Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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In this second contribution to our new Paroles d’acteurs (Actors’ Words) feature, Bertrand Collomb takes up his pen again to show us, in the light of a recent trip to China, how that country is aiming to deal with the enormous environmental challenges confronting it. Driven by an unprecedented economic boom, China has enormous energy and raw material needs and these are growing as its population is developing and increasingly catching up with Western styles of life. Though it wishes to steer clear of binding international engagements, the Chinese government has nonetheless taken stock of the seriousness of the environmental situation and, in the wake of the 2006-10 Five Year Plan, which was already sensitive to these questions, has given relatively broad consideration in its Twelfth Plan (2011-15) to the means of promoting more sustainable development within the country (reduction of CO2, emissions, energy saving, sustainable cities etc.). Bertrand Collomb here outlines the main orientations of that Twelfth Plan.
Deux défis majeurs, au moins, devraient être à l’ordre du jour de la campagne précédant la prochaine élection présidentielle française, pour autant toutefois que les candidats veuillent bien les aborder et éclairer les électeurs sur leurs propositions plus ou moins différentes pour les relever.
It was just over a year ago that the popular revolts in Tunisia and Egypt began which were to lead to the fall of the two major authoritarian regimes in North Africa and cause other peoples (the Libyans and the Syrians) to rise up in turn against the dictatorships in place there. Much was expected of that “Arab Spring”, supported as it was by various European countries (including France) – not least the establishment of genuine democracies in the countries concerned. However, democracy cannot be established by decree and democratic elections may bring to power leaders who are not greatly inclined to respect it. Is this what we are in danger of seeing in the countries of the southern Mediterranean, where the first democratic votes seem to be paving the way for Islamic regimes that might radicalize to a degree that is as yet unclear?
Jean-François Drevet raises that question here, briefly examining the situation of those Arab countries with links to the European Union and the prospects for the Islamists of developing their influence in those countries. Lastly, he shows how the new political situation in that region could change the Union’s diplomatic relations with those countries and particularly how the Union could attempt to forestall excessively radical developments.
For some months now, the European Union has been facing an economic and financial crisis in which the challenge to the member states has been to find the means to bolster the economic governance of the eurozone. If they fail to do so, the monetary union that has been in existence for some 10 years might hit the buffers. There have been ever more European summits and Franco-German meetings aimed at finding a way out of the Greek crisis and, more generally, a solution to the general destabilization of the European financial system, but ultimately, as Frédéric Allemand shows here, they are hardly proposing anything more than was advocated in the Werner Report of 1970. That report had, in fact, drawn up a particularly far-sighted “plan for achieving economic and monetary union by stages.” However, for want of genuine political support at the time, it was not carried through.
Economic and monetary union was, indeed, established by the Maastricht Treaty in the 1990s, but the union provided was of a minimal kind and did not follow the recommendations proposed by the Werner Report, of which Frédéric Allemand reminds us here. As a result, monetary integration was implemented without economic integration, and particularly without the establishment of a “decision-making centre for economic policy” that would be responsible to the European Parliament and enforce strict control of national budgetary policies. Now that the facts have cruelly shown up the failings that ensued from the omission of such a central structure, perhaps Europe’s leaders will at last get back to fundamentals and, wittingly or otherwise, see through the various stages of the Werner Plan…
L’immigration peut-elle être une solution au besoin de financement croissant de la protection sociale française? L’immigration choisie est elle préférable à l’immigration non sélective ? C’est ce que le CEPII (Centre d’études prospectives et d’informations internationales) propose d’analyser à travers quatre scénarios à l’horizon 2050.
As has been said in this European column and in many other publications in recent months, the current economic crisis – particularly the sovereign debt crisis – has brought the European Union up against its limits. It is, in fact, very difficult to take the decisions that are required at the economic level without efficient authorities of governance. With 27 members and a system of decision-making that requires unanimity for matters of “vital interest” (the definition of which may differ substantially from one country to another and stray far from the general interest of the European Community as a whole), the Union hardly possesses the political means to fulfil its ambitions. This is what Jean-François Drevet shows here, reminding us of the EU’s decision-making system, the way it was constructed and the limitations it has experienced over many years. It is a system urgently in need of reform – without doubt towards a more federal mode of operation.
The economic and financial crisis raging since 2008 has, in recent months, brought the European Union up against its contradictions and shown how difficult, if not impossible, it is to cope with the economic difficulties that beset the Euro zone unless we press on further with the political integration of the region. Though it goes back more than 50 years, the construction of Europe has been at a standstill for a decade or so now. Let us not forget, however, that the EU has succeeded in bringing peace to a continent that had previously seen centuries of warfare. This is no small achievement and doubtless the Duke of Sully, who, as early as the 17th century – and at the height of the Thirty Years’ War – dreamt of a peaceful European Confederation, would have been happy with the outcome. At the end of his life, this famous French statesman drafted a plan aimed at establishing a “very Christian republic” federated around 15 major European nations, so that the peoples of Europe might live together and enjoy enormous power. It is a plan we should re-read if we wish to understand that the aspiration to create a European Union was neither new nor easy to achieve.
Gérard Blanc has re-discovered this plan and here outlines its aims, the nations concerned, the forms of political organization envisaged and many other elements that refer, in certain cases, to what are still topical issues for the European Union as it exists at the dawn of the 21st century.
Comment évoluera le secteur américain de la santé et, en particulier, les soins primaires, à l’horizon 2025 ? Pour apporter des éléments de réponse à cette question, l’Institute for Alternative Futures a réuni des experts du secteur médical et des spécialistes de la prospective. Aux États-Unis, le secteur des soins primaires a connu de profondes évolutions, et regroupe désormais à la fois des médecins indépendants, des hôpitaux et des centres de soins répartis de manière parfois très inégale selon ...
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En 2010, le ministère de la Culture et de la Communication a mené, avec le soutien de Futuribles, une étude prospective sur la culture et les médias à l'horizon 2030, qui proposait plusieurs scénarios exploratoires et identifiait des enjeux pour la culture d'ici 20 ans. Dans le prolongement de cette étude, le ministère a souhaité déterminer une « boussole », un outil d'aide à la décision et de définition de stratégies pour le ministère. Pour cela, plusieurs groupes de ...
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12 November 2011 will remain a significant date for many Italians who were impatient for the end of the Berlusconi era. On that day, il Cavaliere finally resigned himself to the idea of leaving the office of Italian prime minister that he had held for almost 10 years (with one brief interruption), despite repeated political/financial and sex scandals. However, though it represents an encouraging sign for democracy, Silvio Berlusconi’s departure by no means provides Italy’s institutions with a clean bill of health. As Arles Arloff shows here, corruption and collusion between ruling politicians and the mafia are not recent phenomena that came on the scene with the rise of Berlusconi. They go back several centuries and are deeply rooted in the national political system.
Drawing on the copious writings of Italian journalists and authors specializing in this question – and on the testimony of the “last of the judges” (that is to say, one of the last anti-mafia, anti-corruption judges to have escaped physical elimination by outright assassination), namely the public prosecutor Roberto Scarpinato – Arles Arloff reminds us how the mafia was built, from its earliest days, on the corruption of political power. She also shows the extent to which these corrupt practices came to be accepted and regarded almost as normal in that country. Despite the actions taken from 1983 to 1992, which aroused hopes of a massive clear-out of Italian institutions and the return to a “clean” government, Italy remains in the control of “notables”, politicians and other dignitaries closely linked to the mafia (the so-called alta mafia) amid a prevailing code of silence, all of which increasingly makes the country resemble certain former, unlamented South American dictatorships. And if pockets of resistance to that system remain, the danger is that they will not resist for long without support from a broad section of the population. But will those people be willing to risk their lives for the sake of a clean Italy?
Ce Rapport Vigie est l’édition 2012 du rapport annuel du système Vigie. Ce dispositif de l’association Futuribles International a pour ambition de fournir à ses membres des analyses prospectives qui éclairent le champ des futurs possibles dans 15 domaines. Le Rapport Vigie 2010 proposait un panorama de tendances lourdes et d’incertitudes majeures pour chacun de ces domaines à l’horizon 2020-2030. Il nous est apparu utile de reprendre ce rapport, de le réexaminer, de l’actualiser et ...
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Tendance 1. Perte de confiance du citoyen dans ses institutions Tendance 2. Fragmentation du système institutionnel Tendance 3. Perte d’efficacité du système de décision Sources et ressources
Voir la partie 6 du chapitre 4 Géopolitique : UNION EUROPÉENNE Tendance 1. Une Europe à géométrie variable Tendance 2. Une zone euro au bord de l’implosion Tendance 3. L’Union européenne en proie aux replis nationalistes Tendance 4. Pas de sécurisation des importations énergétiques de l’UE Tendance 5. Une voix commune européenne balbutiante Tendance 6. Relations incertaines de l’UE avec son voisinage oriental Tendance 7. Renforcement de la solidarité transatlantique Sources et ressources
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.
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.