Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Readers of Futuribles are kept abreast of the current debates about the policy (or lack of it) with regard to research and development in France, in part because of the amount of space we have devoted to this matter in the journal.
We publish here the point of view of an eminent researcher, Pierre Piganiol, who was the first head of the Délégation générale à la recherche scientifique et technique (DGRST) which, following the famous meeting in Caen (1956), was the first body to implement the R&D policy of the Gaullist era - which it did, moreover, in magisterial fashion.
Pierre Piganiol expresses his amazement that the alarm calls about the inadequacy of French research efforts have not apparently been either heard or understood. He then reminds us of the ultimate purpose of research (and the various types of research) and the major role that the state should play in co-ordinating efforts, not only with regard to the research that it finances but also to privately funded research.
He stresses that this role of orchestrating research means putting considerable effort into foresight in order to make choices, as far as possible, in the light of the country's future needs. He says here, pithily, what others in the debate put more pompously in terms of the tensions between technology push and social needs (or bottom-up approach).
Finally, Pierre Piganiol offers some judicious thoughts as to the ways that this research policy might ideally be conducted.
Those who have worked with him will not be surprised that he lays so much emphasis on the need to make a "reasoned analysis of the present state of knowledge and research", of what he calls the "scientific climate" (conjoncture scientifique). It is indeed strange that, despite his best efforts, nothing of the sort has ever been implemented...
Pierre Piganiol emphasizes, in his own article in this issue, the importance of foresight studies in drawing up an R&D policy which, of necessity, looks to the long term. In response to this need and to the need to give a new stimulus (but what?) to French research policy the French association for technical research (Association nationale de la recherche technique, ANRT) has launched a future-oriented study of the French system of research and innovation.
Jacques Lesourne, chairman of the steering committee of the "Futuris" project, offers his view of the French system of research and innovation, then shows how the arrangements made in France after the Second World War are now having to face the need for reform, if only because of the radically different context in which we find ourselves and the challenges of the next few years.
After a brief sketch of how this vast exercise in foresight is being organized, drawing on a very large number of experts, and the various methods used (in particular scenario-building), he summarizes the main lessons to be learned from it. Above all he stresses the need to step up substantially the investment in R&D in France (with a look at the roles that public authorities and business should play in this) as well as the need for in-depth reform of the way that research is organized if it is to become more productive.
Lastly, and given that the French government has announced that it proposes to introduce legislation about the direction and programming of research, he makes some recommendations, based on the work of Futuris, directed at the drafters of the new law, whose contents are eagerly awaited.
Nul ne contestera le fait que l'État occupe en France une place à la fois spécifique et majeure depuis fort longtemps. Il joue un rôle particulièrement important, y compris en raison de son poids, de ses rigidités, de ses privilèges, mais ce rôle est souvent aujourd'hui perçu comme un frein plus que comme un moteur.
Longtemps considérée comme une utopie, la construction européenne a désormais derrière elle une histoire de plus de 50 ans. De la CECA au Traité constitutionnel, en passant par le traité de Rome, l'Acte unique et les traités de Maastricht, d'Amsterdam et de Nice, elle a poursuivi son chemin et instauré progressivement un système politique supranational. Cependant, alors que nous sommes peut-être à la veille de l'adoption d'une Constitution, l'Union européenne (UE) est restée, selon les ...
(76 more words)
This article is the fourth in the series started by Futuribles in June 2004, in partnership with the Aleph group of the French Commissariat général du Plan. The aim of the series is to enlighten readers about what specialist bodies are doing in other countries in the area of futures studies and strategic thinking geared to public decision-making. The three earlier articles looked at Germany, Ireland and Sweden. In this issue we look at the place of futures studies in the public sphere in Quebec.
As Aurélien Colson stresses, in Quebec, as elsewhere, the term futures studies ("prospective") has a variety of meanings and covers a wide range of practices. While planning and strategic monitoring are very highly developed in the public administration of Quebec, "prospective" in its strictest definition appears to be more marginal, with the exception of a promising concern with "foresight" that exists within the province's Council on Science and Technology.
The West bears considerable responsibility for the theoretical justifications for racism, which was presented for centuries by so-called "savants" as a scientific truth that could be used to justify all manner of injustices: colonialism, slavery, apartheid, genocide. Nowadays, it is the view of most scholars that there is no scientific basis for racism. Nevertheless, many scientific writings - or ones claiming to be - still show traces of racial prejudice. In Penser le racisme (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 2004), Michel Girod has re-examined the full range of scientific writing in an attempt to understand the relationship of scientists to racism, and then to draw up an exhaustive inventory of theories and statements on the subject. André-Yves Portnoff has read the book for Futuribles and gives an outline of its main themes here.
Following the elections in EU countries for their members of the European Parliament and as some of them start the campaigns leading to referenda on whether or not to ratify the draft European Constitution, Elvire Fabry examines the expectations of EU citizens with regard to their institutions. She stresses that not only is there a lack of legitimacy, the EU must deal with a real civic shortfall, related mainly to adequate public consultation. The agreements made in recent years (from Maastricht to Nice, by way of the draft Constitution) are an improvement in this direction, but what about the citizens themselves - what are their expectations and how can these be met effectively?
As the author emphasizes, this progress (right to more consultation, strengthening of the powers of the Parliament, etc.) does in part satisfy the demand for greater public participation in the debates about European affairs. Nevertheless, paradoxically, there is good reason to fear that the vast majority of Europe's citizens cannot be bothered to make the most of their opportunities. Given this situation, the decision to resort to referenda on the Constitution, in France in particular, runs the risk that, unless there are real efforts to educate and communicate with the voters, the turn-outs will again be low, or even that the Eurosceptics will win.
This article is the third in the series started in June 2004 by Futuribles, in partnership with the Aleph group of the French Commissariat général du Plan. The aim of the series is to enlighten readers about what is going on in the area of futures studies and strategic thinking applied to public policy-making in other countries. As in the two earlier articles, devoted to Germany and Ireland respectively, the article focuses on the role of the wide range of bodies engaged in research and consultancy which are contributing to the design of public policies and to thinking about the political, economic and social issues involved in the medium and long term, this time in Sweden.
Sandrine Paillard describes the different agencies engaged in future studies in Sweden, stressing in particular their great independence of the political authorities. She shows, too, the key role played by future studies in the design of public policies as these agencies contribute to a better understanding of the issues on the part of the general public and encourage the various groups involved to work together in drawing up public policies.
Hugues de Jouvenel a présenté les intervenants et rappelé combien les questions de modernisation de l’État et d’État-stratège étaient récurrentes depuis des années sans que de grands progrès dans ce sens ne soient réalisés. Michel Drancourt a d’abord expliqué comment était née l’idée de leur ouvrage commun, "Service public. Sortir de l’imposture", à la suite de la lecture du rapport du Conseil d’État de 2003 rédigé par Marcel Pochard, qui faisait le constat que ...
(100 more words)
Robert Toulemon, a committed European, reflects on the future of the UN institutions, arguing that the UN family, which today lacks legitimacy and is no longer truly representative, would benefit from following the example of the European Union (EU). After a brief survey of the international context and the current deficiencies in the system of global governance - illustrated recently by events in Iraq -, Toulemon sets out a series of prerequisites for such a reform, including the need to recognize the rise of nations like the Republic of South Africa and to promote democracy and the observance of human rights throughout the world.
The first steps towards reform, in his view, would be to take account of peoples and not just states; that done, to recognize and define in institutional terms the right to intervene in a country's internal affairs, which would inevitably mean greater co-operation between Europe, the United States and the South; finally, to organize the reform on a regional basis, i.e. foster the development of large regional groupings as interlocutors within the UN system. In this regard, just as EU institutions have served as models for regional groupings elsewhere in the world (in Asia, Latin America, etc.), they could also inspire the reform of different parts of the UN and their relationships with each other. For example, the UN Secretary General's office could evolve into a collegiate body responsible for safeguarding international law (as the European Commission does within the EU).
Aware that his proposals could be dismissed as utopian, Robert Toulemon offers other detailed suggestions (for funding, governance, etc.) and considers Europe as a pioneer in promoting the new global compromise that he has described.
Venu exposer sa vision de l’avenir du système de santé français, Gilles Johanet a rappelé son importance pour le maintien de la cohésion sociale tout en regrettant les réels problèmes d’efficacité et les dérives budgétaires dont il souffre. Selon lui, il est désormais urgent de réformer le système. Le sujet est vaste tant il concerne tout à la fois la santé publique, l’enseignement et la recherche.
In this opinion piece, Viviane du Castel surveys the current political and geostrategic situation in Russia following the overwhelming re-election of Vladimir Putin as President of the Russian Federation.
While representative democracy seems to be in a poor way, with opposition parties marginalized and the freedom of the press increasingly threatened, the economy is at a crossroads. A temporary halt to market reforms and a gradual "sovietization" of big industry is accompanied by major uncertainties generated by the clash between the Kremlin and the so-called oligarchs, who are seen as too powerful and too independent. Viviane du Castel discusses the range of options available to Putin during his second term, in which he holds all the political reins in his hands.
In terms of foreign policy, Russia's position today hardly differs from what it was under the Czars: it has to combine its ambitions vis-à-vis the West (i.e. Europe and the United States), the East (mainly China) and what the Russians still call "the near abroad", which this old imperial power cannot disregard for very long. Moreover, the Russian gambit towards China, the European Union and the Atlantic alliance - all now on its borders - can be seen clearly both in its direct international relations and in its actions in those areas that have often been viewed as an essential part of its outer defences: Kaliningrad, Moldavia, Ukraine, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia remain the preferred regions where Russia exercises its muscle. Energy issues, for example, are a good indicator of Moscow's degree of influence on policy.
The real challenge for the country now is to achieve a balance among these three regional power games so as to maximize Russia's role and international influence.
Viviane du Castel provides here the keys to understanding the issues facing a Russian President who seeks to restore his office to the central role within the "vertical" power hierarchy that he wants to re-establish in the anarchic Federation that Russia is today.
As a follow-up to the discussion forum on the draft Charter for the environment that the French President would like to include in the French Constitution, Olivier Godard provides us with a more detailed analysis of one of the most controversial aspects of the Charter, set out in article 5: the application of the precautionary principle. Godard is an acknowledged expert on this matter who has often written for us in the past. Here he examines the arguments of those who are opposed to the application of the principle as envisaged in the current version of the Charter - i.e. in a proportionate manner which can be altered over time as knowledge of the issues increases - and shows why their objections are not valid.
In the first place, according to Olivier Godard, the precautionary principle is the outcome of a perfectly rational approach, as he shows by taking the example of the epidemic of bird 'flu earlier this year. Moreover, including the principle in the Constitution does not detract from its relevance in any way: just because a norm may have accidental effects or be misused - and the risk that will happen cannot be ruled out completely - is no reason for it to be invalidated. Lastly, Godard demonstrates that the principle of proportionate precaution does well on the "reflexivity test", in other words, when applied to itself, the precautionary principle remains a guarantee of a balanced decision over the longer term.
In conclusion and in order to clarify certain controversial points, Olivier Godard proposes several amendments to article 5 of the Charter, as well as a detailed reformulation of the article.
Since the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000, the European Union gave itself the target of becoming "the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world" by the year 2010. A target which, according to the official line, would involve bringing the European research effort to 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) by this time. Why this figure of 3% of the GDP? Part of the response lies in an extract from the 1964 work from the Plan, Considerations for 1985 (Paris: La documentation Française), which is reproduced in this issue. From 1964, the strategists for the French Plan estimated that in two decades' time, 3% of the gross domestic product should be devoted to research, in order to put France in a favourable position among international competitors and to make it a genuine rival for the United States -which was already showing this investment rate in the research carried out in 1964! They also insisted on the necessity of increasing research performance in France, notably with the help of an appropriate recruitment policy and the creation of "suitable reception facilities" which would incidentally provide researchers with the means to work efficiently.
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.