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1. The transformation of capitalism

The global economy is facing the end of a growth cycle which coincides with a lack of confidence in the promises of new technology, as well as in the accounting practices of companies. These events, though varied or temporary, nevertheless reflect the relevance of a discussion on the revitalization of political action with regards to capitalism. However, in reflecting on this subject, one must first examine the fundamental transformations in the functioning of capitalism in its various aspects. They include the managerial holdings revolution, the development of finance within the economy, the splitting-up of salaried employees, the different levels of involvement in the work place, the personalization of professional relationships, the importance of knowledge as well as serviceability in accomplishing tasks ; transformations that directly question the ability to rebuild solidarity and a group identity. It is in fact the beginning of a new method of organizing work and sharing information and assets that needs to be understood.

2. European democracy and its frontiers

Confronted with a feeling of democratic deficit, the European Union will be facing an enlargement to the east in the years to come, while previously having embarked on the reform of its functioning and its political status (convention). But beyond Europe, the European Union has to affirm its identity before various countries, starting with the U.S. The transatlantic relationship is put to the test when it comes to the divergence between the U.S. and Europe about the definition of modern democracy (in regards to the law, the relationship between security and liberty, civilian society, the relationship between the public and private sectors, the conception of sovereignty and nation, international affairs, and universal definitions of democracy). But beyond the “end of the West” theory, Europe cannot ignore its other neighbors located in the geographical regions of Islam or in developing countries.

3. Geopolitics of globalization

Within international affairs, private parties, the strategy of surprise, the unbalanced conflicts, and the network organizations play a predominant role now. International politics has gone through an upheaval with the end of a system by which countries found a way to cooperate without undermining their prerogatives or their sovereignty. Too often reduced to the opening-up of trade borders or to an intensification of economic relations, globalization, far from being harmonious, also means increased flexibility of borders and the intensification of trade flows, as well as the emergence of new frontiers and of new security demands. Implacable to the will of a single party, the process of globalization requires that states renew their strategies and redefine their methods of action and cooperation.

4. After the society of individuals

The evolution of free-market societies is inseparable from the definition of the individual in a democracy. Contracting, sovereign, rational, virtually unconcerned by the political and social framework which makes its autonomy possible, contemporary democracy has built a theoretical paradox : a society of individuals. And yet, demiurgic or Promethean, this individual is also flagging, fallible, and elusive. Source of all concerns, inclined to represent himself as holder of rights, he also claims the right to secede, to not be part of society. How can we assess the “affectio societatis” of contemporary democratic man ? How can we qualitatively comprehend the evolution of social behavior and what the individual expects of the collective ? The new system of inequality, the lack of projection into a future essentially perceived as threatening, and the hazards of constructing identities and disparate ways of life, wholly belong in a discussion on the future of democracy.

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