Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Bonne année à nos lectrices et à nos lecteurs. Le moment est venu de tourner la page d’une année 2014 qui aura été marquée par une conjoncture particulièrement morose aux plans international, européen et français. Ceux qui pensaient, comme Francis Fukuyama, que la chute de l’Empire soviétique allait se traduire par « la fin de l’Histoire  », la victoire définitive de l’économie de marché et de la démocratie, en auront été pour leurs frais. Comme nous l ...
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Shortly after forming his government, the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls caused something of a stir among French local and regional authorities by announcing, last April, that the number of French regions would be halved in 2017 and by proposing to abolish départements by 2021. Though there is much to be said for this, given France’s territorial complexity, the experience of previous attempts at reform and the way a number of local politicians tend to cling to their powers mean that this new initiative –officially launched in June– is not certain to come to fruition.
However, as Jean-François Drevet shows here, comparing the kinds of territorial division prevailing in France with those in other European countries where municipalities, counties/provinces and regions are concerned, it would be a logical development enabling the country to resemble its European partners more closely in terms of territorial organization. Moreover, such a reform would give scope for some substantial savings –a point not to be ignored in such delicate times for the public finances, even if we should be careful not to overestimate these, as Jean-François Drevet reminds us in the conclusion to his column.
Les élections municipales qui se sont déroulées les 23 et 29 mars en France ont sévèrement sanctionné le gouvernement, récemment qualifié de social-démocrate, mis en place au lendemain de l’élection du président François Hollande. Le taux d’abstention a atteint un niveau record (63,70 %), ceci témoignant, une fois de plus du discrédit dont souffrent les partis politiques . Cent cinquante-cinq villes de plus de 9 000 habitants, dont une soixantaine de plus de 30 000, ont basculé de ...
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2014 is an important year for the European Union. For the ninth time since 1979 the citizens of its member states will, in May of this year, elect the members to represent them in the European Parliament. Given proportional representation and a socio-economic context prevailing in Europe over the last six years that is, to say the least, tense, there is every risk that the ranks of the parties of the extreme Right will swell. This is to be expected since, as Jean-François Drevet shows here, “neo-populist” movements have grown in strength just about everywhere on the continent in the last few years, whether the countries concerned have been in crisis or not, and they are tending to converge beyond their respective national boundaries, both through their critique of how the EU operates and their defence of “Western identity”. If we add to this the political weakness of governing parties with regard to questions of religion and identity, and the way nationalist extremists and fundamentalist Muslim groups have effectively boosted each other’s fortunes, there is good reason to wonder what the outcome of the coming elections will be, what impact this will have on social cohesion in the various countries of the Union and what the consequences may be for the functioning of European institutions.
Ce rapport est le premier de la Délégation à la prospective et à l’évaluation des politiques publiques du CESE. Il a pour objectif de présenter des pistes exploratoires quant à la manière d’aborder la démocratie à l’horizon 2030. Il se divise en trois parties : la première dresse le constat d’un désenchantement de la démocratie, la deuxième décrit trois « scénarios du pire » pour la démocratie à l’horizon 2030 et, enfin, la troisième partie offre des pistes ...
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Railways, which first came into being in Britain in 1825, contributed greatly to the industrial revolution that characterized Europe in the 19th century. Following its British rival, France began building its first stretches of railway in 1830 and extended these to some 1,800 miles by 1850 (a long way short of the 6,600 miles of the British network at that same date). Nevertheless, the creation of the French rail network would, between 1838 and 1845, spark great public controversy and debates within the government and among parliamentary representatives.
The “Futures of Yesteryear” feature presented here was part of these debates. The piece in question is a speech delivered on 11 May 1842 by the parliamentary deputy (and poet) Alphonse de Lamartine in response to an amendment by Adolphe Thiers, which was aimed at thwarting the government project of building a railway system that radiated out from Paris by constructing a single line to run from the Belgian border to the Mediterranean through the capital. Lamartine opposed this plan vigorously, pointing out in particular the advantage for all France’s regions, and also for trade and industry –not to mention the military– of a network that covered most of the national territory. His address also underlines the importance of the state acting as a strategic agency in the service of those under its jurisdiction. Lastly, at the end of his speech, in response to various diatribes against technical progress (arising, in particular, in the wake of rail accidents), Lamartine stresses the extent to which that progress remains crucial for the forward march of civilization, despite the sporadic cases of harm it may occasion.
Futuribles has on several occasions provided a sounding board for detailed analyses of certain discourses relating to science and technology and the uses that may, in some cases, be made of them. For example, in issue 380 of Dec. 2011, Antonin Pottier presented an analysis of the arguments of climate-change sceptics and the way these were articulated to enable their begetters to defend interests not directly related to the scientific reality of climate change. Similarly, Pierre-Benoit Joly showed how some large corporations went about making use of regulatory norms and discourses linked to sustainable development in order to legitimate a number of controversial lines of research (no. 383).
In the present article Alexandre Moatti looks at the way certain ultra-Leftist movements speak about science and technical progress. He shows, for example, how these small groupings, taking science as their new enemy (alongside, if not instead of, capitalism), are developing an ideology that is very hostile to science –now seen as a cause of the enslavement of consciousness– leading to a re-reading of History which is, to say the least, questionable. This highly negative view of science and progress is not new. There have always been, and no doubt always will be, movements casting doubt on scientific progress, enabling us –quite rightly– to discuss the basic strengths and limitations of that progress. However, the reception in the media –and among a generally well-disposed public– accorded to various kinds of actions carried out by this tendency prompts us to look more closely at the discourse it is promoting and, necessarily, to maintain a degree of vigilance.
Sans négliger la multitude des problèmes à résoudre cet automne, je reviens une fois de plus sur celui de la réforme des retraites. Deux raisons m’y conduisent : d’abord l’intention du gouvernement français de soumettre cet automne, au Parlement, un nouveau projet de réforme ; ensuite, et peut-être surtout, la manière suivant laquelle le problème est présenté, a fortiori les solutions envisagées, qui me semblent symptomatiques des erreurs fréquemment commises (ou de la dramatique myopie des responsables politiques). Au-delà ...
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À la demande du président de la République, s’est tenu le 19 août un séminaire gouvernemental sur « la France en 2025 » qui, selon les termes du Premier ministre, doit marquer le début d’un processus servant à « fixer un cap » pour orienter la politique du gouvernement. Faut-il d’emblée y voir une pure opération de communication à caractère dilatoire ou, au contraire, se féliciter que le gouvernement s’exerce à une telle démarche prospective ? Soyons constructif et essayons de ...
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Le 10 avril dernier, le Secrétariat général pour la modernisation de l’action publique (SGMAP) a réuni 80 spécialistes de l’innovation pour réfléchir au futur Laboratoire d’innovation publique de l’État. Le futur laboratoire, qui verra a priori le jour avant fin 2013, aura pour vocation d’évaluer les politiques publiques et à faire des propositions de réforme avec pour seul et unique but de simplifier la vie des usagers. À sa création, l’équipe de ce nouveau ...
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This article, which draws on the Values studies regularly conducted in Europe, aims to compare Europeans’ political values through their positioning on a Left-Right scale, and their development between 1990 and 2008, and also to analyse the underlying values that go furthest to explaining this positioning. Raul Magni Berton begins by presenting the Left/Right split in the various countries surveyed, as it emerges from the self-positioning of individuals (or their refusal to position themselves), highlighting, among other things, the relative stability of this split in the various countries, the importance it retains in Western Europe and a mild “leftward” trend in Europe.
The author then analyses 11 value conflicts that are likely to explain the political positioning of individuals: attitude to equality, moral progressivism/conservatism, state/market, attitude to law-and-order, nationalism/universalism, solidarity/individualism, attitude to work, degree of materialism, authoritarianism/criticism, attitude to religion, and sexism/sexual equality. Drawing on the observed correlations between these values and the political positioning of individuals, Raul Magni Berton shows, among other things, that religious values are less and less predictive of political standpoints in Western Europe, whereas those relating to egalitarianism, the state and law-and-order play an increasing role. On the other hand, very few significant correlations can be seen in Eastern Europe, which shows the major importance of the –both political and historical– context, and somewhat undermines the idea that the notions of Left and Right are universal in character. This is also confirmed by the country-by-country analysis of differences proposed at the end of the article.
The question of the origins of the wealth of nations has nagged at the mind of many an economist since the first modern contribution to the theme by Adam Smith in 1776. From Angus Maddison to Amartya Sen, by way of Joseph Stiglitz, Jared Diamond or Tony Atkinson, many have tried to offer some sort of answer or to propose arguments capable of explaining inequalities in socio-economic development between countries. In a work published in 2008 (An Introduction to Modern Economic Growth, Princeton: Princeton University Press), the economist Daron Acemoglu identified four fundamental causes of economic growth: natural environment, culture, institutions and luck. He has gone further into this question, with the assistance of James Robinson, in Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (New York: Crown Publishing Group), published in late 2012.
This work has given fresh stimulus to the debate on the origins of international economic inequalities (particularly on account of one of its conclusions –that Chinese economic growth can be expected to falter without major institutional reform in that country) and Charles du Granrut outlines it for us here. He focuses specifically on the factor the authors regard as essential for guaranteeing sustained economic development –“inclusive” political institutions– and cites various examples in support of their argument. Without neglecting the originality of their approach, he compares it to that taken in an earlier, similarly conceived work (Violence and Social Orders by D.C. North, J.J. Wallis and B.R. Weingast) and highlights some limitations of their analysis.
In this March-April 2013 issue, which Futuribles is devoting very largely to the social and political impact of religions, Philippe Portier looks at the development of relations between Churches and states in Western Europe. He begins by noting the importance of the religious heritage and outlines the two dominant models: the “confessional state” model, in which one religion is officially singled out (this applies mainly in the Protestant and Orthodox countries) and the model of Church/state separation, in either its flexible (in Central Europe) or rigid form (mainly in France).
However, Portier goes on to highlight an increasingly marked long-term trend for a “combining of trajectories”: in other words, a simultaneous movement of “deconfessionalization” in the countries of Catholic tradition (Italy, Spain) –and also in the Lutheran (Norway) and Orthodox (Greece) nations– and of a re-entry of religion into the public sphere (particularly in France). As Portier sees it, these developments might well represent the emergence of a common model of secularism which, without totally erasing national differences in the regulation of faiths, could be said to be shifting all these countries toward a relatively unified system of “co-operative separation”.
For some 30 years now, the question of according voting rights in local elections to non-EU aliens has regularly figured on the French agenda. Though it was one of President François Hollande’s 60 election pledges, the measure has actually been put on hold, since Hollande did not have a sufficient majority to pass the constitutional amendment involved and did not wish, for the moment, to opt for a referendum on the issue.
In this European column, Jean-François Drevet examines what would be involved in granting the vote to non-EU aliens, drawing, in particular, on neighbouring countries such as Belgium and analysing the moves that have already been made in France in the last ten years or so to grant voting rights to foreign EU nationals. He goes on to suggest a third way that might, in the end, ease the path to French acceptance of voting rights for non-EU aliens.
In this March-April 2013 issue, which Futuribles is devoting very largely to the social and political impact of religions, Jean-François Mayer looks at the concept of fundamentalism. The notion, though widely used in very varying contexts –not to say loosely used and misused– has nonetheless a very precise meaning in the world of religion, as this article demonstrates.
After recalling the emergence of fundamentalism in the USA within the Protestant community and that movement’s entry into politics, Jean-François Mayer goes on to analyse the extent to which the concept has spread to other religious groups and what it refers to in those cases. Among other things, he highlights the fundamentalists’ fear of seeing the values they advocate threatened, points up certain developments in modern society which they regard as deviant (abortion rights, tolerance of homosexuals, the detachment of certain political forces from religion etc.) and underscores the fundamentalists’ frequent evocation of an idealized past of their particular strand of religion etc. He particularly stresses the great diversity of groups that can be placed in this category, and of the contexts in which they operate and, as a result, of the political practices which they adopt.
Drawing on the comparative analyses on which his study is based, Jean-François Mayer proposes a new typology that is capable of dividing the different forms of fundamentalism into four separate categories: transformational, reforming, restorative and conservative protest movements. Lastly, he examines the effects of the fundamentalisms on the societies in which they are established: this includes the danger of the denigration of minority groups and a variable level of political impact, depending on contexts and on the religion concerned.
In this March-April 2013 issue, which Futuribles is devoting very largely to the social and political impact of religions, Franck Frégosi studies the place of Islam in European societies. After a short account of the history of the presence of the Muslim religion in Europe (from Arabic settlement in Spain in the Middle Ages to the Ottoman Empire and the migrations which followed the end of colonialism), Frégosi presents the various faces of Islam in Europe, which involves ethnic divides ensuing from the different regions of origin of European Muslims, a generation gap between the Islam practised by the younger generations and that of their elders, and ideological rifts.
He then explores the three avenues of Islam’s current expression in Europe and the prospects for these: a minority Islam which favours a certain orthodoxy; a relatively radical, standardized Islam laying claim to universal applicability; and a trend towards secularization. Frégosi also stresses the limited character of the economic integration of Muslims in Europe and the difficulties they encounter in the area of employment –in France, for example, given the recurrent concern that manifestations of religion should be excluded from the public sphere and calls for the same to apply in the arena of private business. In his view, these various elements suggest that European Islam is in a mature phase, a phase of adaptation to the prevailing tradition of secularism in Western Europe.
Le gouvernement vénézuélien l’assure : Hugo Chávez reviendra sous peu. Hospitalisé depuis le 10 décembre à Cuba suite à une rechute cancéreuse, le chef d’État bolivarien aurait franchi l’étape postopératoire et se préparerait à assumer un nouveau mandat de six ans pour lequel il devait être investi le 10 janvier, après une large réélection trois mois plus tôt. Invérifiable et noyée sous les rumeurs alarmistes de ses opposants, l’information ne résout toujours pas les conjectures entourant l ...
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En 2010, le premier ministre britannique David Cameron a lancé le concept de big society, dont l’objectif est officiellement de donner plus de pouvoir aux citoyens, aux administrations et aux associations locales face à un État jugé trop puissant . Il s’agit aussi (ou surtout) de compenser certaines coupes budgétaires en recourant plus souvent aux collectivités, aux fonds privés et au bénévolat. Les associations et, plus largement, tous les citoyens sont donc invités à participer à la vie ...
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For almost five years Europeans have been experiencing the consequences of a very severe and apparently interminable economic crisis. Although the member states of the European Union have not all been affected by this crisis with the same intensity, there has been a continuous round of summits and meetings at the highest level to attempt to find solutions to it, particularly where the eurozone is concerned. These have not borne fruit –and for good reason. As Jean-François Drevet shows here, the Union is having difficulty in breaking its deadlock: the institutions, as they have operated up to now, have revealed their limitations, and in many cases the states have not really put the European interest before their national interests.
Yet, as we have seen many times in these pages, no country seems able to lift itself out of this situation alone, and recovery –if there is to be recovery– will be possible only through the assertion, if not indeed the strengthening, of European solidarity. Economics and politics are connected here. The new European treaty on stability, coordination and governance within the economic and monetary Union is a step in the right direction. But it will be necessary to bolster this further, particularly in the eurozone countries, with a strengthening of common rules and hence a modicum of abandonment of sovereignty and a greater degree of representativeness for European institutions.
On 6 November 2012, Americans will go to the polls to elect their next president, who will take over as leader of the United States in January 2013. As usual, the contest will essentially be between the candidates of the two major parties, the incumbent Democratic president Barack Obama and the Republican Mitt Romney. However, recent years have also seen the emergence of a movement (named “party” although it is not a party), which has radicalized the Republican party to the extreme. It is a particularly populist force and Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate, is very close to it. We are speaking of the “Tea Party”. Within that faction, religious fundamentalists rub shoulders with unemployed youth, and pensioners ruined by the economic crisis mingle with those who still hanker after an all-powerful America. All are advocates of a radical change of government, abolishing most of the public sector and replacing it with private enterprise.
Nicole Morgan has made a close study of this movement and its underlying ideology in her book Haine froide [Cold Hatred] which is hot off the press from éditions du Seuil of Paris. In that work, she provides the key to this “ideological machine” that has been built up over a half century, with its intellectuals, best-selling authors and Nobel prize-winners, its heretical alliances and powerful figures, who ultimately inhabit a different world from the other 99% of humanity. Although this ideology developed and established itself in the United States, its universal ambitions actually make it an essential subject of study so far as the future of all modern nation-states is concerned. As this extract from Nicole Morgan’s book shows, the ideology rests on simple postulates which it transforms, against a background of economic ultra-liberalism, into irrefutable truths. Like all hard ideologies, it is a vehicle for strong emotions welling up from deep within the collective unconscious, fear and hatred foremost among them. According to Morgan, hatred (a “cold” hatred, for the moment) underlies this ideology, figures lend it a benign veneer, and it is characterized by ignorance. Hence an attitude of vigilance is appropriate.
L’Union européenne traverse une grave crise, aussi bien économique qu’identitaire. Comment se perçoivent les habitants de l’Union et comment se projettent-ils dans l’avenir ? Si le bonheur est actuellement de mise, c’est le pessimisme qui prévaut largement pour l’avenir. Qu’il s’agisse des conditions de vie ou du rang diplomatique de l’Union, les inquiétudes sont élevées. Une enquête Eurobaromètre, réalisée fin décembre 2011 dans les 27 États membres , livre de précieuses informations ...
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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.