Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
The thoughts presented here as one of our "Futures of Yesteryear" by Bernard Cazes are taken from a book by Professor Norberto Bobbio (1909-2004), an important Italian political philosopher, which was published in French in 2007 by Le Seuil under the title Le Futur de la démocratie (The Future of Democracy). In it he analyses the progress and development of human rights in modern societies, a major trend involving the proliferation of new rights in every field. But while this undoubtedly means a real step forward for mankind, says Professor Bobbio, several obstacles could hinder further progress, such as the problem of relativity or the contradictory character of certain rights, not to mention the fact that "the international protection of human rights is perhaps not essential where it is possible, and much less possible where it is necessary".
The problem of people who work but do not earn enough to live on was not much discussed in France before 2000, but it seems to be attracting growing interest, which in itself suggests that their numbers are also rising. What is the true situation and what does the term "working poor" actually cover? These are the questions discussed here by Julien Damon.
How one defines "poor" and "worker" is crucial here: we need to be clear about what constitutes the poverty line and what is meant by "worker" (someone actually in work and/or unemployed?). Indeed, depending on how the terms are defined, the figures can vary enormously. Julien Damon opts for the literal meaning (those in work but living below the poverty line) and estimates the number of working poor in France at 1.6 million, a substantial figure but tending to fall since the mid 1990s.
This downward trend does not make the phenomenon any less scandalous (and viewed as such by public opinion), the author argues, and confronts the French system of social protection with its own contradictions and limitations. Reform is therefore urgent, and starting with the existing experiments with income support (RSA, revenu de solidarité active), and must be able to put an end to "poverty traps" whereby it can make more sense financially for an individual to draw social security rather than seek employment.
Depuis l'élection présidentielle française, les négociations s'intensifient pour sortir le traité constitutionnel de l'impasse créée par les référendums négatifs du printemps 2005. On esquissera ici, trois aspects du problème : - la question de fond du passage à l'union politique ; - les faiblesses institutionnelles de la construction actuelle ; - quelques pistes pour sortir de la crise avant 2009.
Sebastian Roché and Olivier Hassid provide here an account of their findings from a foresight study of the state's role in internal security in France undertaken for the Commissariat général du Plan. The study came to nothing when the Commissariat ceased to exist.
They first describe the present arrangements for ensuring domestic security in France: their weaknesses (lack of tools for forecasting and evaluation, structural unity, professional aspects, etc.) and their strengths (e.g. large and well-qualified staff, good co-ordination between different levels, coherent institutional set-up, network of actors). They then sketch the developing trends towards greater decentralization of security issues, the emergence of private security firms, public involvement, "Europeanization" of certain police functions...
Against this background, how might the role of the state in the management of domestic security evolve? To answer this question, the authors start by defining it more precisely: what aspects of this matter should the state be responsible for and in what way (for example, should it subcontract some of them?). The authors define a "hard core" of functions where the state can really do something to achieve improved security, mainly relating to ensuring human rights, efficiency of services and public satisfaction with the security provided. They then set out the various phases of public intervention in the matter of security.
Lastly, the authors propose some possible ways forward - in terms of security priorities, levels of action and relevant actors - in line with their "fitness" for the task: their ability to adapt and consequently how appropriate they are to deal with problems, judged against the background of international comparisons.
This is a somewhat unusual article in that it is based on a long letter from Pierre Gonod to Hugues de Jouvenel about the concept of "the common good", the links between foresight studies and politics, and what Pierre Gonod calls "anthropolitics". The letter is the latest in a lively correspondence in which Pierre Gonod reacted to various editorials in Futuribles, after Hugues de Jouvenel had declined to publish a long article that he had offered to Futuribles on "An alternative approach to foresight and politics", its style having been judged too abstruse.
Pierre Gonod favours "complex thinking" (which he distinguishes from systems analysis), and has long been a keen advocate for it. This has included trying to explore ways in which it could give a fresh impetus to foresight studies by suggesting new types of representation, taking greater account of the time dimension, and thus contributing to the development of a new political "praxeology".
This article will appear just as the new President of France takes office. Whoever that person is would do well to take note of it quickly since its message is striking, drawing attention to the enormous proliferation of legal norms (in particular laws and regulations) in France in recent years, but which has had the effect of reducing their efficacy and clarity.
According to Jacques Bichot, France suffers from a problem of regulatory hyperinflation that is regularly highlighted by its top-level institutions (above all the Conseil d'État): the annual compendium of laws for 2004 contained eight and a half times as many pages of legislation as in 1973. This would not matter so much if the laws were clear, but this is far from true, he argues, because it is extremely rare for a new standard to replace an earlier one. What tends to happen instead is for regulations to be piled on top of each other without being simplified. The worst culprits are the policy-makers, especially in central government ministries - the government having now overtaken the parliament as the main initiator of legislation in France.
What makes matters worse is that, even though they are the victims of this development, the population and businesses go along with it, feeling that there is no alternative to the state (and therefore its laws) to deal with their varied grievances. The result is a vicious circle of more and more rules and regulations that are less and less effective. In most areas, the proliferation of these half-measures basically allows the authorities to avoid undertaking proper reforms, which have become too costly. Yet, as Jacques Bichot says, it is essential for democracy that standards should be straightforward. Unless there is a major upheaval involving governments surviving longer and improved powers for parliament to make laws, and unless there is a fundamental change of mindset, France is going to become thoroughly entangled in red tape.
Aurélien Boutaud is concerned that politicians are unable properly to take account of environmental issues and tries to explain why this is. Although nowadays everyone talks blithely about sustainable development, elected representatives (or the candidates for the French presidential election) probably have little real idea that such development challenges the very concept of the common interest which, in the course of time, has come to be defined as "the package of individual interests shared by the largest number of voters".
Yet in fact, sustainable development implies not only a return to the mediaeval concept of "the common good", but also that this should be understood with regard to both the long term, so as to take account of future generations, as well as to the whole of the planet and not just the narrow confines of the nation-state. Nobody today in the so-called representative democracies considers the interests of all humankind, let alone those of future generations. Politicians (including presidential candidates) look no further than the views of current voters, who basically remain indifferent to the important issues affecting the sustainability of the ecosystem.
Having made this gloomy but quite realistic assessment, the author goes on to explore in what ways, by means of which bodies and new methods of public consultation, the long-term collective interest of the whole planet could be taken into account more satisfactorily. While we await the coming of a hypothetical global democracy, Aurélien Boutaud examines what contribution might be made by conferences of citizens and what form the principle of interactive subsidiarity might take.
In short, this article puts an important question: what capacity to democratic systems - where they exist - have to take account of the views of all those who are not fortunate enough to be able to take part in elections.
Le succès de l’ouvrage a étonné l’auteur. En effet, il s’agit avant tout d’une courte tentative de synthèse de beaucoup de ses travaux antérieurs, une sorte de rapport d’étape. La plupart des idées et analyses qui le composent ont été plus ou moins développées dans de précédents ouvrages de Jacques Attali (Histoires du temps ; Dictionnaire du XXIè siècle. Paris : Fayard, respectivement 1982 et 1998, etc.). Trois principes le guident lorsqu’il s’interroge sur l ...
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French local authorities are currently doing more and more to improve their communications infrastructures, as can be seen from the figure published in January 2007 by the Association of Cities and Local Authorities for Electronic Communications: 448 million Euros were invested in public open-access networks in 2006. But what kind of initiatives are these? There are as many forms of intervention as there are local authorities, and this diversity is a good thing.
Nevertheless, digital technologies are such an important factor in people's everyday lives, in local development and planning, and in a region's competitiveness that it would be suicidal for local authorities to make commitments in this field without a great deal of prior strategic thinking, especially given the wide range of actors involved who are powerful and in competition with each other. How can the local authorities find a way, between the state (the monopoly provider in the past), the new generation of providers and the equipment manufacturers, to create local public access to very high bandwidth networks without themselves having to finance investments that should really be the responsibility of the other actors just mentioned?
Agnès Huet and Pascal Buléon offer their view of this important issue. They do not avoid discussing either the technical debates or the selfish behaviour of some of the actors who try to make the local authorities provide funding without giving them any decision-making capacity. Hardly a week passes without some spectacular initiative somewhere in the world to improve local digital access, such as the free wi-fi offered in San Francisco by Google, but it is obvious that in this race, there will be winners and losers. The authors plead the case here that the losers in France should not be the local authorities and, ultimately, the users.
Five years ago, at the time of the French presidential election in 2002, Futuribles drew up a list of twelve major questions facing the country to put to the candidates. What is France's position in 2007? How has the country changed, and - above all -what challenges await the next President?
Michel Drancourt sets out here some of the issues that a future French President must tackle within the next ten years (i.e. two presidential terms). France has changed, he says, and the French, as they choose their future President, must be aware that these changes will continue to occur and that the direction of change lies in their hands. The future government, for its part, will have to convince the public to support what it does, according to Michel Drancourt.
In the end, he argues, how effective the measures to bring about change in France will be depends on how the means available to the country are used. The author lists four: making the most of its human resources, strengthening the European Union, mobilizing the French people and improving management.
L'IPTS a demandé à TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) et DNI (Danish Technological Institute) de fournir aux décideurs politiques des éclairages pour les politiques futures sur l'e-gouvernement, qui va au-delà de l'administration électronique ou de la modernisation de l'État. Les trois premières étapes de l'étude ont contribué à préciser 1) les technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC), 2) les tâches et les rôles des gouvernements, et 3) leurs effets combinés ...
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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.