Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)


Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Islam, a Necessary Player in a Secularized Europe

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.

Note de veille

Géopolitique - Institutions

L’Amérique latine suspendue au sort d’Hugo Chávez

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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Note de veille


Les acteurs locaux peuvent-ils remplacer l’État ?

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 [1]. 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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Tribune européenne

Géopolitique - Institutions

Can the European Union Break its Deadlock?

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.

Bonnes feuilles

Géopolitique - Institutions

United States: The Influence of the Fundamentalists

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.

Analyse prospective


L’avenir de l’Union européenne, vu par les Européens

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 [1], livre de précieuses informations ...

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Prospective et politique

Lorsque ce numéro de juin de la revue Futuribles paraîtra, seront sortis des urnes les résultats de nombreuses consultations électorales européennes, parmi lesquels celui de l’élection présidentielle française. Le nouveau président de la République, François Hollande, élu le 6 mai aux plus hautes fonctions relevant de la sphère publique, aura pour responsabilité d’agir en « stratège, garant de l’intérêt général », à charge pour lui de définir ce concept éminemment polysémique.

Tribune européenne

Géopolitique - Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Europe and Radical Islamism

Religious fundamentalism is not a new concept – far from it – and most of the world’s great religions are affected by it to a greater or lesser extent. However, among those fundamentalisms, Islamism has a special place, given the means it uses to implant itself in Muslim communities, particularly in Europe.

As Jean-François Drevet stresses here, the implantation of Islamism as a political tendency is perceptible in all European countries and is very often characterized by a large-scale propaganda effort (largely financed by the Gulf monarchies) among Muslims living on European soil, through a quasi-systematic exploitation for political ends of the right to religious freedom and a highly inadequate capacity on the part of Muslims to protect themselves from extremist preaching. It does, however, seem possible to erect a barrier against it through anti-racist and human-rights legislation which exists in many European states, if not indeed across the entire continent. If we wish to avoid the entire Muslim community – only a tiny minority of which is genuinely tempted by radical Islamism – being ostracized in Europe, and given that there is no real prospect of Islam undergoing modernization in the medium term, it is becoming urgently necessary, argues Jean-François Drevet, to have recourse to this body of law to block the development of radical Islam.

Tribune européenne

Géopolitique - Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Europe a Victim of Outdated Electoral Rhetoric

By the time this issue of Futuribles comes out, the French presidential election campaign will be in its final stages – the second round of the ballot takes place on 6 May – and a second campaign for the June legislative elections will be about to follow. It is highly unlikely that the tone of this second campaign will differ substantially from the first and provide French electors with an objective view of the opportunities and constraints that ensue from France’s membership of the European Union since, as Jean-François Drevet laments here, all parties, both of right and left, in government or on the political fringes, speak in thoroughly outdated terms in many areas relating to Community policies.

This is no doubt the result of pressure from public opinion, but that in itself is evidence that a certain kind of populism prevails, in which often ill-informed electors are told only what they want to hear. Now, as this column reminds us, France’s scope for manœuvre in the fields most concerned (globalization, debt crisis, migratory flows) is very restricted and it would be lying to the citizenry to have them believe that solutions will come from unilateral action by France or through disengagement from international institutions. Quite the contrary, solutions are to be found in intensified co-operation, particularly at the European level.


Institutions - Société, modes de vie

The French Presidential Election of 2017: Freestyle Foresight Exercises

This novel document, published in an election period that is by its very nature highly centred on the moment, contains a series of seven contributions taken from a collective exercise carried out within the Futuribles editorial board.

In order to remove themselves from immediately topical questions, with the 2012 presidential election in the forefront of current concerns, the members of that editorial board were invited to look five years into the future, to the time around the presidential election of 2017. The aim was to compile a set of observations and projections, and also of expectations for 2012, by drawing on some of the prominent writers on that pluralistic board and the positions and opinions existing within it.

The results are visible here in the diversity of angles and styles. The tone and theme were left to the individual writers: seven visions of the future resulted – each to varying degrees amused, disenchanted or troubled. The time-horizon was sufficiently distant to free the mind, yet sufficiently close to permit reflection on the forms of inertia or change (desirable or to be feared) that may characterize the next five years.

Such an exercise is not easy. It can quickly go out of date (as can be seen from certain underlying decisions in drafts that depend on the precise moment of their composition) and may also veer off into fantasy. And yet foresight has always to blend rigour and imagination. These little exercises offer an interpretation, from a particular angle, of the issues of the day.


Économie, emploi - Institutions - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Insurance of the Nuclear Risk in France

This March, Japan commemorated the first anniversary of the Fukushima tragedy, when an unhappy combination of natural disasters led to a nuclear accident. The material and human damage was enormous and it will be decades before memories fade and the Japanese can try to forget this tragedy, which attests to the great vulnerability of – even the most advanced – economies to natural and technological risks. In the wake of the accident, there has been much debate on the pertinence of the use of nuclear fission in energy production, particularly in France. Without going over these debates once again, it is nonetheless legitimate to ask not just how well equipped we are to prevent nuclear risks, but also how the consequences of a potential nuclear disaster would be dealt with in this country.

It is this question that Guy Brassard latches on to. After reminding us of the limits of the responsibility of EDF (Électricité de France) and the state in France regarding the indemnification of the damage that would ensue from such a disaster, Brassard stresses the inadequacy of the guarantees in force and calls for the creation of a reserve fund for exceptional events. He stresses the need to mitigate the nuclear risk through a clear assessment of power stations on the basis of uniform security parameters, a publicly available economic analysis of the electricity mix, and the establishment of measures of efficiency and prudence in the use of France’s nuclear resources.
He ends by proposing a model, based on a large number of international studies, for calculating the costs of a scheme for insuring against exceptional risks. From these it emerges that a very moderate increase in the price of electricity would make it possible to set aside 100 billion euros over 18 years to meet a risk that would arise only once every century. A relatively negligible investment for the future by comparison with the cost to the public finances of such a disaster occurring.


Institutions - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Feu l’écologie !

Même si de précédents travaux, antérieurs au XXe siècle, avaient opportunément ouvert la voie, l’année 1968 restera dans nos mémoires comme un tournant important, en Occident, dans l’évolution des mœurs et dans la remise en cause du culte de la croissance et de la société de consommation. Elle joua en effet un rôle important dans la prise de conscience que le produit national brut n’était pas le bonheur national net et, surtout, que nous ne formions qu ...

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Institutions - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement - Société, modes de vie - Territoires, réseaux

What Future for Frugality? The Example of Cities

Economic crisis, global warming, eco-systems under threat, depleted public finances – the current situation, in Europe in particular, is scarcely favourable to needless expenditure and unrestrained consumption. It is, in fact, gradually becoming accepted that the time has perhaps come substantially to revise our modes of life, so as to consume more intelligently in a world whose limited resources have to be divided between a growing number of individuals. This, writes Jean Haëntjens, may involve recourse to the concept of frugality (producing more satisfaction with fewer resources), a concept that is not new, as is attested by the writings of Epicurus, but which, applied on the urban scale, offers genuine possibilities for establishing new developmental models.

Haëntjens presents the main characteristics of this concept of frugality here. He outlines the main strategies implemented by the pioneering cities in this area. He described what he terms the “palette of frugal options”, namely, the lines of possible action to achieve this end through urban policies. Lastly, he stresses how “frugal cities” might inspire national policies in terms of encouraging new lifestyles – and new styles of urbanism.



Les bonimenteurs

Les élections présidentielles françaises approchent ; les principaux candidats gesticulent comme des camelots et semblent prêts, pour gagner quelques voix supplémentaires, à promettre tout et son contraire. Leur marketing est affligeant, le vide politique consternant. Comme si l’art du spectacle devenait l’ultime refuge pour se distraire des questions essentielles, celle de la dette et des finances publiques, celles de la compétitivité de l’économie française, de l’emploi et de la cohésion sociale, de l’avenir de la France ...

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Tribune européenne

Économie, emploi - Géopolitique - Institutions - Société, modes de vie

The Franco-German Couple and Budgetary Discipline

Since the creation of the European Community in 1957, the construction of Europe has largely been down to Franco-German cooperation and the capacity of those two countries to overcome their differences to advance the economic and political integration of the continent. However, Jean-François Drevet tells us, this “exemplary cooperation” seems to be running up against its limits in the current context of crisis and excessive indebtedness of the states of Europe. For it is clear that Germany, which made sacrifices to overcome the cost of reunification in the 1990s, intends that today’s debt-distressed European states will do the same, so as not to drag down the entire European edifice with them in their (potential) fall. France, not greatly attracted by the budgetary conception its Rhenish neighbour has of the Union, would prefer the option of a European “economic governance”, allowing considerable scope for the inter-governmental element. However, its economic and budgetary situation, which is far worse than that of Germany, hardly puts it in a position of strength. It is hence a sound bet, concludes Drevet, that the Union will only be able to get out of the economic and political impasse in which it finds itself through an evolution towards federalism inspired by the Rhenish model.


Entreprises, travail - Institutions - Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement - Société, modes de vie

“Responsible” Innovation and Sustainable Development: Producing the Legitimacy of GMOs and their World

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are at the heart of important controversies in the scientific world. But the stakes go far beyond that, as is demonstrated here by Pierre-Benoit Joly. Questions of a more political nature arise, such as what vision of the world one wishes to see prevail in the future, both in the agricultural realm and in the much wider matter of the sustainable development of the planet.

Recalling, first, how regimes of innovation in the plant world have evolved over time, Joly stresses that we have moved from traditional skills and practices to an initial regime of innovation based on state agronomists and seed companies, which has itself evolved towards a “molecular, private, globalized” regime of innovation heavily encouraged by the granting, in the 1980s, of permission to patent living organisms. This has led to agricultural markets becoming tied up to a large extent by a number of major companies and to research being focussed on a small number of species and on GMOs. However, this commitment to GMOs has given rise to much criticism, involving the leaders of the “biotech oligopoly” in a crisis of legitimacy. Hence the efforts made by these parties over several years to legitimate their enthusiasm for GMOs both economically and politically.

It is to this “techno-political” work of legitimation that Pierre-Benoit Joly turns in the second part of his article. Thanks to the privatization of innovation and the globalization of activities, the big biotech multinationals are gradually winning acceptance for their view of the world, by way, among other things, of co-production of the regulation of the risks inherent in innovations (the emergence of a “soft law” lowering the level of mandatory constraint by states) and by intensive lobbying within public institutions and the establishment of “epistemic communities” (networks aimed at bending international law in their direction). Joly shows, lastly, how these players – and particularly Monsanto, which he studies more specifically here – are privatizing the notion of sustainable development in agriculture (by way of ethical charters, for example), so as to make their activities essential to its attainment. This is an “enlistment” operation that is very well described here, though it can still be countered when its workings are properly understood.


Entreprises, travail - Géopolitique - Institutions - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Biotechnological Plants: Realities, Hopes and Obstacles

In this special issue of Futuribles devoted to genetically modified organisms, Marcel Kuntz and Agnès Ricroch offer a review of the situation regarding biotechnological plants and their socio-economic prospects. After reminding us of the agricultural (and food) challenges our planet will face by the middle of the century, they outline the possible contributions of transgenics to overcoming them (resistance to various kinds of stress, improvement of yields, nutritional contributions), particularly in the developing countries. They go on to stress the advantages of transgenics in the fields of industry (agrofuels) and pharmaceuticals (biosynthesis of proteins and enzymes for therapeutic purposes).

Kuntz and Ricroch then come to a more political strand of argument: the political and regulatory constraints on the development of GMOs in Europe (and, in particular, France). They criticize, for example, the destructions carried out by certain anti-GM movements, and over-cautiousness in the political decisions and regulation that eventually led to the enduring sidelining of French and European players in the plant biotechnology sector. This situation is, in their view, highly damaging and synonymous with scientific and technical defeat. And the means for overcoming it, such as gaining the confidence of public opinion in the field through better information and publicity campaigns directed more at the benefits inherent in the technologies than the risks, have hardly been successful.

Analyse prospective

Institutions - Société, modes de vie

La fraude sociale : évaluations, définitions, paradoxes

La lutte contre la fraude sociale est devenue un objectif de première importance pour les responsables politiques comme pour les responsables des organismes gestionnaires de la protection sociale. Le sujet n’est pas simple. Il n’est pas aisé de définir, juridiquement, ce qu’est la fraude. Partant, il n’est pas facile d’en estimer l’ampleur. Surtout, de multiples controverses portent sur l’importance relative des fraudes sociales (qui seraient des fraudes « de pauvres ») et des fraudes fiscales ...

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Économie, emploi - Institutions

Le défi de l’emploi

Deux défis majeurs, au moins, devraient être à l’ordre du jour de la campagne précédant la prochaine élection présidentielle française, pour autant toutefois que les candidats veuillent bien les aborder et éclairer les électeurs sur leurs propositions plus ou moins différentes pour les relever.


Entreprises, travail - Institutions - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Impressions of China: Sustainable Development Chinese Style

In this second contribution to our new Paroles d’acteurs (Actors’ Words) feature, Bertrand Collomb takes up his pen again to show us, in the light of a recent trip to China, how that country is aiming to deal with the enormous environmental challenges confronting it. Driven by an unprecedented economic boom, China has enormous energy and raw material needs and these are growing as its population is developing and increasingly catching up with Western styles of life. Though it wishes to steer clear of binding international engagements, the Chinese government has nonetheless taken stock of the seriousness of the environmental situation and, in the wake of the 2006-10 Five Year Plan, which was already sensitive to these questions, has given relatively broad consideration in its Twelfth Plan (2011-15) to the means of promoting more sustainable development within the country (reduction of CO2, emissions, energy saving, sustainable cities etc.). Bertrand Collomb here outlines the main orientations of that Twelfth Plan.

Futurs d'antan

Économie, emploi - Géopolitique - Institutions

Crisis in the Eurozone: The Contemporary Relevance of the Werner Plan of 1970 (Future of Yesteryear)

For some months now, the European Union has been facing an economic and financial crisis in which the challenge to the member states has been to find the means to bolster the economic governance of the eurozone. If they fail to do so, the monetary union that has been in existence for some 10 years might hit the buffers. There have been ever more European summits and Franco-German meetings aimed at finding a way out of the Greek crisis and, more generally, a solution to the general destabilization of the European financial system, but ultimately, as Frédéric Allemand shows here, they are hardly proposing anything more than was advocated in the Werner Report of 1970. That report had, in fact, drawn up a particularly far-sighted “plan for achieving economic and monetary union by stages.” However, for want of genuine political support at the time, it was not carried through.

Economic and monetary union was, indeed, established by the Maastricht Treaty in the 1990s, but the union provided was of a minimal kind and did not follow the recommendations proposed by the Werner Report, of which Frédéric Allemand reminds us here. As a result, monetary integration was implemented without economic integration, and particularly without the establishment of a “decision-making centre for economic policy” that would be responsible to the European Parliament and enforce strict control of national budgetary policies. Now that the facts have cruelly shown up the failings that ensued from the omission of such a central structure, perhaps Europe’s leaders will at last get back to fundamentals and, wittingly or otherwise, see through the various stages of the Werner Plan…

Tribune européenne

Géopolitique - Institutions - Société, modes de vie

Will the “Arab Spring” Go off the Rails?

It was just over a year ago that the popular revolts in Tunisia and Egypt began which were to lead to the fall of the two major authoritarian regimes in North Africa and cause other peoples (the Libyans and the Syrians) to rise up in turn against the dictatorships in place there. Much was expected of that “Arab Spring”, supported as it was by various European countries (including France) – not least the establishment of genuine democracies in the countries concerned. However, democracy cannot be established by decree and democratic elections may bring to power leaders who are not greatly inclined to respect it. Is this what we are in danger of seeing in the countries of the southern Mediterranean, where the first democratic votes seem to be paving the way for Islamic regimes that might radicalize to a degree that is as yet unclear?

Jean-François Drevet raises that question here, briefly examining the situation of those Arab countries with links to the European Union and the prospects for the Islamists of developing their influence in those countries. Lastly, he shows how the new political situation in that region could change the Union’s diplomatic relations with those countries and particularly how the Union could attempt to forestall excessively radical developments.

Chapitre Institutions

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.