Société, modes de vie
Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
The last two decades have seen repeated low-level offences that increase social tensions and damage the environment. Have such offences really increased? Is there a greater awareness on the part of victims? Is there something wrong with non-judicial forms of punishment?
In any event, although many cases are closed without any follow-up, Milburn argues that the need to deal with these offences has been reaffirmed. The state prosecutors, who are central to the actions of the courts and alive to "zero tolerance", have opted for the famous "third way": they have created peri-judicial sentences intended to "restore social bonds".
Milburn examines two common approaches:
- compulsory mediation, bringing the perpetrator of the crime face-to-face with his or her victim as a means of punishment;
- forcing young offenders to make good the damage they have done, a sentence intended to be "restorative" and educative, aiming to rebuild the link between the young person and the community.
According to Philip Milburn, whereas classic legal sentencing relies on sanctions, 'restorative justice' is based on the will of the accused and the social significance they attach to their acts. These innovations reflect, on the one hand, an approach seeking reparation in which the law is less important than involving citizens in formalizing self-regulation of community life and, on the other, a 'neo-retributive' approach that offers a legal response based on admonition and potential sanctions.
En exergue à son intervention au siège de Futuribles International, Jean-François Mayer a voulu insister sur le fait qu'il s'intéressait à tout ce qui regarde les interactions entre les facteurs politiques et religieux. Il ne prétend pas être originellement ni exclusivement spécialiste ddes fondamentalismes, même si, à l'occasion des évènements du 11 septembre 2001 et de l'afflux subséquent de demandes d'expertise et d'opinions, il s'est trouvé une fois de plus sollicité pour s ...
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Au sein de la Rand Corporation, principale organisation de recherche privée américaine sur les problèmes géopolitiques, stratégiques et de défense comptant 1 500 personnes, dont 800 chercheurs, Laurent Murawiec se consacre essentiellement à l'application de l'anthropologie à la stratégie.Venu présenter au sein de l'association Futuribles International son dernier ouvrage, le premier tome de L'Esprit des nations, il a insisté toutefois sur le fait que c'est indépendamment de la Rand Corporation qu'il l'a ...
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The concept of partnership is, like governance, fashionable at the moment. It seems to meet a need for a thorough overhaul of the methods (institutions and procedures) of public management, which in turn results from what some refer to as 'the crisis of the state'.
Especially in the area of social protection, which used to be dominated by 'paritarisme' (equal representation, especially of the 'social partners'), partnerships are increasingly being fostered between public authorities at various levels (the products in part of efforts to devolve power away from the central administration) and institutions representing civil society to a greater or lesser extent: trade unions, of course, but also a whole series of new players, in particular voluntary organizations, whose claims to be representative need to be kept under scrutiny.
Julien Damon describes how this process is developing in France, and questions its raison d'être, its benefits and drawbacks, including the risk that it will lead to the gradual dismantling of the responsibilities that properly belong to the state, a distortion and dilution of the concept of the public good, even institutional arrangements of questionable legitimacy. In doing this he touches on the problem of a style of governance that, in the guise of promoting greater closeness to the governed, might lead to institutional confusion, carrying with it threats to both democracy and the efficacy of the policies for which, in his view, the state should continue to be primarily responsible.
Depuis 1997, la croissance plus forte de l'économie française est aussi plus riche en emplois. Une telle évolution, synonyme d'une décélération des gains de productivité, pourrait être préoccupante si elle affectait la compétitivité. Cependant, dans le secteur manufacturier, particulièrement exposé à la concurrence internationale, les gains de productivité apparaissent réguliers depuis les années 1970 ; les comparaisons effectuées par rapport à l'Allemagne, au Royaume-Uni et à l'Espagne indiquent la particularité française à cet égard. La politique macroéconomique ...
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Cet article examine les relations entre prospective technologique et politique régionale, en vue d'améliorer la compétitivité et la capacité de croissance des pays. Selon l'auteur, le développement économique est fortement lié aux avancées technologiques, elles-mêmes tributaires de facteurs nationaux mais aussi régionaux. De fait, pour améliorer la compétitivité d'un pays, il faut élargir le champ de la prospective technologique, faire en sorte que celle-ci affine son analyse des différents facteurs qui influent sur une spécialisation régionale (par ...
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En quarante ans, la dépense de consommation par habitant a été multipliée par 2,7 en monnaie constante. L'environnement du consommateur a changé : l'extension de la grande distribution, l'évolution des modes de vie, l'apparition de nouveaux produits ont modifié les comportements de consommation. La perte de vitesse des dépenses traditionnelles a été pour partie compensée par le dynamisme des produits à haute technologie. Ils ont pris le relais des appareils électroménagers, désormais largement diffusés. Néanmoins, la ...
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Le sous-titre du livre annonce « Ce que la multiplication des concours locaux nous dit sur la société ». L'auteur est tout à fait sérieux, polytechnicien, diplômé de l'École des Mines, diplômé en sciences sociales. C'est un spécialiste des risques industriels et de management. N'en tirez pas la conclusion que son livre est aussi ennuyeux qu'un cours de comptabilité. Au contraire il est à base d'enquêtes inédites, de rappels historiques. Que recherchent 60 barbus venus 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.