Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Although this article, which was written long before the recent French elections, sets out to examine long-term trends, it is also extremely illuminating about the present political situation.
While there are clear differences among countries (in particular between the Protestant nations of Northern Europe and the Catholic South) it highlights the general decline in interest in politics and in turnout at elections, especially among young people. By contrast, it stresses the rise of new forms of political activity based on protest.
Pierre Bréchon ponders how much trust Europeans place in their institutions, and shows - although, again, there are obvious differences between countries - that some institutions are well regarded, depending on their purpose, for example the systems providing education, social security and healthcare.
By contrast, stressing the gulf between political leaders and the electorate, Bréchon points out how far the democratic institutions such as parliaments are criticized for being unrepresentative.
He then goes on to look at political affiliations, in particular the Left-Right divide; he shows that although this is now much less marked, it still has a certain sense, as can be seen from the importance attached to a range of values emblematic of the two sides.
After focussing on xenophobia, the changes in attitudes to immigrants and the immigration policies adopted by the various countries, Pierre Bréchon looks more closely at democracy itself. He argues that although it is well established in Western Europe, this does not mean that it is above criticism, sometimes energetic.
Overall, the author stresses that the trends observed over the last 20 years remain steady, including the continuing diversity among countries which appears not to have diminished in spite of the growth of the European Union.
Au centre des polémiques issues des récents scandales de malversations comptables, la question de la gouvernance d'entreprise a suscité de nombreuses réflexions. Face au conflit d'intérêt fondamental entre les managers et les actionnaires et aux transformations de la nature même de l'entreprise, quel mécanisme de gouvernance instituer ? C'est à cette réflexion globale que nous invite Jean-Paul Pollin, ouvrant la voie à une meilleure prise en compte du long terme et du capital humain dans la conduite ...
(-1 more words)
The first round of the French presidential elections caused real anxiety: the Far Right, with over 5 million votes (a clear increase compared with the 1995 election), came second, knocking out the Socialist candidate from the second round. How can this result be explained?
Pascal Perrineau starts by recalling that support for the Far Right, in spite of the view of some commentators, has not fallen away in recent years. On the contrary, he stresses that we have seen a considerable increase in abstentions and in votes for both Far Left and Far Right, while the major government coalitions have lost many votes.
For Perrineau, an expert in European extreme Right-wing movements, "the first round of the presidential election was indeed an election composed of 'anti' votes", just as the second round saw a massive rejection of Jean-Marie Le Pen: "the whiff of sulphur that provided his strength in the first (proportional) round, in which all the negative feelings were expressed, became a handicap in the second round".
Pascal Perrineau then analyses the geographical distribution of the support for the Far Right (in eastern and southern France) and the sociological patterns, showing that those who vote for Le Pen are mainly young men with little education, small shopkeepers, unskilled manual workers and the unemployed.
Lastly, Perrineau attempts an investigation of the causes underlying this vote for the Far Right. He notes that, in addition to the specific motives such as the rising levels of petty crime, the return of pessimism about economic and social prospects, and the worries caused by the growth of an "open society", there are also much deeper motives. He argues that a new division is developing in France, beyond the traditional Left-Right split, between people who cling to "closed" attitudes and those whose attitudes are more "open": the former being opposed to, the latter in favour of, European unification, globalisation, the post-industrial society, multiculturalism, etc.
Having thus outlined and explained why the two rounds of this presidential election have been massive rejections, Perrineau stresses that it is urgent "for France to rediscover - beyond these 'negative' political movements that have regularly caused such upheavals for almost ten years now - a kind of political awareness that is more a matter of commitment and reform than a rejection of the status quo".
Bernard Cochemé first sets out the scale of the catastrophe brought about by the collapse of Enron and explains the consequences of such a bankruptcy for those whose pensions depend on capital funds.
In this regard, he makes a clear distinction between pension funds, in particular those with a fixed return which, if they are properly run, spread the risks fairly, from the savings funds, especially those with fixed contributions, whose holdings amount to around $2 trillion.
The author emphasizes the importance of managing risks, in particular the critical need for reliable financial information and therefore for reliable financial advisers, especially auditors, who mercifully are not always as corrupt as seems to have been in the case in the Enron affair.
Nevertheless, he has concerns about the new measures being proposed by the US government and Congress in order to safeguard the rights of employees and shareholders.
L'introduction d'un pilier par capitalisation en complément du régime par répartition est souvent présentée comme un moyen d'augmenter l'épargne d'une économie. En effet, les agents anticipant pouvoir bénéficier d'une retraite par répartition quand ils seront inactifs diminuent leurs flux d'épargne-retraite. Mais une comparaison entre pays à systèmes de retraite différents contredit ce schéma. La prise en compte de la structure de la population ne suffit pas non plus à expliquer les écarts de ...
(37 more words)
Is it especially difficult to initiate high quality public debate in France? This is at least the impression of the authors of this piece, who are highly critical of the French tendency to trot out inadequate clichés rather than to have a proper discussion of major social issues, such as pensions.
True, the current election campaign is partly responsible, but the problem seems more deep-seated: there appears to be a growing propensity in France to shy away from real debate. For this reason, the authors urge a return to greater intellectual honesty in public discussions, which have become dominated by political posturing. Because, following the publication of their report on the future of pensions, they have seen their own ideas distorted quite shamelessly, they are concerned to set out their arguments clearly once more, at the risk of repeating themselves.
Society is changing rapidly. These changes are the product of, among other things, the new information and communications technologies (NICTs). The impact of the NICTs is analysed here by François Ascher.
He says that the Internet is seen as opening up all kinds of new possibilities. While some argue that technical advances are not causing major social changes, he takes the opposite position: the vigour and speed of penetration of the NICTs are accompanied by radical changes in our social and cultural models.
The new modernity now emerging, which he labels 'the hypertext society' by analogy with the interactive links of the Internet, is based on the knowledge economy and is characterized by greater emphasis on individuals, rationalization and social differentiation. These 'multifaceted' individuals with multiple connections act in varying ways, and their new ways of thinking and acting create new social linkages, new forms of solidarity, and sometimes also problems.
Ascher goes on to argue that this on-going process of modernization, which emphasizes individual freedoms and aims to create a fairer and more open and peaceful society, requires an updating of the concepts of democracy, political programmes and government action. This new democracy (more complex and more procedural) will be most effective if it is truly 'comprehensive' and consultative, relying more on interactive than on traditional modes of governance. But will it be capable of inculcating tolerance, morality, justice and hospitality? Can it redefine notions of solidarity and responsibility, achieve lasting compromises, operate from the most local level to the most global level?
According to François Ascher, the new dynamics of local governance and the development of supranational policies and multinational organizations give cause for hope, provided that modern decision-makers feel that they can control what will happen in the future.
The last two decades have seen repeated low-level offences that increase social tensions and damage the environment. Have such offences really increased? Is there a greater awareness on the part of victims? Is there something wrong with non-judicial forms of punishment?
In any event, although many cases are closed without any follow-up, Milburn argues that the need to deal with these offences has been reaffirmed. The state prosecutors, who are central to the actions of the courts and alive to "zero tolerance", have opted for the famous "third way": they have created peri-judicial sentences intended to "restore social bonds".
Milburn examines two common approaches:
- compulsory mediation, bringing the perpetrator of the crime face-to-face with his or her victim as a means of punishment;
- forcing young offenders to make good the damage they have done, a sentence intended to be "restorative" and educative, aiming to rebuild the link between the young person and the community.
According to Philip Milburn, whereas classic legal sentencing relies on sanctions, 'restorative justice' is based on the will of the accused and the social significance they attach to their acts. These innovations reflect, on the one hand, an approach seeking reparation in which the law is less important than involving citizens in formalizing self-regulation of community life and, on the other, a 'neo-retributive' approach that offers a legal response based on admonition and potential sanctions.
French voters will be turning out on 21 April and 5 May for the two rounds of an election to choose a new President of the Republic. It is a key position in France since, even if the government, which is elected separately from the President, is responsible for deciding and implementing national policies, and even if the periods of "cohabitation" (with President and parliamentary majority from different parties) have brought some changes (our system is in effect a presidential one).
The campaign has not yet officially begun, nor have all the candidates officially announced they are standing, but there is no doubt that everyone is secretly preparing for the election. There is already, however, a sickening stink arising from various sordid scandals involving several of the contenders, and this does not bode well for the campaign (if it continues to be conducted in the same terms), there is a strong risk that there will not be a proper debate on the major issues affecting the French people in the medium and long term, let alone the policies that may be adopted.
The editorial committee of the journal Futuribles is deeply concerned that the questions that we feel to be critical for the future of the country might be sidestepped in this way. We have therefore decided this month to create a special section in which, without trying to be exhaustive, we examine the candidates' propositions with regard to the issues that we do not want to see dodged. The section therefore raises questions about security and defense policies, energy policy, the issue of sustainable development, policies on innovation, research and education, on employment and measures to cope with the challenges of an ageing population. It also addresses the problems of public services and tax reform, citizenship and types of management, without forgetting, naturally, to quiz the candidates on sleaze.
We are well aware that we can only scratch the surface of these topics. Other issues are just as important and should be on the agenda: what are their policies for health, housing, inequality, the fight against social exclusion and delinquency? What about policies for economic and social development, the environment, science and technology...? The list of major issues facing French society in the short, medium and long term is lengthy. And the state, even if it cannot cope with all of them and even if nobody expects it to produce miracle solutions, has a role to play in tackling them, including to undertake reform of itself and to allow the spirit of enterprise to flourish...
Dans son premier numéro de 2002, la Revue internationale de sécurité sociale se penche sur le défi posé par le vieillissement démographique aux systèmes de sécurité sociale. Dans une première grande partie intitulée « Crise des pensions : quelle crise ? », Dalmer Hoskins et Maria Augusztinovics listent respectivement leurs « réflexions sur le thème du vieillissement » et « questions concernant la conception des régimes de retraite ». Mais loin de se concentrer exclusivement sur les pays développés (certes les plus massivement concernés par ces problèmes de ...
(222 more words)
La question de la soutenabilité financière à long terme des régimes légaux de pension a fait irruption dans le débat sociopolitique belge à la fin des années 1980. Les différentes politiques touchant aux pensions mises en oeuvre durant les périodes précédentes indiquent que cette préoccupation était auparavant soit absente, soit subordonnée à des impératifs de court-moyen terme perçus comme prioritaires. Le BFP fut ainsi invité à plusieurs reprises - dans le cadre de ses missions légales d'aide à la décision ...
(54 more words)
The concept of partnership is, like governance, fashionable at the moment. It seems to meet a need for a thorough overhaul of the methods (institutions and procedures) of public management, which in turn results from what some refer to as 'the crisis of the state'.
Especially in the area of social protection, which used to be dominated by 'paritarisme' (equal representation, especially of the 'social partners'), partnerships are increasingly being fostered between public authorities at various levels (the products in part of efforts to devolve power away from the central administration) and institutions representing civil society to a greater or lesser extent: trade unions, of course, but also a whole series of new players, in particular voluntary organizations, whose claims to be representative need to be kept under scrutiny.
Julien Damon describes how this process is developing in France, and questions its raison d'être, its benefits and drawbacks, including the risk that it will lead to the gradual dismantling of the responsibilities that properly belong to the state, a distortion and dilution of the concept of the public good, even institutional arrangements of questionable legitimacy. In doing this he touches on the problem of a style of governance that, in the guise of promoting greater closeness to the governed, might lead to institutional confusion, carrying with it threats to both democracy and the efficacy of the policies for which, in his view, the state should continue to be primarily responsible.
Even though this article looks more to the past than to the future, it examines an issue that is more than ever in the news: democratic control over scientific and technical decisions, a question that is gaining in importance as these choices carry ever more serious consequences for the future of the planet.
The article is about the disposal of nuclear waste in the US and, more generally, the choices that may have been made and the secret experiments carried out, including for strategic reasons, alongside the transparency that, sooner or later, proves indispensable for public trust.
Jean-Jacques Salomon, who maintains a constant watch over these issues, bases his article on two books about past policies whose critics at the time were silenced: Eileen Welsome's The Plutonium Files: America's Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War (New York: Delta, 2000), and Gayle Greene's The Woman Who Knew Too Much (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999).
Le système de santé en France souffre, d'une part, d'un manque de contrôle des dépenses et, d'autre part, de l'insuffisante qualité des services offerts, notamment en ce qui concerne l'accès aux soins des plus démunis et les disparités régionales. Ces déficiences remettent en cause l'organisation des relations entre les différents acteurs du système - Sécurité sociale, corps médical, patients -, marquée par une gestion monopolistique de l'assurance maladie et une forte centralisation des décisions. Un ...
(266 more words)
Internet démocratisera-t-il la Chine ? C'est à cette question qu'est consacré cet ouvrage qui traite de l'utilisation politique d'Internet par les dissidents chinois et des stratégies mises en œuvre par les autorités afin de contrer la menace. Le terme de dissidents recouvre aussi bien les opposants résidant en Chine que les activistes exilés à l'étranger et représentant des causes variées : membres du mouvement Falungong, défenseurs de l'identité tibétaine... En république populaire de Chine, l'Internet ...
(317 more words)
À l'instar de leurs homologues européennes, les ONG (organisations non gouvernementales) françaises ont vu leurs fonctions se transformer et se diversifier. Leurs capacités opérationnelles sont davantage sollicitées et exigent une cohérence avec l'ensemble des acteurs du développement, bailleurs de fonds publics internationaux et nationaux, gouvernements et sociétés civiles locales, ONG internationales. La nécessité de renforcer l'efficacité de l'aide, les exigences des bailleurs de fonds publics et privés, qui évaluent et contrôlent les actions qu'ils financent ...
(200 more words)
Nouvelle publication, semestrielle, Santé, société et solidarité est la revue de l'Observatoire franco-québécois de la santé et de la solidarité. Son objectif est d'enrichir le débat public sur des questions sociales d'importance. Pour sa première livraison, la revue se penche sur l'avenir des systèmes de santé en France et au Québec, avec un dossier d'une centaine de pages, s'appuyant notamment sur le rapport Polton (Quel système de santé à l'horizon 2020 ? Paris : La ...
(16 more words)
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.