Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
In November 2004, the American presidential election will be held against an international background dominated by the situation in Iraq, where the American-led coalition is floundering. Virtually everywhere in the world, the majority of public opinion is against the re-election of the current President, George W. Bush. The main complaint is about his administration's "messianic" attitude in attempting to impose its vision of the world and of international relations, which was revealed in the Greater Middle East Initiative announced by the United States at the G8 meeting last June and which is presented as the spearhead of American ambitions for the region.
Jean-Jacques Salomon has examined the origins and underlying agenda of this "great plan": he describes for readers of Futuribles the main characters inspiring and implementing the foreign policy of the Bush team (neo-conservatives, the oil lobby, the religious lobbies, the links with the Likud party in Israel), their ideological convictions, the way they hope to put these convictions into practice (in particular state-building) and the flow of reforms that might then come about. This "American fantasy" of Western-style democracy in a region as diverse as the Middle East is hardly realistic under current conditions.
Nonetheless, as Jean-Jacques Salomon stresses, the need for radical reforms in the Muslim world is increasingly recognized and proclaimed by many Arab commentators. But would Westernisation be too high a price to pay for modernization?
As to the result of the American presidential election, let us not delude ourselves: if the Democrats were to win, this would not necessarily bring about a major change in American foreign policy - although at least it would mean that there would be greater respect for the views of their allies and partners - and the messianic tendencies would not disappear.
Tandis que l’opinion se saisit soudain du dossier de l’élargissement de l’Union européenne (en particulier concernant la candidature de la Turquie), alors qu’il s’agissait ordinairement d’une affaire d’initiés, Jean-François Drevet vient de publier une nouvelle édition, revue et corrigée, d’un ouvrage faisant le point sur les enjeux de l’élargissement. C’est à cette double occasion qu’il est venu s’exprimer au sein du groupe Futuribles. Il a tenu à exposer ...
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The city-state of Singapore in South East Asia, with its 4 million inhabitants living on 581 km2, forms a bridge between Malaysia and Indonesia. It has always played a special role, partly because of its geographical position on the route linking the Indian Ocean and the Far East, and partly because of its economic growth early on, which has been a model for the rest of the region. With the increasingly rapid economic development of its big neighbours, China and India, the Singaporean economy is now facing competition in most of the sectors that allowed it to succeed at the global level. The time has therefore come for Singapore to evolve new relationships with these countries. Rémi Perelman describes the main trends, showing how Singapore is holding its own with China and India, both economically and culturally (especially with regard to education). This position will naturally strengthen the international role played by the city-state.
Depuis des mois, la presse et les experts ont insisté sur la dimension politique de l'ouverture de négociations d'adhésion entre l'Union européenne et la Turquie, au plan intérieur comme régional. De même, les effets d'une adhésion turque sur les institutions et l'économie européennes ont été largement débattus. Ici, la question examinée est celle de l'économie turque : le choix qui sera fait marquera, pour elle aussi, un tournant décisif. Selon les auteurs, l'ouverture de ...
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At the meeting of the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000, the European Union set itself the goal of becoming by 2010 "the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world". As readers of Futuribles have seen on several occasions, despite this intention, Europe is falling further and further behind the United States in terms of both economic growth and competitiveness and investment in so-called intangibles (research, education, human resources, etc.), although these are major factors in the knowledge-based economy.
Henri Delanghe, Vincent Duchêne and Ugur Muldur confirm the growing gap between Europe and the United States, adding as well the risk of being overtaken by the emerging economic powers (China, India, Taiwan...). Basing their argument on the theory of long cycles (Kondratiev), the authors reckon that the industrialized countries are about to enter on a fifth wave of sustained and lasting economic growth, thanks to innovations arising from new information and communications technologies.
If indeed it turns out that this hypothesis of a new wave of prosperity is correct (which remains to be seen), two questions arise: can Europe speed up the arrival of this new growth cycle? And is its internal organization ready to deal with this new period of growth, in other words, has it developed an appropriate strategy designed for this new situation?
After a reminder of the key factors required for a new cycle of long-term growth to occur, the authors emphasize in essence that, despite the efforts encouraged in the framework of the Lisbon process, Europe does not possess all the prerequisites to drive forward this new growth spurt. The main obstacles are its under-investment in research and development, its failure to make full use of its human capital and the relative lack of competitiveness of its high-tech products. A change of strategy will clearly be essential if Europe is to avoid lagging behind the other industrialized countries (if not finding itself as leader of the emerging group!).
Following the elections in EU countries for their members of the European Parliament and as some of them start the campaigns leading to referenda on whether or not to ratify the draft European Constitution, Elvire Fabry examines the expectations of EU citizens with regard to their institutions. She stresses that not only is there a lack of legitimacy, the EU must deal with a real civic shortfall, related mainly to adequate public consultation. The agreements made in recent years (from Maastricht to Nice, by way of the draft Constitution) are an improvement in this direction, but what about the citizens themselves - what are their expectations and how can these be met effectively?
As the author emphasizes, this progress (right to more consultation, strengthening of the powers of the Parliament, etc.) does in part satisfy the demand for greater public participation in the debates about European affairs. Nevertheless, paradoxically, there is good reason to fear that the vast majority of Europe's citizens cannot be bothered to make the most of their opportunities. Given this situation, the decision to resort to referenda on the Constitution, in France in particular, runs the risk that, unless there are real efforts to educate and communicate with the voters, the turn-outs will again be low, or even that the Eurosceptics will win.
Jean-Jacques Salomon draws the lessons for Futuribles of a recent report submitted to the Pentagon by a group of experts concerning the future strategic fight forces - meaning the capacity to act militarily against an enemy with sufficient foresight and efficiency to thwart the enemy's capacity to resist anywhere except on the actual battlefield. The strikes aimed at physically eliminating Saddam Hussein in the early hours of the Iraq war in 2003 belong to this way of thinking.
Jean-Jacques Salomon demonstrates how far this effort to take a long-term view is, as so often, shaped by the needs of the moment (e.g. the emphasis on "human" intelligence-gathering) and the dominant military doctrines within the Bush Administration.
This report contains two major innovations. The first concerns a recommendation to proceed with a plan that would allow the United States to strike very quickly any point on Earth from bases within its own territory, which the US Air Force is developing under the FALCON programme (Force Application and Launch from the Continental U.S.). The second innovation concerns the use of small nuclear bombs in order to destroy well-protected underground targets. This last point implicitly raises important questions about the ending of the taboo on using nuclear weapons.
Although the standard of living of Europeans gradually caught up with that of the Americans in the three decades after World War II, it would appear that the trend has dipped since the 1980s. Economic growth in Europe has stagnated, whereas growth has continued in the United States, despite events such as the bursting of the high-tech bubble, and September 11th. Is the decline of Europe compared with the United States unavoidable? What are the reasons for it?
Alain Villemeur describes the different paths taken by the two major Western blocs. He disentangles the reasons normally given to explain the poor results achieved in Europe (inflation, high interest rates, less flexible markets, industrial decline...) and challenges their validity in the light of the remarkable counter-example provided by the Netherlands.
In his view, the key to economic recovery in Europe lies in the investment countries are prepared to make in innovation and knowledge, and the way that innovations are achieved and implemented. What matters most now is to give priority to innovations in products (which means investing in research aimed at developing new products and services) rather than in processes (i.e. attempting to improve or copy innovations in existing products). It is a European country, Sweden, that provides the model for this approach.
For Alain Villemeur, the only means of reversing the economic decline of Europe over the last 20 years lies in combining strong support for research and development and innovation (on the Swedish model) with close control of wage costs (as in the Netherlands), and ensuring that this strategy applies also to the new members of the European Union.
In 2002, per capita GDP (gross domestic product) in France and the European Union was roughly 25% below that of the United States. Per capita GDP is related to several factors: hourly productivity rates, average working hours and the employment rates. In France, hourly productivity rates are very high, but working hours and the employment rates are low.
This explanation does not hold when the facts are examined, argues Cette, since productivity in general appears to fall as working time increases, hence less is produced in the 36th hour than in the 35th, and this is even more true concerning the employment rates, especially those of young people and workers aged over 50 which are particularly low in Europe, especially in France. Gilbert Cette points up this argument with the help of a comparison between the "observed" and the "structural" hourly productivity rates, with the latter distinctly higher in the United States than in Europe and Japan.
He shows that, ultimately, the improvement in productivity in the United States and the decline in Europe is largely due to the growth and, above all, the spread of information and communications technologies. However, for this to have the greatest multiplier effect, there must be not only an appropriate level of investment but also greater flexibility in the markets for goods and labour.
This article implicitly raises an important question about the balance to be struck between productivity and numbers in work, which is a real issue for society to decide.
In an article published in the July 2003 issue of the journal Prospect, Robert Skidelsky offered an analysis of how international relations might develop in future and set out three possible scenarios. Bernard Cazes provides a critical account of the article, discussing each of the three scenarios: Pax Americana, a new international balance of power and a new version of multilateralism. This analysis nicely complements the suggestions of Robert Toulemon, in this issue of Futuribles, with regard to the reform of the United Nations system, especially concerning the third scenario, a refurbished form multilateralism, which is the one that Robert Skidelsky seems to prefer.
Robert Toulemon, a committed European, reflects on the future of the UN institutions, arguing that the UN family, which today lacks legitimacy and is no longer truly representative, would benefit from following the example of the European Union (EU). After a brief survey of the international context and the current deficiencies in the system of global governance - illustrated recently by events in Iraq -, Toulemon sets out a series of prerequisites for such a reform, including the need to recognize the rise of nations like the Republic of South Africa and to promote democracy and the observance of human rights throughout the world.
The first steps towards reform, in his view, would be to take account of peoples and not just states; that done, to recognize and define in institutional terms the right to intervene in a country's internal affairs, which would inevitably mean greater co-operation between Europe, the United States and the South; finally, to organize the reform on a regional basis, i.e. foster the development of large regional groupings as interlocutors within the UN system. In this regard, just as EU institutions have served as models for regional groupings elsewhere in the world (in Asia, Latin America, etc.), they could also inspire the reform of different parts of the UN and their relationships with each other. For example, the UN Secretary General's office could evolve into a collegiate body responsible for safeguarding international law (as the European Commission does within the EU).
Aware that his proposals could be dismissed as utopian, Robert Toulemon offers other detailed suggestions (for funding, governance, etc.) and considers Europe as a pioneer in promoting the new global compromise that he has described.
In this opinion piece, Viviane du Castel surveys the current political and geostrategic situation in Russia following the overwhelming re-election of Vladimir Putin as President of the Russian Federation.
While representative democracy seems to be in a poor way, with opposition parties marginalized and the freedom of the press increasingly threatened, the economy is at a crossroads. A temporary halt to market reforms and a gradual "sovietization" of big industry is accompanied by major uncertainties generated by the clash between the Kremlin and the so-called oligarchs, who are seen as too powerful and too independent. Viviane du Castel discusses the range of options available to Putin during his second term, in which he holds all the political reins in his hands.
In terms of foreign policy, Russia's position today hardly differs from what it was under the Czars: it has to combine its ambitions vis-à-vis the West (i.e. Europe and the United States), the East (mainly China) and what the Russians still call "the near abroad", which this old imperial power cannot disregard for very long. Moreover, the Russian gambit towards China, the European Union and the Atlantic alliance - all now on its borders - can be seen clearly both in its direct international relations and in its actions in those areas that have often been viewed as an essential part of its outer defences: Kaliningrad, Moldavia, Ukraine, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia remain the preferred regions where Russia exercises its muscle. Energy issues, for example, are a good indicator of Moscow's degree of influence on policy.
The real challenge for the country now is to achieve a balance among these three regional power games so as to maximize Russia's role and international influence.
Viviane du Castel provides here the keys to understanding the issues facing a Russian President who seeks to restore his office to the central role within the "vertical" power hierarchy that he wants to re-establish in the anarchic Federation that Russia is today.
Bruno Tertrais considère qu’il n’aurait que peu de choses à changer dans son livre La Guerre sans fin. L’Amérique dans l’engrenage s’il devait le publier aujourd’hui, et que son livre risque d’être d’actualité encore pendant longtemps. Convaincu que pour faire une bonne prospective, il faut d’abord faire une bonne rétrospective, Bruno Tertrais présente tout d’abord comment certains courants de pensée aujourd’hui très influents aux États-Unis sont apparus au cours ...
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Europe is currently experiencing an acute crisis. What can be done?
Pierre Bonnaure here outlines four possible scenarios for the future of the European Union, each of them corresponding to a different school of thought.
But above all, inspired by the "Delors method", he suggests a strategy which would relaunch the construction of a Europe worthy of its name.
Primarily, by recalling the central role that European institutions should play in the construction of a main communal body, he defines the principal constituants. Then, from this main body, by developing projects which, if need be, are suitably adaptable.
Assuming that this condition is met, Europe will, the author stresses, find itself confronted with major challenges:
- on an internal level, with expansion, the change from the industrial era to that of the knowledge-based society, and the essential reform of social welfare systems;
- externally, and perhaps a little more long-term, with the problem of the post-oil era, (or high-cost oil), competition from Asia and that of the European construction of a veritable policy of security and communal defence.
In this article Rémi Perelman offers two scenarios for the way that relations may develop between the two regional giants undergoing "reconversion": China and Russia.
During a period of more than 20 years, despite their ideological links, Maoist China and the Soviet Union maintained their own kind of Cold War, assembling troops on their common borders because of fears of invasion. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Sino-Russian relations were normalized, as each country tried to secure its place on the world economic stage and resume its role as a "normal" participant in international relations.
While China quickly became a key economic player, Russia has struggled to make headway in this area. Both nations nevertheless remain important political and military powers, and their position in international discussions cannot be ignored. Along with the European Union, they constitute the only opposition to American dominance. Their effectiveness would be all the greater if they cooperated with each other.
Taking as his starting-point various recent instances of collaboration between the two countries and, more broadly, with the Central Asian republics, Rémi Perelman outlines two scenarios for 2025: in the first, the current situation continues, with each of the two nations trying to improve its own position but without hurting the other, though also without becoming a real threat to North America; in the second, moves are made towards pan-Asian regional integration and this creates a genuinely three-way system - but perhaps only two-way if Europe does not manage to maintain its position ...
L'entrée dans l'Union européenne des 10 pays entrants, le 1er mai 2004, ne ferme pas le chantier de l'élargissement : l'adoption de l'euro sera la prochaine étape de l'intégration des nouveaux membres. Ceci leur impose de respecter les critères définis dans le traité de Maastricht, et en particulier de participer au SME (système monétaire européen) bis pendant au moins deux années. Cette exigence est une source importante d'incertitude, car la convergence économique ne s ...
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In this article General Alain Lamballe, who has held many high-level posts involving international strategic relations, stresses how the English-speaking nations, especially the British, have succeeded in "bagging" key posts in international bodies, whereas senior French civil servants have tended to be relegated to lesser positions, partly through bad personnel management and partly through inadequate training.
In particular, he shows how the British manage to monopolize key positions, especially when important strategic issues are at stake, thus enabling the English-speaking countries to impose their views on the conduct of business.
By contrast, he argues, France's problem lies in French policy with regard to senior international civil servants. In his view, after their initial training, such people are not given adequate long-term training or moved around enough to acquire the range of experience that ambassadors and senior military officers, for example, require in order to cope with the issues of globalisation.
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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Although at the end of 2003 the member states of the European Union were unable to reach agreement on a draft Constitution which would provide them with a full political framework, there are other areas -often thought to have greater strategic implications- where they are making rapid progress together. Space, in particular, is one such area, as illustrated by the Galileo programme to create a satellite-linked positioning and guidance system.
André Lebeau, a scientific adviser to Futuribles, presents here the ins and outs of the Galileo programme, which has as one of its main aims to develop a competitor for the American Global Positioning System (GPS), the only efficient satellite-linked guidance system currently available. After outlining the story of how the GPS was created and the numerous military, civil and industrial matters associated with it, Lebeau describes how the Europeans have organized this "counter-attack". He highlights the implications of this initiative for greater co-operation in Europe, because of the political and defence issues involved, if for nothing else.
In September 2003 Pierre Hassner, Director of Research at CERI (Centre d'études et de recherches internationales, Fondation nationale des sciences politiques), published the second volume of his Violence and Peace (La Violence et la paix), entitled La Terreur et l'empire (Paris: Seuil, 2003). The first volume, From the Atomic Bomb to Ethnic Cleansing (De la bombe atomique au nettoyage ethnique, Paris: Seuil, 2000), covered the collapse of the bipolar world order after the end of the Cold War; much of the second volume is devoted to an analysis of the upheavals since 11 September 2001, as well as to texts and articles written in recent decades.
The eminent French specialist in international relations first examines the changes currently taking place on the world stage and the thinking of the various actors involved (states, international institutions, transnational organizations, etc.). He then goes on to offer a range of extremely interesting theoretical insights based on ideas developed by the most famous observers of international relations, from Kant to Francis Fukuyama, by way of such people as Hegel, Samuel Huntington and Henry Kissinger.
Alain Lamballe has produced a detailed review for Futuribles in which everyone, whether or not they are familiar with the issues of international relations, will find food for thought about what is happening in the world today.
L'e-santé, définissable comme l'utilisation des technologies de la société de l'information dans le secteur de la santé, devient l'une des grandes priorités des programmes sanitaires de l'Union européenne : du dossier médical informatisé à la télémédecine, en passant par la géolocalisation (utile notamment pour les aveugles ou les missions de premiers secours), l'évolution du système de soins sera radicale. C'est donc logiquement que l'IPTS (Institute for Prospective Technological Studies) a choisi l'e-santé ...
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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.