Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Tendance 1. Des institutions internationales moins représentatives Tendance 2. Montée en puissance des organisations ad hoc Tendance 3. Régionalisation du monde Tendance 4. Reconfiguration du système de sécurité collective Tendance 5. Reconfiguration du paysage de l’aide au développement
Regularly, and particularly on the occasion of the publication of the PISA reports comparing the skills level of 15-year-olds in the OECD countries, France is subject to criticism, with the level of French school students barely reaching the international mean (and tending, generally, to fall), despite a level of education expenditure that is rather higher than the OECD average. This is because, in France, educational tradition regards learning as an end in itself, and as more important than learning to deal with the concrete needs of everyday life, with which the student will have to cope as an adult.
This situation is not new, as is attested by the article we reprint here from the pen of Marc Bloch. Writing in 1943, he deplores all the failings which the school students that we once were – and those currently studying in French schools – have already experienced: a culture of cramming, an “obsession with exams”, a neglect of critical thinking, a culture of elitism, an inward-looking attitude and a lack of enthusiasm for concrete applications… These are characteristics of the French education system which, as Marc Bloch stresses, count against the country, “seriously” impairing its “international influence”, providing poor preparation for the crucial issues of scientific research and affording poor adaptability to change.
Hence the urgent need for thoroughgoing reform, to offer a “secondary education... that is both open and [aimed at] training elites, irrespective of origin or wealth”, to accord a major role to the observation-based disciplines, to enable young people to acquire a “truthful, comprehensive image of the world”, and to replace the elitist grandes écoles and “rigid faculties” that have ossified around a single specialism with multi-disciplinary groupings. An urgent need that clearly did not convince the decision-makers in charge of French education, since, nearly 70 years later and despite a host of reports making much the same arguments, complaints about the French education system – such as those expressed by Daniel Gouadain in this same issue – have barely changed.
While France devotes more than 6% of its GDP to education expenditure (in 2009), international comparisons suggest that the French education system is not necessarily performing commensurately with that level of investment. This is because the educational model first established in France in the late nineteenth century and which has continued in being since then, is perhaps no longer suited to the demands of the twenty-first century.
As Daniel Gouadain shows here, Republican elitism, based on the principle of equality of opportunity for all, does not achieve equality or homogeneity of results at the end of schooling. On the contrary, as currently conceived, the French system is unable to give all French schoolchildren the means to acquire the “common core of knowledge and skills” of which decision-makers so often speak. And though it is difficult to imagine radical reform in the short term, given the many players involved and the past heritage that weighs on the French education system, gradual measures aimed at reorganizing schools to meet today’s social and educational challenges – not to speak of those of tomorrow – are undoubtedly possible.
Gouadain outlines a few such measures here, stressing particularly the importance of secondary education and teacher recruitment, highlighting particularly the need for genuine mixed ability teaching in French classrooms to escape the vicious circle in which a small elite receives a very good education, while the level of the great majority stagnates or declines. To achieve this, it is going to be necessary to take the risk of introducing freedom into the French education system, while being careful not to sacrifice the other educational ideals on the altar of market forces.
The economic and financial crisis that has been raging for some years now has confirmed, if confirmation were needed, that the centre of gravity of the world economy has well and truly shifted to Asia, where Westerners are torn in their admiration between the two demographic giants, India and China. Both countries actually have near-10% economic growth rates, which seem mind-boggling to the “old” democracies.
Nevertheless, economic growth is not everything, as Amartya Sen reminds us here. It is essential, also, to look at what the authorities do with this economic growth. Now, to judge by more qualitative criteria, such as living conditions (health, education, social care etc.), the two Asian giants are not in the same ballpark. And, contrary to what one might think, it is not India, the more democratic of the two countries and the one with greater respect for human rights, that shows the best results in terms of living conditions for the majority of the population. Quite the contrary, it is China and its authoritarian regime that invests most in improving the living conditions of its population. In this evidence-based analysis, the 1998 Nobel Prize winner for economics reminds his country of origin, India (which, as he shows, is also outstripped by Bangladesh in terms of quality of life), how it is essential not to focus on the rate of GDP growth “in itself”, but to bring a number of social issues on to the political agenda, if economic development is genuinely to bring about an improvement in the well-being of the whole population.
In the current context of the “Arab springs” and the victory of the Islamist Ennahda Party at the elections held in late October 2011 in Tunisia, the situation in Turkey is attracting more and more interest. As we saw last month in these pages, this country situated at the boundary between East and West, which is secular and democratic and yet led by an Islamic government that has enjoyed broad popular support for almost ten years, is currently reclaiming its diplomatic independence and acquiring unprecedented regional and international scope. Does this mean Turkey is turning its back on Europe and looking toward the East? That seems highly unlikely, but it is clear, as Jean-François Drevet shows here, that the new foreign policy of Ankara has – and will have – important consequences for the relations between Turkey and the EU, and perhaps on its prospects of membership of the Union.
Apart from the longstanding difficulties posed by the Cyprus problem, the Turkish determination to give a religious dimension (in this case, an Islamic one) to its foreign policy could raise a new obstacle on the path to membership, as could the difficulties Ankara is experiencing in its attempt to eliminate all the problems from its relations with its neighbours (particularly, Israel, Greece or Armenia). And though Turkey may seem to Europeans like an important regional partner, we should not – provided that the country remains interested in joining the Union – fall into a policy of culpable indulgence towards it, akin to that long practised by the USA.
Nous sommes en 2021 et dix ans se sont écoulés depuis la grande crise de 2011 qui a marqué la fin de l’Union Européenne (UE). C’est ce que tente d’imaginer Niall Ferguson dans un exercice de prospective originale dans les colonnes du Wall Street Journal. En 2011, l’euro est devenu une machine à tuer les gouvernements : après avoir emporté les gouvernements grecs et italiens, la crise de l’euro entraîne la chute des gouvernements français et ...
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The Maastricht Treaty that founded the European Union was signed in February 1992 and came into force in November 1993. It will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary. However, as Jean-François Drevet shows here, after a period of some ten years in which real progress towards European integration was made, the soufflé has since collapsed somewhat.
At a point when the Union faces one of the most serious crises it has known, this column takes stock of the three major pillars set in place by the Maastricht Treaty: monetary union, “internal” policy, and foreign and common security policy. In these three areas, the conclusion is the same: the Union is stagnating because it will not move to a higher stage, the stage of genuine European governance in the fields of economics, migration policy and diplomacy. Yet on paper Europe has equipped itself with the means to achieve its ambitions; it remains, then, for the leaders of the national governments to size up the issues confronting them today (at times violently) and opt for the only solution that seems logical – federal governance. Perhaps they will have to hit rock bottom before they realize that there is no other way to rise again. But then the European Union will acquire a wholly new stature.
In this issue’s special feature on “Schooling in the Digital Era”, Alain-Marie Bassy draws on a historical analysis of the French case to show how digital media have gradually invaded every facet of the education system. First, he reminds us that this enormous change has been accompanied by a highly significant semantic evolution in the way these changing realities are referred to, with the emergence of a slightly anachronistic terminology aimed at reassuring teachers (particularly the older ones, who are often uneasy at the ever-renewing technologies, guarded as to how they are to be appropriately used in teaching, and wary of the dexterity with which their pupils handle them). Bassy underscores the main upheavals that are taking place in terms of the operation of schools and of governance in the implementation of education policy… Lastly, he makes a plea for giving more responsibility to each school or college and lays down some conditions required by a successful strategy for the use of digital technology within the school.
« Ouvrons les yeux, s’écriait Jacques Delors le 18 août dernier, l’euro et l’Europe sont au bord du gouffre. Et pour ne pas tomber, le choix me paraît simple : soit les États membres acceptent la coopération économique renforcée que j’ai toujours réclamée, soit ils transfèrent des pouvoirs supplémentaires à l’Union. » Un mois plus tard, à l’issue de la réunion des ministres des Finances de la zone euro qui s’est tenue en Pologne, l’ancien ...
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With the economic and financial crisis on the one hand, and the regional instability caused by the Arab spring on the southern rim of the Mediterranean on the other, Europe finds itself faced with a particularly tricky geopolitical and economic context. Unfortunately, as Jean-François Drevet shows here, the more serious the situation has become, the less the member states of the European Union have provided themselves with the means to confront it jointly and hence, the lower their chances of success would seem to be.
This is attested, in particular, by the Union’s inability to establish a single command structure to manage the operations planned as part of the common defence and security policy, despite the fact that there is a consensus on this in public opinion in the various member states. Whereas the Union has, in theory, an adequate legal basis in this area and the political and technical means to implement it (through the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), in practice the member states continue to reason on a case-by-case basis in terms of their own interests. Europe is, in fact, very ill-equipped. It cannot depend indefinitely on the Atlantic Alliance to provide its defence and its options are seriously hobbled by the United Kingdom (of which the High Representative, who is supposed to embody the common external policy, is a national).
Above and beyond the concrete security problems potentially present in such a situation, this impasse is emblematic of the current operation of the Union, “dominated by the vagaries of a variable-geometry intergovernmental cooperation” that is still not properly facing up to present and future challenges.
Qu’adviendra-t-il de la région méditerranéenne et des relations de l’Europe avec les pays du Sud et de l’Est méditerranéens (PSEM) après ce que l’on désigne comme « le printemps arabe », terme générique recouvrant des évolutions sociopolitiques sans doute différentes d’un pays à l’autre ? Nul assurément n’est à même de prévoir ce qui résultera du renversement en Tunisie du régime de Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, en Égypte de celui de Hosni Moubarak, a fortiori de ...
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Alors que les pays européens tergiversent sur les bénéfices à attendre des véhicules électriques, en Chine, ce marché se développe rapidement. Mais, là-bas, le véhicule électrique est synonyme de deux-roues et pas d’automobile. Ce type de véhicule est en effet moins coûteux et moins compliqué à fabriquer, et répond aux contraintes croissantes posées par les autorités locales.
L’association Futuribles International, en association avec l’INRETS (Institut national de recherche sur les transports et leur sécurité), devenu récemment l’IFSTTAR (Institut français des sciences et technologies des transports, de l’aménagement et des réseaux), a mené une réflexion prospective sur la mobilité dans les villes moyennes françaises à l’horizon 2030 avec le soutien et le concours de 12 organisations partenaires. L’objectif de cette étude est d’éclairer les futurs possibles de l’offre de mobilité ...
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Ce catalogue d’innovations a été élaboré dans le cadre d’une étude en souscription lancée par Futuribles International et le LVMT sur la « prospective de la mobilité dans les villes moyennes françaises ». Ce document est composé de deux parties. La première dresse un état des lieux bibliographique des systèmes de transport intermédiaires entre la voiture personnelle et les transports en communs massifiés (bus, tramway). Ceci dans un double objectif : préciser les termes et éclairer les différences entre le transport ...
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Aux États-Unis, la lutte contre la malbouffe et l’obésité est devenue l’une des priorités du gouvernement. Symboles des inégalités d’accès à une alimentation saine, les food deserts, ou déserts alimentaires, sont l’objet de nombreuses études et d’autant de controverses.
In late 2010, the French parliament passed a new law reforming territorial organization, following an (umpteenth) government-sponsored debate. The implementation of this reform is to be staggered up to late 2014. Given the time that will elapse before it is fully implemented, it is not yet possible to assess its effects concretely, but it is improbable, judging from this article, that it will produce a genuine simplification of the territorial organization of France, even though such a simplification is regularly advocated and clearly very necessary. Hence the importance of continued foresight thinking on the subject.
This is what Martin Vanier and Pierre-Jean Lorens propose here, on the basis of what they call “the inter-territorial hypothesis”, which consists in thinking not in terms of institutional and decisional levels or fields of jurisdiction, but in terms of active links that can be established between all the existing levels of territorial authority and jurisdiction. The point is to attempt to determine the system which might, over a period of one or two decades, link together all French levels of authority. To do so, the authors present the results of thinking and studies to which they have contributed in recent years, and the four scenarios that have come out of their exploratory territorial foresight study, entitled: “the Metropolises, New Territorial Powers”, “the Regions, Major Implementers of Inter-territoriality”, “Low Intensity Inter-territoriality” and “Networks, Masters of Territories”. So many lines of thinking that will, without doubt, fuel future debates on a recurrent and crucial subject, both nationally and from a European perspective.
In 2002 a monumental work by Philip Bobbitt, covering international relations over a very extensive period, was published simultaneously in the USA and the UK. The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History (New York/London: Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Books, 2002) has not been translated into French. However, in the opinion of Jacques Lesourne, who has reviewed the book for Futuribles, it provides a very rewarding analysis of the relations between military strategy, the development of state-forms and the principles governing international relations. Beyond the retrospective deciphering of the long history of the world offered by Bobbitt (including, inter alia, the “epochal wars” that have studded the path of the elaboration of international law), the work offers a forward-looking perspective on the contemporary world’s broad developmental trends, developing three possible scenarios. Jacques Lesourne outlines these at the end of his analysis, showing ultimately that, in spite of a certain Americano-centrism, Bobbitt’s work is an important contribution to the analysis of the joint influences of state, military strategy and international relations, which is crucial for the assessment of future trends on the global stage.
In this back-to-school period, it is always of interest to enquire into the performance of education systems (which can be measured by international comparisons of the systems themselves or of the competences of the pupils) and how to improve them. Charles du Granrut, drawing on two recent reports (by the OECD and McKinsey) on the performance of education systems and successful educational reforms, raises some points for consideration in this field.
After discussing pupils in difficulty, whose results are a key element for explaining the performance of education systems, he stresses that all systems can improve, whatever the initial level of pupils, the geographical or cultural context or the resources allocated. For them to do so, it is, however, essential among other things to have rigorous assessments of the performance of all the actors (pupils, teachers and schools); to establish precise, ambitious curricula; to promote the autonomy of teachers and schools; and to make them responsible, in turn, for their actions...
Depuis les années 1980 et la massification de l’enseignement supérieur, les frais de scolarité des établissements d’enseignement supérieur ont tendance à augmenter dans la plupart des pays du monde, en dépit de situations très variées. La crise de 2008, qui limite les ressources publiques, et la mobilité internationale accrue, qui met en concurrence les établissements, devraient intensifier ce phénomène. Cette hausse des frais suscite de véhémentes protestations de la part des étudiants et des controverses sur les modèles ...
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La médecine néonatale a fait des progrès considérables dans la prise en charge des prématurés, permettant de reculer toujours plus le seuil du terme de la prise en charge. Ainsi dans les années 1970, un prématuré pesant entre 500 et 750 grammes à la naissance n’avait aucune chance de survie, alors qu’il en avait 27 % à 63 % en 1995 . Cependant, cette possibilité accrue de survie s’accompagne bien souvent de conséquences lourdes pour l’enfant, ce qui soulève ...
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En avril 2011, l’agence de notation financière Standard and Poor’s a menacé les États-Unis de dégrader la note relative à leur dette souveraine si des améliorations dans la gestion des finances publiques n’étaient pas visibles à l’horizon 2012. La dette publique américaine s’élève à 9 700 milliards de dollars, soit 92,3 % du PIB (produit intérieur brut). Quatre mécanismes principaux peuvent contrer le phénomène : une croissance forte et rapide, un défaut temporaire de paiement, une ...
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Le 1er juillet 2011, les Marocains ont approuvé par référendum le projet de constitution qui leur était proposé. Cette réforme constitutionnelle se veut une réponse aux mécontentements qui s’expriment au Maroc depuis plusieurs mois. Il est cependant fort probable qu’elle ne suffise pas à mettre fin aux revendications.
Chiming in with the central theme of this summer issue, in this article Jean-François Drevet provides a presentation of the main aims of EU policy in the field of energy. After reminding us that there is, strictly speaking, no common energy policy in Europe, he outlines the four major challenges confronting the Union in this area: energy savings, the production of renewable energy (with the declared aim of covering 20% of final consumption from renewable sources by 2020), the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (for which the declared targets are particularly ambitious) and, lastly, problems of energy security (particularly, the question of energy supplies to those countries most dependent on external provision). In all these fields it is, once again, the strength of a united community that can make the difference, though this presents another substantial challenge, given the increasing distrust of consumers, who tend to ascribe recent energy price increases to market liberalization brought about in recent years under the aegis of the EU.
Alors que la croissance démographique de l’Afrique subsaharienne avait stagné jusqu’à la fin du XIXe siècle (suite notamment aux conséquences de la traite des esclaves et aux chocs de la colonisation), sa population est estimée, en 2010, à 410 millions d’habitants et va atteindre 530 millions d’habitants en 2020 . Elle n’en comptait que 90 millions en 1950. Cette forte dynamique démographique s’est accompagnée d’un lent mais puissant mouvement d’urbanisation, notamment entre 1960 ...
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En mai 2011, l’OCDE (Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques) a dévoilé un nouvel indice, « vivre mieux », destiné à mesurer le bien-être des individus et les progrès des pays en la matière. Une initiative qui marque la volonté de l’organisation de proposer des indicateurs de développement alternatifs au PIB (produit intérieur brut).
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.