Société, modes de vie
Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
The debate that has been going on for several years, particularly in France, on the wisdom of introducing and developing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has polarized opinion among the various stakeholders, producing great distrust within the public on the topic and often helping to cloud the issues within the field. This is one of the reasons why Futuribles decided to devote almost all of this March issue to GMOs, hoping thereby to cast light on the ins and outs of this question for its readers by providing very diverse points of view on – among other things – the economic, scientific, regulatory, sociological aspects of the question.
Before going into detail on this enormous range of questions, Cécile Désaunay offers a brief insight into what GMOs are, the state of research into them and the prospects they might open up in the medium-to-long term. After reminding us of the definition of GMOs and the upsurge of research in this area, she outlines the main existing applications and the lines of research that have found most favour with industry (in its aim, largely, of reducing both production costs and the use of pollutants), agriculture, the food sector and medicine. She emphasizes the risks inherent in this biotechnology so far as the environment and human or animal health are concerned, before stressing the obstacles the sector faces and the questions raised by the concentration of research among a handful of big companies. Working from this base and judging in accordance with their own priorities and values, any reader will be able, by referring to the very informative articles in this issue, to appraise the costs/benefits/risks of the large-scale use of GMOs.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are a source of great distrust so far as French citizens are concerned, are also at the heart of important controversies in the scientific world. This special issue which Futuribles is devoting to the GM question attests to this, through articles that are at times highly positive and favourable to the development of GMOs. These are counterbalanced here by Jacques Testart and Frédéric Prat calling for greater caution in the manipulation of living material.
Reminding us what GMOs are, and of the scientific hopes that many have vested in them, Testart and Prat show how the scientific controversies are far from being settled and how slow the promises of the GMO advocates have been in coming to fruition. They criticize the tendency to regard the genome as a Meccano set that can be manipulated without any impact on plant and animal life. In their view, matters are quite different. By manipulating genes, by promoting genetic mutations without controlling the risks of their spreading to other plants or even jumping barriers between (plant and animal) species, some scientists are playing “sorcerer’s apprentice” and hiding behind (pseudo-)scientific arguments that may well, in the longer term, not be at all progressive. It is essential, argue Testart and Prat, to show caution in this area – particularly as alternatives exist to take agricultural research forward – and to fall in with a democratic approach based on giving the public complete and transparent information.
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 issue of Futuribles devoted to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Pierre Feillet offers an analysis of the main advantages of GMOs when it comes to achieving a sustainable food supply for everyone on the planet. Without concealing a number of aspects that remain controversial, Feillet begins by reminding us of the historical process that made it possible, through multiple forms of innovation in agricultural practice and research, to reach the point where plants and animals can be genetically modified. He then outlines the extent, location and nature of GM crops throughout the world (10% of cultivated land), before detailing another highly controversial issue in this area: the presence, within the food chain, of products from animals fed on genetically modified crops. He also recalls the important role played by micro-GMOs in the food industry.
After this overview, Feillet gets down to detail on the contentious issue that is GMPs (genetically modified plants) through three key lines of questioning. Are GMPs dangerous to health? Are there environmental risks involved in growing them? Who profits by them? Lastly, he offers some perspectives for the future of GMOs, taking the view that biologists will continue to optimize and diversify the genetic inheritance of GMOs with the aim of improving the human food supply in the long term and convincing those who are still reluctant to use them (including the French) of their value.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been an object of major controversy. For a large section of French public opinion, they have become the focal point of opposition to the manipulation of living material and of the rejection of a certain agricultural model. Yet, from the research standpoint, GMOs can represent one effective means of gaining knowledge of animal or plant life and the study of its interactions with the environment. In this field, as with many technological innovations, the emergence of controversies between science and society highlights the importance of involving the greatest possible number of citizens in decisions and the need to improve the participatory processes by which they can contribute to them. The experiment in which Anne Moneyron, Olivier Lemaire and Jean E. Masson were involved, as part of the process of setting up a GM grapevine rootstock field trial, attests to the rich results that may emerge from the participative construction of a project of this kind.
In order to carry out this trial while remaining responsive to the reactions of society, the general management of INRA, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, set up a Local Monitoring Committee following the recommendations of an interactive technological assessment. This Monitoring Committee involved most of the stakeholders (actors from the world of vine growing and the agricultural trade unions, conservation and consumer organizations, teachers, state representatives in the fields of agricultural development and food safety, and independent vine growers) who, over eight years of work and in a context where the technology was rejected to the maximum degree because of what it symbolized, collectively designed their own format of science-society debate. The research/action programme that has ensued has enabled the initial project to be re-thought and more research to be produced, because it has been based on a more complex set of questions that accords a legitimate role to all the actors. Proof if it were needed that a science-society dialogue is possible, even on such a controversial subject as GMOs.
As a result of the dramatic social consequences they produce, periods of economic crisis are – as history shows – often springboards for the rise of various forms of extremism and of inward-looking movements. It is reassuring, then, to see governments in Europe currently striving to stand together and attempt to face up collectively to the economic setbacks affecting most European countries. Just a few decades ago, national conflicts and resentments were so rooted in people’s minds that, at that time, such cooperation would have been unimaginable. That it exists attests to the work done since World War II to calm those tensions and enable a common reading of recent European history to emerge.
Jean-François Drevet brings this out clearly in this column, so as to forewarn those in Europe – or at the gates of Europe – who might be tempted by a form of historical falsification. After reminding readers briefly of what such falsifications of history have led to in Europe and of the emergence of a more calmly conceived history, he turns to various clarifications he regards as necessary in this area. These relate particularly to two countries which are tempted by a rather skewed reading of their national histories: Hungary and Turkey. He concludes on the importance of every country “coming to terms” with its national history, so that it is not endlessly carrying a hostile baggage that is out of phase with a united Europe.
As part of the “Actors’ Words” series of articles launched by Futuribles in 2012, Marthe de La Taille-Rivero offers a stimulating account of a social-innovation venture launched in the mid-2000s by a highly motivated entrepreneur: the building of communal housing for people disabled as a result of head injury. She describes the career-path of Laurent de Cherisey, prime mover both in this particular project and in cocreating the association Simon de Cyrène (Simon of Cyrene) that carried it out, as well as the many formalities that had to be gone through to see it realized – including, in the end, a little “helping hand” from fate in the form of the success of the film Intouchables (Untouchables), which handed over part of its takings to the association. By giving back to these disabled people the opportunity of finding a social life within a town – in contact with other individuals, both disabled and able-bodied, who share housing with them – the association supports them towards potential reintegration, responds to their families’ concerns and, through its activity, promotes other similar initiatives elsewhere in France.
Les consommateurs français sont se plus en plus nombreux à surveiller leurs dépenses et à rechercher des réductions pour certains achats. Si la tendance n’est plus tout à fait nouvelle, elle se confirme notamment avec l’extension permanente du secteur du low cost : les offres se multiplient et se diversifient, et concurrencent désormais le milieu de gamme.
Après avoir atteint le peak oil, le pic de production de pétrole, les sociétés européennes ont-elles aussi dépassé le peak stuff, le pic de consommation ? Si le XXe siècle s’est caractérisé par une hausse continue de la consommation (énergies, ressources naturelles…) dans le monde, Chris Goodall, un chercheur écologiste britannique, constate qu’en Grande-Bretagne, depuis le début du XXIe siècle, la consommation de plusieurs matières premières et produits finis est en baisse . Ce pays aurait atteint son pic ...
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Et si les risques liés à la neutralité d’Internet n’étaient pas ceux que l’on croit ? Existe-t-il aujourd’hui un Internet universel, ou plutôt autant d’Internet qu’il y a d’internautes ? Les comportements des internautes, mais aussi des plus gros acteurs du Web, entraînent en effet une individualisation croissante du Net, qui pourrait se révéler dangereuse pour la circulation de l’information.
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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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.
Depuis les années 2000, les talk show dans lesquels s’illustrent de jeunes prêcheurs islamiques, partisans d’un islam modernisé, emportent l’adhésion de nombreux téléspectateurs musulmans à travers le monde. Le discours de ces télévangélistes rompt, sur le fond et sur la forme, avec la prédication traditionnelle, et l’influence des nouveaux prêcheurs pourrait s’accroître dans les pays du « printemps arabe », actuellement en phase de transition politique.
La tendance n’est plus tout à fait nouvelle, mais elle se confirme : selon plusieurs études, au niveau mondial, les inégalités se sont creusées depuis 10 ans dans la majorité des pays. La croissance des inégalités constituerait l’un des 10 principaux risques pour les 10 années qui viennent selon les dirigeants d’entreprises du Forum économique mondial. Or, plusieurs facteurs contribuent à entretenir ce phénomène.
Les Français consacrent de moins en moins de temps à travailler et de plus en plus à se détendre : c’est, en substance, ce qu’indique la dernière enquête « Emploi du temps » de l’INSEE (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques), qui confirme aussi la différenciation croissante des emplois du temps selon les catégories de population considérées.
Pour imaginer ce que pourrait être le monde dans 100 ans, la BBC a demandé aux internautes de se livrer à un exercice de prospective : certaines prédictions ont ensuite été sélectionnées et décortiquées par deux prospectivistes (Ian Pearson et Patrick Tucker) selon leur degré de probabilité. Ainsi, il serait hautement probable que, dans 100 ans, nous puissions nous brancher sur ordinateur pour faire fonctionner notre cerveau plus vite : selon Ian Pearson, à l’horizon 2075, les habitants des pays développés ...
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En 2011, les achats électroniques de biens et services par les particuliers sont estimés à 37 milliards d?euros : ils ont triplé en cinq ans. Dans ce rapport, la Délégation à la prospective du Sénat s?interroge donc sur la durabilité de l?e-commerce à un horizon de 10 ans. Apparu au début des années 1990, l?e-commerce atteint rapidement ses limites : il peine à s?émanciper des fondamentaux de la vente à distance (VAD). Dans les années 2000, les ...
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Ce rapport fait suite à un colloque qui s’est tenu à Manille sous les auspices de l’Organisation des nations unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture (FAO), du Fonds international de développement agricole (IFAD) et de la BAD. Du 7 au 9 juillet 2010, le colloque a rassemblé plus de 400 participants originaires de 30 pays dans un contexte encore marqué par la crise alimentaire de 2007-2008 suscitée par la forte hausse des prix. Cette volatilité des prix ...
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Cette étude a été menée par le pôle prospective de l’OCDE, en collaboration avec des experts extérieurs, afin d’actualiser un rapport publié sur le même sujet en 2008. Sept infrastructures stratégiques dans sept pays ont été étudiées : aux Pays-Bas (le port de Rotterdam et sa région), en Turquie (détroit du Bosphore), Finlande et Suède (infrastructures de la zone de Barents), France (ports du Havre et de Marseille), Danemark (grand Copenhague), Autriche et Suisse (hubs intérieurs), en Inde (grands ...
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Nous tournons la page d’une année 2011 particulièrement mouvementée : « printemps arabes », accident de la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima, crise de l’Union européenne, crise économique et financière, échec de la conférence de Durban sur le climat (qui augure mal du sommet « Rio + 20 »)… Qu’allons-nous en retenir et qu’allons-nous faire maintenant ?
When one practices, or is interested in, foresight studies, it is helpful to have a good understanding of the past and, more generally, a clear vision of the way societies have developed over a long period. It is not, however, easy to decipher the historical process and it may appear difficult to add anything whatever to what has already been written by Hegel, Marx and many others on universal history. That is, however, what a Russian orientalist, Igor Diakonoff, has attempted in a book which appeared in Russia in 1994 and was translated into English five years later as The Paths of History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).
Bernard Cazes has read this highly original work with great interest. Alongside an account of the atypical career of its Russian author, he presents Diakonoff’s re-reading of history here, driven as it is by the desire to establish whether certain non-material (in Marx’s sense) aspects, present in certain civilizations, were not found elsewhere. Diakonoff proposes a break-down of universal history into eight phases, the originality of this lying largely in the transition mechanism from one phase to another. This is based mainly on psycho-sociological (changes of values, for example) and technological factors (particularly in the field of armaments). Lastly, Cazes highlights the author’s comments on the finitude of our planet and his warning against the risks of extinction facing the human species in the relatively short term if nothing is done to check the course of history seen in its current, eighth, “post-capitalist” phase.
Ce rapport, le troisième de la série de la Banque mondiale sur les technologies de l’information et de la communication (TIC) pour le développement, est consacré au potentiel des téléphones portables pour le développement.On compte aujourd’hui six milliards d’abonnements au téléphone mobile (contre un milliard en 2000), dont cinq milliards dans les pays en développement. Mais attention, de plus en plus d’individus possèderaient deux abonnements ou plus, ce qui signifie, selon la Banque mondiale, que ...
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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?
La crise de l’euro n’est pas uniquement économique et politique : elle est aussi sociale. En effet, la confiance des Européens envers leur monnaie ne cesse de diminuer. Cette crise explique probablement l’essor et le succès des monnaies alternatives, principalement locales, qui voient le jour en Europe, et qui permettent aux consommateurs de mieux contrôler l’origine et la destination de leur argent.
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.