Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
France, like Europe, is getting older. This is not a recent phenomenon but the situation is being aggravated as the baby-boom generation arrives in ever increasing numbers among the ranks of the retired population, whose life-expectancy is growing, while the generations following behind are less numerous and their pension contributions are no longer enough to ensure that the system is in balance. One of the solutions proposed as a way of making up this financial shortfall would be to raise the retirement age or, better still, to extend the years of working life. Yet in fact the trend, at least in France, is instead towards stopping work early, before even the legal pension age.
One of the reasons for early retirement is that the labour market does not encourage the employment of older workers, who are sometimes considered to be less efficient than younger people. Catherine Delgoulet, Michel Millanvoye and Serge Volkoff have been examining the capacities of older workers for a long time. With evidence from many studies undertaken in France and other countries on a range of job categories, they present here the realities of the situation for ageing workers and challenge certain widely held notions.
In particular, they stress that performance on the job "does not inevitably decline with age and it is rather the method of measuring performance that needs to be questioned". They also show that this performance much depends on working conditions, as some situations create greater difficulties for older workers than others (shift work, painful positions, etc.). They emphasize above all that older workers are often quite aware of the problems that come with advancing years and compensate for them in practice, either individually or in the collective organization of their work. This adjustment shows that it is possible to extend working life, provided (of course) that there is a genuine effort to make suitable arrangements for work and training throughout life and to derive maximum benefit from the professional experience of older workers.
This text complements the article in this issue on the ability of older people to stay in work by looking at how one particular sector - insurance - is dealing with an ageing workforce.
Gérard Lobjeois, head of the organization that monitors employment change in the sector (the Observatoire de l'évolution des métiers de l'assurance) first describes the various attempts in different branches of insurance to predict the consequences of ageing on staff over the next 10 years. In addition to those who stop work at the official retirement age, others are encouraged by widely practised policy to retire early, which he stresses is a serious problem that could well make for difficulties in future. It is therefore important to sustain the jobs and the professional motivation of older workers: those who are now in their 50s, obviously, but also those now in their 40s who will be the 50+ age-group of tomorrow.
The author then sketches a portrait of these cohorts (40-49 years, 50-59 years, but also 60 and over), by sub-groups, showing how much room for manoeuvre there is, at branch level, to achieve better management of these ageing workers and to prevent sudden labour shortages from occurring. In particular, he emphasizes the need to invest in training and to valorize the experience of these older workers so as to maintain their employability and their capacity to move between jobs and be promoted, and hence to encourage them to want to stay in work as long as possible. This is an admirable lesson in how to manage staff numbers and skills proactively...
Qu'il s'agisse d'explorer l'évolution du nombre de consommateurs par catégorie d'âge, la population d'âge actif ou l'évolution des valeurs, le nombre de ménages et leur composition, les besoins en logement ou les perspectives du tourisme, a fortiori l'évolution de la croissance économique, les besoins en termes de santé ou les impacts du vieillissement, voire notre consommation énergétique ou les émissions de gaz à effet de serre... dans presque tous ces travaux, il ...
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The heatwave of summer 2003 in France highlighted very dramatically the isolation of some elderly people and the failure of society to take proper care of them. Given the ageing of the population and the forecast increase in the numbers of the very old, the problem of looking after many dependent old people is a major challenge for the future.
René Lenoir has spent his whole career in senior posts in the French civil service and his writings are a point of reference for anyone interested in social issues. Here he examines the ways that France might cope with this increase in high dependency, not just among the old, but also other vulnerable groups, especially disabled people and children.
Basing his remarks on his own experience, he describes how things have changed over the years, with a general and gradual trend away from keeping people shut in towards offering them greater autonomy (albeit with some exceptions). He stresses the scale of the problems and the worries raised by them. He describes the current institutional arrangements as well as some initiatives undertaken in several French regions, and points out some ways of meeting the needs of these groups while respecting their dignity. Given the State's failure to provide enough people to work in the sector, he argues that we may well have to look to the recently retired to fill the gap on a voluntary basis. Once again, civil society will probably be called on to make up for the deficiencies of the public authorities.
Following on from the dossier in this issue evaluating what has been achieved under the Lisbon agenda, Michel Godet and Évelyne Sullerot, who have a written a forthcoming report on the family, stress the urgent need that exists in Europe to invest in its human capital. They point out that Europe is at last realizing that its population is ageing, especially compared with the United States, and that this has consequences in the medium and long term for its economic growth (the economically active population of the 25 member states of the EU might decline by more than 20 million between 2010 and 2030). Unless the birthrate shoots up and immigration rises substantially, there is no way out.
Yet many surveys show that the fall in fertility rates in Europe is not inevitable - women still want to have children - but it is the result of public policies that do too little to help matters. France is admittedly an exception as regards fertility rates, but this does not mean that the country is unaffected by these problems. It is against this background that the French prime minister asked the Conseil d'Analyses Économiques to examine the economic issues arising from the policy on families and its relationship with other social policies.
A working group was set up officially on 1 July 2004 by Christian de Boissieu, the head of the CAE, with Évelyne Sullerot and Michel Godet as co-ordinators. This article provides some extracts from the report, which encourages the public authorities to help combat poverty in families with children and achieve a better balance between the demands of work and family.
In reviewing Cerveau, sexe et pouvoir (Brain, Sex and Power. Paris: Belin, 2005), Julie Bouchard re-examines the misguided notion that human behaviour is basically the result of genetic factors, an idea that has kept popping up since the 19th century. She shares the view put forward by the book's authors that there is no universal law dictating the way individuals behave, for the purely scientific reason that the human brain is so supple and so variable that it is impossible to establish immutable rules. Experience - and therefore culture - is far more important than nature in shaping different types of behaviour, in particular the differences between men and women.
Julie Bouchard goes on to warn against certain misguided attempts at the present time, especially in the field of neurobiology, to "improve" the human race thanks to technological progress. It will require strong convictions, such as those held by the authors of this book, to prevent such notions from spreading.
Qu’est devenu le Japon qui, après les années 1980 où il fut érigé en modèle, a sombré depuis 15 ans dans une crise financière, économique, politique, culturelle dont nul, jusqu’à présent, n’avait dressé un bilan vraiment exhaustif ? Sans renier son modèle particulier de développement, le Japon a accompli une véritable mutation aux plans industriel et économique, social et culturel, telle que, ayant surmonté les chocs pétroliers, remédié aux errements de son administration publique, procédé à un véritable ...
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New statistics on the French population have just been published following the latest census. They estimate the population at 1 January 2004 to be 62 million, a clear rise compared with previous years. This is due, in large part, to natural increase, i.e. a net surplus of births (the fertility rate - on average 1.9 children per female - is well above the European average) over deaths, which have in turn fallen sharply.
However, another factor in this increase in the French population is the growth of immigration which, having been declared to be falling in earlier years, was suddenly reassessed in a somewhat surprising fashion.
Alain Parant, reviewing the latest available data, explains how this famous net immigration figure is "calculated" and criticizes the obvious inconsistencies between the various sets of available data, as they can vary by as much as 100% over the period 1990-2003.
Although he does not challenge the fundamentals of the French data collection service, nor indeed the new census methods, he does stress the scale of the gaps in the system for investigating demographic change. He illustrates his argument with four examples: the uncertainty surrounding the increases in healthy life expectancy; the lack of figures on voluntary abortions; the highly regrettable decision to abandon the survey of geographical mobility and social integration (MGIS), even though it was extremely useful in analysing what happened to immigrants and their children who were born in France; lastly, the lack of any satisfactory means of measuring migration flows within the country.
Are these lacunae the result of financial restrictions imposed on the statistical services or are there other, less admissible reasons? The author is concerned, rightly stressing the value of reliable population data and the unfortunate consequences of not knowing what is really going on.
A specialist in land-use planning, Jean-Paul Lacaze examines the figures from the 2004 French population census - carried out in a new way - which were published at the beginning of 2005. He recalls Alfred Sauvy's warnings about the optical illusions that can arise from looking at annual variations rather than absolute numbers, and points out that the regions which are classed as the most attractive in population terms differ depending on the method used to rank them.
When the absolute numbers are considered, the area of France that attracts the largest inflow of population is the Île-de-France (the Paris region), closely followed by Rhône-Alpes, and then much further behind are Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon. But if the ranking is based on the annual rate of change between 1999 and 2003, the order is Languedoc-Roussillon followed by Midi-Pyrénées, Aquitaine and Rhône-Alpes.
As always, how you interpret statistics, when they are available, depends on the spectacles you wear when you look at them.
La société de conseil Forecasting International suit depuis longtemps les grandes tendances du monde contemporain. Son président, Martin Cetron, et Owen Davies, journaliste scientifique, résument dans cet article les changements à l'oeuvre dans les domaines économique, social, démographique et environnemental, en les illustrant de faits qu'ils jugent significatifs, et en en dégageant les implications pour les décideurs. Ainsi, après avoir rappelé les projections de population mondiale du Census Bureau, ils avancent l'idée que celles-ci sous-estiment peut-être la ...
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Ulrich Beck, the well-known German sociologist and expert on risk, wrote a review in the last issue for 2004 of the journal Foreign Policy of a book that has been highly controversial in Germany. Das Methusalem-Komplott (Munich: Karl Blessing Verlag, 2004, 200 pp.), by Frank Schirrmacher, is one of the many books published in Germany calling for a major reform of the country and warning its citizens of its imminent decline.
Like France, which was given similar warnings of decline in 2004, the threat for Germany comes from an ageing population and its economic and social consequences. The problem is that, if Germany sneezes, the whole of Europe could catch cold and remain sick for a long time. In fact, the question of Germany's possible decline - which Ulrich Beck analyses very clearly here - is a concern not just for the Germans and cannot be sorted out at the national level alone, as Frank Schirrmacher argues. As Ulrich Beck says, the country's salvation and that of the whole European Union lies in opening up to cultural diversity and not in fostering fear and intergenerational or intercultural conflicts.
Futures studies should not be content merely with conducting high-level "macro" analyses but should also be concerned with revealing trends that affect people as individuals. It is therefore extremely important to be able to develop foresight techniques related to everyday life, so as to highlight via particular facts or ideas the changes taking place in the way we live and what they reveal. This article by Julien Damon is a perfect example of such an effort to apply foresight to daily life. It looks at an apparently banal topic - smacking - and shows how modern attitudes to smacking reflect a real shift in approaches to bringing up children and in respect for their rights and freedoms.
The author begins with a brief survey of laws against corporal punishment of children in different countries. He outlines the debates on this issue that stirred up public opinion in Canada and the United Kingdom, and then discusses the French situation.
He goes on to present the arguments used by those in favour of anti-smacking legislation, especially in the United States and France. He notes the growth of a major lobby in France to alert parliamentarians to the problem of corporal punishment within the family.
Finally, Damon argues that this mobilization of opinion reflects major changes in society and in the family: although corporal punishment has clearly been on the decline for several decades, there is now a move to prohibit it by law. Beyond the debate about authority versus liberty, it is also a matter of whether people want a society based on trust or on legal norms.
Les Nations unies viennent de publier des projections de la population mondiale jusqu'en 2300. Celle-ci continuerait de croître pendant cinquante ans avant de se stabiliser... ou bien d'exploser ou d'imploser, selon que la fécondité se maintient au-dessus du niveau de remplacement des générations ou, à l'inverse, reste durablement en dessous. Mais quel sens peut-on accorder à des projections aussi lointaines ? François Héran explique que cet exercice de démographie-fiction reste utile s'il montre à quelles conditions ...
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At the end of November 2004 a report was published in France, produced by Claude Bébéar at the request of the prime minister, on discrimination by firms. In particular, the report showed evidence of undoubted discrimination against foreigners or people of foreign descent with regard to hiring, and it called for a radical change in attitudes.
Michèle Tribalat is a researcher at INED ("Institut national d'études démographiques") and the author of one of the most recent studies to investigate ethnic criteria that provides statistical evidence on the true extent of discrimination in France (1992). She discusses the present position with regard to combating discrimination in this country (against minorities, women, the handicapped, etc.), and shows in particular how much France relies heavily on a "hyperjuridical" and global approach to the problem, being generally content to pass legislation and apply (without great zeal) EU directives. She stresses the lack of any real political will to measure how much discrimination there is: no satisfactory statistical tools exist, not even in employment, which is an area where using existing surveys would, without involving major difficulties, yield studies based on actual figures.
By contrast, the United States - which has been very active in combating discrimination since the 1960s - has been highly pragmatic and this has allowed the Americans to measure what has in fact been happening. Michèle Tribalat presents here, as an example, the way they gather data relating to the employment of women and minorities in American firms, and shows how this could be transposed to France. However, apart from the periodic bursts of interest in this issue, do the French really want to have such statistical information? Are we ready to abandon the current global approach and tackle the problem at a more refined level (employment, housing, etc.)?
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.