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