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