Société, modes de vie
Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Although this article, which was written long before the recent French elections, sets out to examine long-term trends, it is also extremely illuminating about the present political situation.
While there are clear differences among countries (in particular between the Protestant nations of Northern Europe and the Catholic South) it highlights the general decline in interest in politics and in turnout at elections, especially among young people. By contrast, it stresses the rise of new forms of political activity based on protest.
Pierre Bréchon ponders how much trust Europeans place in their institutions, and shows - although, again, there are obvious differences between countries - that some institutions are well regarded, depending on their purpose, for example the systems providing education, social security and healthcare.
By contrast, stressing the gulf between political leaders and the electorate, Bréchon points out how far the democratic institutions such as parliaments are criticized for being unrepresentative.
He then goes on to look at political affiliations, in particular the Left-Right divide; he shows that although this is now much less marked, it still has a certain sense, as can be seen from the importance attached to a range of values emblematic of the two sides.
After focussing on xenophobia, the changes in attitudes to immigrants and the immigration policies adopted by the various countries, Pierre Bréchon looks more closely at democracy itself. He argues that although it is well established in Western Europe, this does not mean that it is above criticism, sometimes energetic.
Overall, the author stresses that the trends observed over the last 20 years remain steady, including the continuing diversity among countries which appears not to have diminished in spite of the growth of the European Union.
Trust in other people, which underpins all social life, both public and private, is evolving in different ways in different European countries. These trends, assessed via the European Values Surveys between 1981 and 1999, have been studied by Olivier Galland, who presents his findings here.
He starts by identifying several factors that affect the level of trust: tolerance, permissiveness, altruism, social selectiveness and confidence in institutions. It appears from the initial research that the countries of Eastern Europe are the most selective, while the countries of Northern Europe are the most permissive and trusting. Although the sense of belonging to a community is similar from country to country, trust, selectiveness and permissiveness vary greatly. Two countries stand out: Ireland for its high moral standards and high level of social integration; and France, which is permissive with an exceptionally low level of trust.
Another observation is confirmed by the surveys: the relationship between the level of trust in a given country and the degree to which its inhabitants are active in voluntary organizations, although the correlation between trust and sociableness is not automatic. In France, for example, there is a low level of trust and little participation in voluntary organizations, but a lot of socializing with friends.
Then, having measured and ranked the amount of tolerance, altruism and social integration, Olivier Galland offers the following typology of Europeans: at the top of the social ranking are the "modern integrated" Northern Europeans, who are Protestant and with a strong civic sense; the "hyperpermissive" group, also in Northern Europe but in Austria and Spain as well, aged between 30 and 49, politically on the Left, postmaterialist and with no religious beliefs; the strong individualists, who are found in the Roman Catholic and Mediterranean lands, disproportionately in France, with their traditional values; the "integrated traditionalists" of Central and Southern Europe, who are elderly, from a rural background, deeply involved in family life, with strong religious beliefs and politically on the Right; lastly, the "poorly integrated traditionalists", without strong political or religious views, such as many Italian entrepreneurs.
The author concludes that trust and permissiveness go together. Nevertheless he stresses that this openness is selective and may be combined, especially among young people, with a decline in social integration. The collapse of a religious underpinning for moral standards leaves people freer to choose their moral values, but also their allegiances and the company they keep.
This article analyses the economic values held by Europeans, based on a series of questions asked by the European Values Survey which make it possible to divide the respondents fairly easily into those in favour of market forces versus those concerned with social justice.
Jean-François Tchernia starts by noting that there is almost total consensus in favour of the market economy in Europe, while at the same time there is wide support for the idea that it is important to guarantee that everyone's basic needs are met (social justice aspect).
As well as the differences between, for example, the members of the European Union (more liberal) and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Tchernia stresses that there remains within each country a sharp divide -which is almost impossible to reconcile- between supporters of a free-market approach to the economy and the supporters of economic redistribution.
Overall, it appears that the decisive factor, both at national and individual level, is the economic situation at the time of the survey. In crude terms, the most economically dynamic countries are those where attitudes are most strongly in favour of the free market; and the individuals who are least fortunate in terms of income or career prospects are generally the most inclined to support redistribution. Other explanatory factors are age, gender, political affiliation and level of education.
An examination of the way values in several major fields have changed should not give the impression that European values are diverging, argue Pierre Bréchon, Olivier Galland and Jean-François Tchernia. Two main trends emerge from the surveys of values discussed here:
-The rise of "postmaterialism": once material needs are met and there is a sense of security, people start to challenge traditional moral positions and instead emphasize aspirations such as self-expression or community participation. This trend was very marked in France during the three decades of post-war prosperity (the "Trente Glorieuses") and has continued despite slower economic growth. These aspirations appear to complement rather than contradict each other: people today aspire to satisfy both their material needs and their postmaterialist concerns.
-The desire by individuals to decide for themselves what is good and bad, rather than allowing their opinions and behaviour to be determined by some higher authority, often a religious one. This trend has been growing for a long time, but it is quite distinct from selfish individualism that rejects any social norms or sense of belonging to a community. Admittedly individualism still exists, the authors stress, although in varying degrees depending on whether a country is traditionally Catholic or Protestant, but it is linked to a more or less strong sense of community, which inevitably means acceptance of certain rules of social behaviour, even a recognition of a superior "public good".
Nevertheless, the authors find that there are major differences among European countries that turn out to be closely linked to whether they are traditionally Catholic or Protestant. This is also true of trends in Eastern Europe.
In conclusion they argue that there is a pattern of change peculiar to each country, if not region, although some countries are more homogeneous than others. Having examined the case of several typical countries, the authors conclude that some differences persist, with their roots in the past, although this does not prevent values from changing, albeit slowly, and reforming.
Why do we tend to think like this, act like that, or choose one thing rather than another? It would obviously be naive to suppose there was a single reason for our behaviour, but on the other hand it would be ridiculous not to recognize that our values are an extremely important factor.
But how can we define these values that influence us and ultimately shape the fundamental and often secret motives for our actions? This is clearly the first question raised by Pierre Bréchon and Jean-François Tchernia in their introduction to this special issue in which they explain what is involved in the surveys of European values that provide the substance of the subsequent articles.
Once it is recognized that these values are a driving force, obviously, it is interesting to examine how they have evolved and to do so using the results of surveys conducted regularly for almost two decades. Obviously, too, it is interesting to see how far these values are shared and whether the trends are converging or diverging, especially within Europe where, in addition to its common cultural background, efforts are being made both to deepen and extend the links.
In this introduction, the authors set out what they understand by the concept of "value", and how they aim to capture Europe's values on the basis of the series of surveys. They describe the main features of the surveys and their coverage, and highlight the usefulness of these investigations which are now carried out in 30 countries and repeated with the same questions at regular intervals, thus providing invaluable information that can lead to a better understanding of how our societies function.
During the second half of the 20th century, Étienne Schweisguth reminds us, all the social norms limiting individual freedom were challenged to some extent. In fact the surveys of values across Europe (European Values Survey, "EVS") carried out in the early 1990s showed a general movement away from so-called traditional values in all areas (morals, lifestyles, family values, etc.).
The results of the "EVS 1999" survey partly confirm this trend, especially with regard to morals. For instance, objections to homosexuality, euthanasia, divorce or abortion have continued to decline in Europe.
Nevertheless, the picture revealed by the survey seems less clearcut than at the beginning of the decade, and other trends are appearing alongside a continuing shift towards greater freedom. Examples include the greater importance given to marital fidelity and good citizenship, or to a lesser extent and in certain countries, such as France and Denmark, the wish for greater respect for public order and for those in authority. In these matters, generational change has not brought greater liberalism but rather a return to more traditional values.
In fact, according to Étienne Schweisguth, in order to avoid drawing hasty conclusions about social norms it is becoming necessary to study changes in values area by area. In his view, liberal attitudes are increasing as regards individual freedoms (personal lifestyle decisions) provided that this does not undermine the proper functioning of society (i.e. does not reduce the freedom of other people).
Taking this as his starting-point, Schweisguth suggests three (not mutually exclusive) scenarios for the way civic values in Europe may evolve: in the first, standards of civic behaviour would continue to decline despite the desire for the exact opposite; in the second, Europeans would be two-faced, condemning transgressions by other people while relaxing standards for themselves; in the third, the new emphasis on good citizenship would become stronger in the long run.
While the "social chapter" of the European Union is still evolving, the European research programme on values has carried out a series of surveys of attitudes to work in EU member countries and in five countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Hélène Riffault and Jean-François Tchernia present the results of their comparative analyses using three criteria for their evaluations of the period 1981-1999.
First of all, as regards attitudes to what work means for them, the opinions of those who work and those who do not are similar, though there are differences as to whether "work is a social obligation" and "work should always come first"; in Eastern Europe, people maintain a more traditional work ethic, whereas in the EU people would like the duty aspect to be tempered by job satisfaction. The study also looks at the extent of job satisfaction, individual free-will and respect for authority.
The authors then examine people's feelings about the place of work in their lives. In the advanced countries, work has to compete with other aspects of life, such as leisure activities, and people express the desire to achieve a better balance between work and leisure.
Lastly, the authors discuss two factors involved in what is expected of one's work: the concrete advantages and the possibilities for personal development. The latter is becoming much more important. As to the concrete advantages, the trends vary depending on the country and the social category and age group.
They conclude that a definite change is taking place in Europe. When the economic and social situation is favourable, Europeans see their work primarily as a means of developing their personal potential; material considerations are secondary provided that the benefits are attractive and tangible.
The results relating to religion of the European Values Survey in 1981 and 1990 highlighted the special case of Europe, where religious belief has been declining steadily. New surveys were carried out in 1999, supplemented by studies by the ISSP (International Social Survey Programme) in 1998, which make it possible to analyse and assess the pattern of religious belief in Europe. Yves Lambert shares some results here.
He starts by presenting a map of religious views in 11 European countries - Catholic, Protestant and mixed, with a description of the status of each group. Depending on the context and the period, modernity has led to decline, change and revival of belief.
In the following section, he outlines the different types of believers and non-believers: Christians who go to church regularly, occasionally or not at all, agnostics and convinced atheists. The relationship with Christianity is varied, highly individual and "pick and mix"; religion tends to be perceived in terms of relativism and probability.
Yves Lambert then analyses the relationship between religious views and moral values. It seems that the average regular church-goer considers faithfulness, order and authority to be more important, whereas the average convinced atheist is more permissive and politically aware but less nationalistic; yet, the differences tend to decrease.
In the final section, Lambert identifies three main trends based on an analysis of 25 variables: a continuing move away from religion; a revival of Christian commitment with an increase in almost all types of religious observance; the growth of "alternative" beliefs among agnostics, in the form of individualized, unfocussed ideas not related to Christianity.
The author concludes that, since the 1990s, religion - no longer in competition with its fiercest rivals, Marxism and rationalism - can now acquire a new credibility. In the context of today's general disenchantment, in which everything is reassessed, religion may develop in ever more varied and unpredictable ways. What is novel is that the situation is completely open.
Over the last 25 years we have seen the start of a trend in Europe towards a decline in the "nuclear" family and an increase in single-parent or step families. What has been happening to family values during this period?
This is the topic examined by Nicolas Herpin, based on the results of the European Values Survey in 11 western European countries in 1981, 1990 and 1999.
Thanks to the surveys he has been able to draw up a list of the factors that Europeans reckon to be the key to stable partnership. Top of the list is good interpersonal communication, followed by doing things together, material considerations and, at the bottom of the list, opinions about same-sex partnerships. This pattern, which could be labelled "postmaterialist", varies little with age, gender or socio-economic category, and reflects a general consensus within the countries concerned, with the exception of Denmark. As to what shapes public opinion, religion appears still to have a strong influence on private life and family cohesion.
Nicolas Herpin then looks at the values particularly emphasized in bringing up children. Of the 11 qualities that parents should encourage in their children, the most widely approved were tolerance and respect for others, followed by a sense of one's responsibilities and good manners. Herpin stresses the rise of individualism, linked to young people's greater economic independence. These rankings differ more from country to country than the previous group. Similarly, clear differences between countries can be seen with regard to the social structure of public opinion.
The author concludes that countries are "differently similar" with regard to these two aspects of family life. Conjugal values have not changed over the last 20 years and differ little among European countries, all the less where the Roman Catholic church is dominant, whereas the values that should be passed on to children appear neither as stable over time nor as uniform geographically. Countries fall into groups according to the nature of their domestic labour market and the position of young people in it.
Le risque industriel est un sujet de grande actualité, largement étudié et tabou. Pour en traiter, Hugues de Jouvenel a reçu à Futuribles le 13 juin dernier Philippe Essig, chargé par Lionel Jospin d'orchestrer un débat démocratique national mettant en évidence l'ampleur et la nature des risques auxquels nous sommes confrontés et les mesures à adopter pour mieux les prévenir et les maîtriser. Avant de rendre compte des principaux enseignements qu'il a tirés de cette expérience, Philippe ...
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According to Michel Drancourt, the American capitalist system is undergoing a crisis of confidence, above all as a result of the Enron affair, unlike anything else in its history apart from the events leading to the anti-trust laws. He argues that "The legal steps, whether compulsory or voluntary, that are or will be taken in order to deal with the crisis will restore the ethical foundation of capitalism without which it cannot claim to be, like democracy, 'the worst system in the world, apart from all the others'".
Drancourt goes on to criticize Andersen along with all the other accounting firms that fiddle the books, especially under the influence of the financial markets, and do so all the more gaily because they are too often both advisers and auditors.
Finally, in addition to the erratic and dangerous nature of financial markets, Drancourt criticizes the stranglehold that they have over the management and top executives, whose incomes are not only excessive but also make them both employees and shareholders of their firms. The executives are therefore caught in a dilemma that encourages them to pursue financial returns at the expense of sustainable development strategies...
Again with regard to Enron, Assaad Saab, who has an intimate knowledge of the energy sector and the problems of privatisation, sets out some observations as to the unusually complex nature of the firm, its diversification into too many sectors and geographical areas, the inadequacies of its top management and an unhealthy strategy of alliances.
The author then highlights certain lessons of the affair for the long term, in particular for the future of deregulating and restructuring the markets for electricity, stressing that ultimately this approach merely serves the cause of unbridled free-marketeering that inspired it. Lastly, Assaad Saab raises the question of what happens to Enron's business now: how should it be organized and within what framework?
Is France condemned to go the same way as the Ottoman Empire by being slow to use the Internet just as the Ottomans in their day opposed the spread of printing? This is basically the question put in this piece for the "Futures of yesteryear" section by our colleague André-Yves Portnoff.
Far from claiming to provide an exhaustive study of the causes of the Ottoman Empire's decline and from arguing that they were all cultural, the author stresses the role played by the rejection of printing -and therefore the spread of ideas- in the collapse of an empire that had been more advanced than Christian Europe.
This account is exemplary in simply demonstrating how a nation or a firm, at the height of its success, can suffer as a result of failing to be sufficiently aware of a major innovation. Moreover, he stresses the critical role of education, communication and, more generally, advances in knowledge and ideas in the development process.
En 2000, les ménages ont consacré 14 % de leurs dépenses à l'automobile, contre seulement 8 % en 1960. Pouvoir d'achat et législation influent particulièrement sur ce type de dépenses. L'entretien et la réparation pèsent davantage que le carburant et l'achat de véhicules neufs dans le budget automobile. Chaque année, les ménages achètent trois fois plus de voitures d'occasion que de voitures neuves. Aujourd'hui, la moitié des automobiles neuves roule au diesel, carburant quasi inexistant en ...
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Chauffage, cuisson, éclairage : l'électricité est devenue l'énergie dominante dans les foyers. Elle a pris le pas sur le fioul à partir du premier choc pétrolier. Le chauffage électrique s'est en particulier fortement développé ces dernières années, par ses qualités de simplicité et de souplesse, malgré des coûts de fonctionnement élevés. Le gaz a sensiblement renforcé son implantation au détriment du fioul. Bien que peu utilisé, le bois garde cependant un certain attrait auprès des ménages. Quant au ...
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De 20 % au début des années 1960, la part de l'alimentation descend, en 2001, à 14 % des dépenses de consommation des ménages, en volume. En 40 ans, les Français ont modifié leurs comportements alimentaires : leurs modes de vie ont évolué et ils accordent une attention croissante aux questions de santé. Ils délaissent de plus en plus les produits traditionnels à forte valeur nutritive, tout comme les sucres et graisses bruts. La consommation par habitant de viandes rouges est en ...
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Henri Mendras, au siège de l'association Futuribles International, a pour l'essentiel présenté les grands traits de son dernier essai, La France que je vois. Fruit du travail de 20 années à l'Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques (OFCE), en particulier avec l'équipe Louis Dirn, cet ouvrage revient sur l'ensemble des tendances décelées et donne à leur endroit le sentiment de l'auteur (sur un ton plus personnel que ne l'est la seule matrice Louis Dirn ...
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On the basis of surveys of self-confessed young law-breakers in France, Sebastian Roché confirms the view that there is a "hard core" of delinquents (which he prefers to label "overactive"): "Roughly 5% of young people are responsible for between 50% and 80% of the recorded crimes, depending on the level of seriousness of the offences. Roughly 5% of young people who break the law (whether or not they are caught by the police) commit between 30% and 60% of the total number of offences."
Roché sets out to sketch a portrait of these exceptionally delinquent young people. They tend to be male, both French and foreign, and they come from both middle-class and working-class backgrounds. They go round in gangs with friends and siblings; the level of offending increases between the ages of 13 and 17, but then declines again.
Next Roché seeks to explain their behavior, and examines what the delinquents gain from their activities and from the tyranny they wield in order to mark their territory, in the suburbs and elsewhere.
Then, having looked at the ways that young offenders can sort themselves out, the author states his own views about the policies most likely to reduce levels of delinquency. His conclusion is clear: what is needed instead of sermons is heavy sentencing to make good the damage done as soon as possible. For this, reforms will be required, especially with regard to local policing, but are unlikely to happen before the forthcoming presidential elections in France. What then?
Is the sense of injustice, whether or not justified, a factor leading to delinquent behavior?
Laurent Bègue observes that such feelings are often blamed, but he also shows that the link between these two things can be interpreted in different ways:
- according to one school of thought, the sense of injustice is no more than a selfish excuse that delinquents invoke, either before or after the fact, to give themselves good reasons for breaking the law;
- according to another, such feelings lead to a more or less reasoned revolt against authority and the institutions representing it;
- according to yet another school, this sense (always accompanied by the question of whether or not it is justified) is at the root of a range of feelings such as anger, envy, revenge and the like.
The author discusses and links these views without really choosing among them. In this respect, he emphasizes the need for further research, noting that any preventative measures to deal with delinquency undoubtedly need to take these different views into account.
Fear about rising crime is one of the key issues in the current campaign for the French presidency and a topic that generates passionate debate in the other major democracies. Why is this?
In France, according to Sebastian Roché, there is too often a tendency to accuse the general public of being irrational and of feeling more insecure than is in fact warranted, and this despite the fact that the level of crime has risen substantially over the last twenty years. Criticisms of such feelings often serve simply to disguise the reality.
After giving various international comparative data on delinquency, showing that France is roughly at the midpoint in the European league table, he laments the inadequacy of the statistics on delinquency and stresses the relevance of studies carried by a team at the University of Grenoble which conducted the first large-scale survey of self-confessed law-breaking (presented elsewhere in this issue of Futuribles). He stresses the importance of getting those who commit these crimes to talk, to seek a better understanding of these phenomena, in order then to ensure that public policies in this area match their goals.
The question discussed here is clear: is the consumption of drugs (basically cannabis and drugs made from it) and/or alcohol a key causal factor in criminal behavior?
After outlining the results of major research in the field, Gilles Ivaldi confirms that the surveys show that there is an undoubted link between the use of consciousness-altering drugs and criminal activity. But, taking the study a step further, he adds an important rider: the relationship between the use of psychedelic substances and delinquency is far from straightforward. For one thing, it is hard to distinguish cause and effect; for another, they are linked by a system of underlying covariables that are sociological, psychological and demographic. Consequently the use of drugs is part of a range of peer group activities, integral to the lifestyle of young people, related to how often they go out and the level of parental supervision.
Consumption of cannabis certainly appears to be a contributory factor, much more so than alcohol, but Ivaldi acknowledges that the two are often used together, though the trends are moving in opposite directions. He reckons that all these phenomena are associated above all with the socialization of young people and membership of antisocial peer groups with a deviant lifestyle.
In this article, Lorraine Tournyol du Clos provides a brilliant survey of the main theories that have been put forward up till now to explain the causes and the mechanisms behind delinquency. She distinguishes between the "classic" theories (which in her view focus on a single type of delinquency and offer a single explanatory factor) and the more recent ones which, combining the findings of earlier theories and taking account of the interaction among the different factors, try to arrive at a better understanding of the phenomena of delinquency.
Among the "classic" theories she distinguishes:
- the biological theories, which consider that delinquent behavior can be explained by the physical and psychological characteristics of the guilty person, and the sociological theories, which focus more on the person's background and on factors like poverty and social inequality or social norms and a failed socialization;
- the economic theories of criminal behavior, which differ from the previous group in that they assume that the person acted freely and was responsible for their actions; their choices can be analyzed in terms of various criteria, which she outlines.
Among the "integrated" theories of criminal behavior, she identifies the sociological ones as against those derived from classical economics, and gives a thumbnail sketch of their main features.
The author concludes with an overview of the causes and interpretations of criminal behavior, distinguishing between immediate and deeper causes, and ending with a general synthesis of all these studies.
Everyone knows what rapid progress is being made in genetics, about the hopes and fears that these advances create, and the unprecedented philosophical and ethical issues they raise. Given the weightiness of the issues related to these developments, a committee on bioethics has been set up within the Futuribles group in order to discuss these problems freely.
With a view to the forthcoming debate in the French parliament on possible changes to the 1994 law on bioethics and given the serious problems raised by the new project, some members of the bioethics committee drew up a manifesto which was published originally in the daily newspaper Le Monde on 18 January 2002, before the debate could be suspended and the issue put off indefinitely, probably until after the French elections are over.
We publish the manifesto here, which argues that human cloning must not become routine and the democratic debate about the issue must not be taken over by agencies whose independence is suspect.
Is the shift from the traditional model of the family, based on respect for acknowledged status and norms of behavior, to a more open, "contractual" model in which individuals act according to their feelings on the basis of rules that are both negotiable and revocable -in short, families that are more precarious- one reason for the instability of children who have no points of reference and are therefore more likely to become delinquents?
No, is basically the answer given by Vincent Tournier: the relationship between parents and children is much more important than the make-up of the family -what matters is how close they are emotionally and the degree of parental supervision. Moreover, the latter is not correlated with social class (though an urban, rather than rural setting, is indeed a significant factor) but much more with the level of education and -even more- with parental values.
Can one then blame the growth in delinquency on permissive parents who were themselves young in the 1960s? Perhaps, Tournier acknowledges, but the situation is changing. Contrary to an unfortunate tradition in France, we need urgently to recognize the critical role of parents in bringing up their children, and it is possible to hope that, as parents become better educated, they will also act more responsibly in this regard.
There is a steadily growing sense of insecurity in France. Consequently the problems of rising crime rates, especially offences committed by young people, are often headline news and are a key issue in political debates, especially in the run-up to major elections.
But what is the 'true' position with regard to the number of delinquents and recorded crimes? Lorraine Tournyol du Clos describes the sources of information available, their good and bad points, and lastly the great difficulties we face in trying to answer these questions properly.
The figures vary widely, depending on whether the source is self-confessed law-breaking, surveys of victims of crime, police statistics or data on court verdicts, since each measures something different. Lastly, the author stresses, we do not really know how many delinquents there are, the numbers and nature of the crimes committed, and even less how the trends change over the long term.
It seems likely that crime is on the increase. But we should treat with caution the numbers being bandied about, their treatment in the media and the use made of them for political ends.
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.