She concludes her analysis by setting out the main trends in this field for the next 10 years.
Is it still possible to undertake foresight studies in the contemporary world, assessing its potential issues, challenges and developments? With the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 - enormous changes that nobody really foresaw - the question is worth asking.
Frédéric Charillon argues that it is not only possible but indeed necessary to give ourselves the means of trying to predict the future of international relations. Here he offers some tools for deciphering the situation of a sociological nature, criticizing the theory of the clash of civilizations as too simplistic. He first sets out the main issues that need to be considered when analysing tomorrow's world and the cleavages within it that they are likely to generate; he goes on to make a series of observations about the current international situation, highlighting the confusion of models, the ever more frequent abrupt changes, and increasing complexity of the world and how it is represented...
Hence the three main questions about the future of the world analysed by Frédéric Charillon: is there still some system for looking at the future and, if so, what is it? How do we set about understanding international situations if they cannot be explained? Is making culture the focus of the analysis really the best way of capturing the dynamics of the modern world?
Hence, too, the three sociological questions on which he ends: is it better to simplify the reality in order to be able to act or to attempt to understand the complexities before doing anything? Is it better - in both analysis and action - to go for sudden change or for continuity? Is it better to emphasize explanations in terms of the individual or the group?
In this article, Michèle Tribalat examines the consequences of migration for inter-cultural relations in European receiving countries. As she stresses, "in most European societies, immigration has brought about a growing ethno-cultural and religious diversity that is now generating anxiety and discussion about national identity and cohesion". Yet this diversity is likely to increase, partly because of growing demand in the receiving countries (linked to the ageing of their populations), but partly for more political reasons (inflows that are hard to limit because of humanitarian considerations: asylum seekers, family members, etc.).
Michèle Tribalat goes on to discuss the difficulties arising from concentrations of people of foreign origin in the traditional immigration countries (France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, for example) - in particular a certain type of segregation that becomes greater over time and the impact that this may have in shaping the perception of minorities by the native-born population and the special demands made by communities of foreign origin. Finally, the author looks at the ways in which European countries respond, or try to respond, to this cultural diversity: as nationalist sentiments decline, it is less and less straightforward to establish workable policies on immigration (apart from those based solely on demographic factors), but it is nevertheless indispensable in order to avoid ever greater divisions within societies.
Alioune Sall, Director of the African Futures Institute, looks at the key question of this special issue - the future of relations between civilizations at global level - from the African angle, a view too often forgotten in this debate.
In this article, he sets out the major challenges that Africa faces (coping with modernity, bloody conflicts, problems of governance, etc.) and emphasizes how far the West (in particular the former colonial powers) is responsible for the current difficulties of the continent. Nevertheless, contrary to the view that certain commentators sometimes express, he thinks that Africa has a future and one that does not involve a clash of civilizations, but rather a dialogue which will give rise to a new sort of modernity.
Invoking various African thinkers, Alioune Sall offers three main arguments in favour of this dialogue of cultures: pluralism and respect for diversity, a new kind of citizenship that is not based on being native-born, and the emergence of what he calls "afropolitanity" (in a sense marking a post-colonial phase of modernity in Africa). He does not underestimate the scale of the challenges (population growth, economic problems, governance, etc.), but bases his hopes on the coming together of a vision of values and a certain degree of political intervention that makes it possible to envisage Africa's future with optimism, against the background of a genuine dialogue with other cultures, and especially with the West.
Georges Corm analyses, in this op-ed piece, what he calls "the binary vision" of the world in which East and West are opposed. He starts by arguing that the end of the Cold War has not brought an end to the hostility between different blocs that dominated the world between 1945 and 1990. In his view we now have two worlds - one pro-Western and favourable to Israel, the Euro-Atlantic bloc, the other more pro-Arab, the "Mediterranean/Asian" bloc - separated by a fracture line that gives rise to both cold (the Iranian nuclear issue) and hot wars (such as the Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan).
He argues that this new confrontation between "civilizations" arises from five main factors: the "war on terror" which he tries to analyse with a certain critical distance, especially with regard to the United States; a certain tendency to wish to dominate the rest of the world on the part of the United States that is not thwarted by its (somewhat naïve) European allies; a Mediterranean/Asian world whose capacity for harm tends to be overestimated, in particular because as a bloc it is far from being unified; the Israeli-Palestinian situation, which in practice now seems very hard to resolve (the creation of a Palestinian state appears impossible); lastly, the designation of Iran as a potential source of regional conflagration while at the same time the United States has deliberately let slip the opportunity to normalize relations with Iran.
With this view as his starting-point, Georges Corm sketches several possible scenarios for future geopolitical change; in general these are quite pessimistic, such as the hypothesis of all-out war between the Euro-Atlantic bloc and a coalition led by Iran with the more or less overt support of Russia and China. In order to avoid such a prospect, it is essential, Georges Corm argues, to dismantle the policy of forming blocs which threatens to reproduce the model of the two world wars; this requires, in particular, the rules of international law to be applied without exception as the only means of calming "inflamed imaginations".
This article argues that we need to develop foresight studies with a strong geopolitical element, although it also stresses the need, as a preliminary, to meet the challenge of finding a way of capturing the dynamics of the contemporary world situation which is as relevant as possible - a world that clearly no longer resembles the world of the past, heavily dominated as it was by the interaction of nation-states and above all by the Cold War with its head-on confrontation of two opposing blocs operating according to a common logic.
In the absence of an apposite system of representation, the approach offered by Samuel Huntington in his book on The Clash of Civilizations met with great success. The essence of Huntington's thesis is that the civilization paradigm is the best means of analysing, perhaps of anticipating, changes in international relations. The article sets out the main points of Huntington's thesis and then examines what led up to it and, in particular, what its basis and limitations are.
Nevertheless, Hugues de Jouvenel recognizes the need to acquire new tools for deciphering a world where there is a vast increase in global interdependency as well as in tensions and conflicts that should not be viewed solely in terms of differences in culture or civilization, even if these factors undoubtedly play a growing role.
Hugues de Jouvenel concludes by raising the issue of the sense of identity and of belonging to communities of more or less shared values and interests which operate according to models that are sometimes quite unlike those of the past when geopolitics was considered to be the exclusive domain of states and the relationships they forged with one another. He therefore argues that we should thoroughly overhaul our ways of looking at the world which will undoubtedly determine, as always, the way we perceive possible futures.
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.