Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Although this article, which was written long before the recent French elections, sets out to examine long-term trends, it is also extremely illuminating about the present political situation.
While there are clear differences among countries (in particular between the Protestant nations of Northern Europe and the Catholic South) it highlights the general decline in interest in politics and in turnout at elections, especially among young people. By contrast, it stresses the rise of new forms of political activity based on protest.
Pierre Bréchon ponders how much trust Europeans place in their institutions, and shows - although, again, there are obvious differences between countries - that some institutions are well regarded, depending on their purpose, for example the systems providing education, social security and healthcare.
By contrast, stressing the gulf between political leaders and the electorate, Bréchon points out how far the democratic institutions such as parliaments are criticized for being unrepresentative.
He then goes on to look at political affiliations, in particular the Left-Right divide; he shows that although this is now much less marked, it still has a certain sense, as can be seen from the importance attached to a range of values emblematic of the two sides.
After focussing on xenophobia, the changes in attitudes to immigrants and the immigration policies adopted by the various countries, Pierre Bréchon looks more closely at democracy itself. He argues that although it is well established in Western Europe, this does not mean that it is above criticism, sometimes energetic.
Overall, the author stresses that the trends observed over the last 20 years remain steady, including the continuing diversity among countries which appears not to have diminished in spite of the growth of the European Union.
Cette conférence, organisée à Séville les 13 et 14 mai 2002 sous les auspices de la présidence espagnole de la Commission européenne et préparée par l'Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), avait pour objectif de renforcer les relations entre le foresight stratégique et la planification politique, en particulier pour la science et la technologie. Des spécialistes du foresight, des utilisateurs, des planificateurs et des décideurs se sont réunis pour identifier ce qui serait nécessaire pour accroître en pratique la ...
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Dans cet article, le Centre for Future Studies, think tank britannique créé en 1996, nous invite à un voyage dans l'Europe de demain. Les facteurs de changement dans les domaines sociaux, économiques, techniques, politiques et environnementaux sont d'abord passés en revue, pour ensuite être combinés dans quatre scénarios alternatifs. Le premier, « Triangle d'or », décrit une situation idéale : croissance soutenue, ouverture des marchés et progrès techniques permettent un élargissement de l'Union européenne à l'Est et même ...
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Dans cet entretien, Todd Sandler, professeur de relations internationales et d'économie à l'université de Caroline du Sud explique pourquoi les efforts pour prévenir les actes terroristes sont généralement inefficaces. En effet, en se basant sur l'étude de séries statistiques et en utilisant la théorie des jeux, il arrive à la conclusion que lorsqu'un gouvernement met en place un système de protection (comme par exemple les détecteurs de métaux dans les aéroports), un certain type d'actes ...
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Readers of Futuribles are well aware of the issues related to the changes in climate caused by human agency which, after long and bitter scientific wrangling, are at the heart of a complex process of international negotiations over the last ten years.
Jacques Varet brings us up to date on the most recent developments in the field of climate change, in particular the last report of the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change), which shows that the average ground temperature could rise by between 1.4 and 8° Celsius between 1990 and 2100, i.e. between 2 and 50 times more than in the previous hundred years. He surveys the causes and the consequences as they are currently understood.
Jacques Varet goes on to review the way that the international negotiations have evolved, especially since the Earth Summit in Rio (1992) and up to the conference planned for Johannesburg in September 2002, and of course including the Kyoto meeting at which for the first time an agreement - in principle legally binding - was made that set precise targets for the reduction of emissions by the industrialized countries.
A few months ahead of the Johannesburg conference, Jacques Varet looks at the current stance of various countries or groups of nations. He examines the key issues and difficulties in these negotiations, which are far from over, and the problems of implementing the measures being proposed.
Achille Seghin provides here a masterly evaluation of how the countries of Europe perform in terms of employment, measured by the percentage of the economically active population (aged 15-64, as for all international comparisons) actually in work.
Readers of Futuribles will be familiar with this indicator because we have long argued in favour of it, and it has indeed been adopted at recent European summit meetings. Nevertheless, Achille Seghin reminds us of the advantages of this indicator, especially compared with unemployment rates, which are more commonly used as a yardstick.
First he surveys the comparative performances of European countries over the last 30 years. Then, refining the analysis to take account of part-time work, he calculates a 'modified' employment rate. Finally, looking at employment by sector, he estimates employment rates for each sector: manufacturing, then services, both commercial and non-commercial.
In conclusion, Seghin argues that contrasting trends can be observed across Europe. Furthermore, he points out that the countries with the highest employment rates also have the highest levels of part-time workers, and those where the employment rate in the commercial sector is highest also have the highest rate in the non-commercial sector.
Excerpts from LEWIS Bernard. The Assassins. Political Terrorism in Medieval Islam (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1967)
Bernard Lewis, a permanent member of the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, is one of the leading contemporary oriental scholars. He has written extensively on the history of the Arabs and on the Muslim world. When he wrote his book The Assassins: A radical sect in Islam in 1967, his aim was to shed light on the issues already being raised by the growth of terrorist attacks in the West and in India and Pakistan, by comparing them with the original model in terms of organization and ideology provided by the followers of 'The Old Man of the Mountain' and his successors who killed with daggers.
In the Middle Ages, for more than two centuries, the Assassins were really innovative with regard to political and religious interventions in that they began international terrorist attacks against the major economies of the day. The Assassins were history's first terrorists, says Bernard Lewis, because by attacking the political, military, administrative and religious establishment, they were carrying on the old ideal of tyrannicide, i.e. the religious obligation to rid the world of a wrongful leader, via the fantasy that they could overthrow the whole of society through terrorist action. These kamikaze fighters did not sacrifice their lives just as an act of piety; there was also a ritual dimension, almost a sacrament, in the hope that their action would both destroy an enemy seen as the embodiment of evil and allow the terrorist to appear as a saint entering Paradise. Their targets throughout the Near East and Europe included monarchs, viziers, governors, Muslim and Christian commanders and even theologians who were denounced by their leader for their compromises with the faith, corruption, the privileges and claims to sovereignty over territory that they intended to use exclusively in line with their own religious convictions.
One can hardly avoid noticing the similarities with the terrorist attacks inspired by Ousama ben Laden. The use of daggers (never poison) was chosen in the context of a particular level of technology, just as today the resort to Stanley knives (and aircraft) was suggested by the modern state of technology: in both cases, following Lewis' argument, the terrorists' sacrifice clearly relies on a 'sacred weapon', and the symbolic target of the Twin Towers in New York or the Pentagon corresponds to the same hatred of the 'establishment' of the current dominant power. The resemblances are so great, including the Tora Bora cave complex which recalls the Alamût, that one may wonder whether ben Laden was not directly inspired by Hasan-i Sabbâh when he launched his crusade against the United States because of its double impiety : its military presence in Saudi Arabia and its support for Israel.
In the end, Bernard Lewis derives some lessons from this history dating back to the distant Middle Ages which apply equally to our own times. According to this excerpt, the wave of messianic hope and revolutionary violence described by Bernard Lewis may 'continue to roll and provide new reasons for anger, new dreams of success and new weapons of war'.
Jean-Jacques Salomon reviews here several works on military strategy, in particular two reference books: Dictionnaire de stratégie by Thierry de Montbrial and Jean Klein, which he compares with an earlier work by André Corvisier, Dictionnaire d'art et d'histoire militaires.
After noting the growing fashion for authors to produce dictionaries and encyclopedias on all kinds of subjects ('dicomania'), J.-J. Salomon stresses that the Montbrial & Klein book does not suffer from a great deal of overlap with earlier reference works about strategy. In particular, it does not restrict itself to purely military strategy and shows, according to J.-J. Salomon, that 'the major battles today are not fought on actual battlefields' but involve economic factors and the media, thereby giving a key role to civilian decision-makers. In fact, the entries in Montbrial & Klein extend beyond the military field and provide a useful complement, from a different viewpoint, to those in Corvisier.
Thus, despite the current fashion for dictionaries, those interested in strategic matters should acknowledge, like J.-J. Salomon, that both these books offer a mine of valuable information needed to understand international developments and even ideas about how they might be conducted, whether military or civilian. He suggests that they complement the recent book by François-Bernard Huyghe, L'Ennemi à l'ère numérique, which surveys the new types of technologically based forms of international violence .
Au sein de la Rand Corporation, principale organisation de recherche privée américaine sur les problèmes géopolitiques, stratégiques et de défense comptant 1 500 personnes, dont 800 chercheurs, Laurent Murawiec se consacre essentiellement à l'application de l'anthropologie à la stratégie.Venu présenter au sein de l'association Futuribles International son dernier ouvrage, le premier tome de L'Esprit des nations, il a insisté toutefois sur le fait que c'est indépendamment de la Rand Corporation qu'il l'a ...
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French voters will be turning out on 21 April and 5 May for the two rounds of an election to choose a new President of the Republic. It is a key position in France since, even if the government, which is elected separately from the President, is responsible for deciding and implementing national policies, and even if the periods of "cohabitation" (with President and parliamentary majority from different parties) have brought some changes (our system is in effect a presidential one).
The campaign has not yet officially begun, nor have all the candidates officially announced they are standing, but there is no doubt that everyone is secretly preparing for the election. There is already, however, a sickening stink arising from various sordid scandals involving several of the contenders, and this does not bode well for the campaign (if it continues to be conducted in the same terms), there is a strong risk that there will not be a proper debate on the major issues affecting the French people in the medium and long term, let alone the policies that may be adopted.
The editorial committee of the journal Futuribles is deeply concerned that the questions that we feel to be critical for the future of the country might be sidestepped in this way. We have therefore decided this month to create a special section in which, without trying to be exhaustive, we examine the candidates' propositions with regard to the issues that we do not want to see dodged. The section therefore raises questions about security and defense policies, energy policy, the issue of sustainable development, policies on innovation, research and education, on employment and measures to cope with the challenges of an ageing population. It also addresses the problems of public services and tax reform, citizenship and types of management, without forgetting, naturally, to quiz the candidates on sleaze.
We are well aware that we can only scratch the surface of these topics. Other issues are just as important and should be on the agenda: what are their policies for health, housing, inequality, the fight against social exclusion and delinquency? What about policies for economic and social development, the environment, science and technology...? The list of major issues facing French society in the short, medium and long term is lengthy. And the state, even if it cannot cope with all of them and even if nobody expects it to produce miracle solutions, has a role to play in tackling them, including to undertake reform of itself and to allow the spirit of enterprise to flourish...
After reminding us of three scenarios outlined barely a month after the attacks of September 11th, as a "minor event", as an invitation to the US to play a greater role in world governance, and as the start of general upheaval and decline in the economic situation, Jacques Lesourne continues to reflect on the foreseeable consequences of these acts of terrorism.
Five months after the events, Lesourne takes several observations, the overthrow of the Taliban regime, the tenacity of the Pakistan government, the relatively minor impact on the world economy, the strengthening of America's leadership, as the basis for redefining the new geopolitical state of the world. This depends on about a dozen active countries, of very different kinds and rank. He examines their strengths and weaknesses, their economic interests and their strategic positions.
Having noted the underlying economic and political issues, Jacques Lesourne sketches two scenarios :
- in the first, the events of September 11th continue to have a minor impact, "shaped by Europe's lack of involvement, the rapprochement between the Americans and Russians, the highly pragmatic policy of the US towards Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians", with little overall effect on the world economy;
- in the second, the emphasis is on political crises (in Kashmir, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Afghanistan) and tensions, leading among other things to interruptions of oil supplies to Europe and Japan, and then to military interventions and ultimately to
clashes of civilizations.
Shortly after the events, many commentators argued that the attacks on the US marked the end of an era. The scenarios outlined here show that the reality may be somewhat different.
In this article Niall Ferguson reflects on how life may change between now and 2011, especially in the USA, and what lasting impacts the terrorist attacks of September 11th are likely to have on the course of history. Unlike many other commentators on recent events, he does not see this as a watershed in world affairs.
Admittedly nothing will ever be quite the same as before: New York threatens to become obsessed with security and the US economy will suffer the consequences. Nevertheless, this prospect (which he describes as 'sombre') is not the result of September 11th. Rather, he argues, it is the product of four strong trends that were already observable before that date:
1) The worldwide reach of terrorism: the techniques used are not new, but the novelty is that now the US is no longer spared from attack and will have to make this part of their domestic security arrangements.
2) The economic slowdown which had already begun more than a year earlier in the US and which could worsen on account of two major weaknesses: first, the fact that globalization is creating more and more have-nots; and secondly, the very real risk of a third energy crisis that could bring to an end the era of the combustion engine.
3) The shift, for the US, from informal imperialism (simply through political and economic influence) to formal imperialism (involving actual intervention on the ground and setting up 'protectorates' along neo-colonial lines).
4) The political disintegration of multi-cultural nation-states: if there is to be a clash of civilizations, it will not be between two major blocs (the West versus unified Islam) but between ethnic or religious communities within a single state, as happened in Bosnia or Rwanda .
These trends, Niall Ferguson argues, already existed before the wave of terrorist attacks in September 2001, and their consequences for national security and international relations could be foreseen beforehand. It is only a possibility for the future, Ferguson says, but one he believes will occur: we must be prepared to live with the daily threat of terrorism, with the presence of American soldiers in more and more 'problem' countries, and with a de facto segregation of ethnic and religious communities, not only within US cities.
The text we reprint here is an excerpt from a note written by Louis Armand for Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber and published as an appendix to the latter's book Le Défi américain, which appeared in 1967 (Paris: Denoël). It was also worked up into a book that is equally worth rereading: Le Pari européen, by Louis Armand and Michel Drancourt (Paris: Fayard, 1968).
It is a remarkable piece. Written more than 30 years ago, it highlights the urgent need, in the early days of the 'global village', to build a federal Europe involving not just economic and technological co-operation but also social unity, a Europe with a shared ethics, philosophy and political outlook.
Louis Armand is ahead of his time in foreseeing what is now called globalization, and he quite rightly stresses the role that Europe might have, how important it is not to waste time in trying to force national characteristics into uniformity but instead for countries to 'develop new things together'; above all, Europe must show great inventiveness in matters of organization.
'Europe', writes Armand, 'doesn't know what it wants. And as long as it doesn't, it will not be able to play a leading role in the world.' The risk, as he sees it, is that Europe will become 'politically archaic'. To avoid this, priority must be given to the political aspect and to the building of a federal Europe.
Quatre mois et quatre jours après les évènements du 11 septembre 2001, François Heisbourg est venu faire le point sur la montée de l'"hyperterrorisme", la riposte occidentale et, plus généralement, les perspectives géopolitiques, y compris le réagencement des alliances. Quels sont les enseignements à tirer des attentats ?
Un groupe d'experts STRATA-ETAN a été constitué en décembre 2001 avec pour mission de préparer un rapport sur des options visant à soutenir la coopération européenne en matière de prospective pour le développement des relations entre l'enseignement supérieur et la recherche dans la perspective de l'Espace Européen de Recherche. Partant d'une analyse approfondie des tendances actuelles qu'il a pu cerner pour les différents aspects du système d'enseignement supérieur et de recherche en Europe, le ...
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Alors que l'Europe est plus avancée que les États-Unis et le Japon dans les domaines du foresight (pouvant être traduit par « prospective technologique », et comprenant le Technology Assessment, TA et le Science and Technology Foresight, TF), les politiques de soutien à cette discipline sont moins intégrées que d'autres politiques. Il existe un manque de coopération, malgré quelques notables exceptions, au niveau communautaire et les activités de foresight restent faibles ou non existantes dans certains pays membres. Souvent les ...
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Ce rapport présente trois scénarios alternatifs pour l'avenir de l'Inde ces 10 prochaines années, et leur impact sur les relations indo-américaines. Il comprend des analyses politiques, économiques et militaires, et imagine les conséquences d'une éventuelle crise indo-pakistanaise qui aurait lieu en 2009. La croissance économique et le pouvoir politique indiens sont vus comme les principaux facteurs des relations bilatérales pour les 10 ans à venir. L'auteur plaide pour un fort partenariat sélectif entre les États-Unis et ...
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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.