Jacques Lesourne

Rethinking the 21st Century Through Its Crises Publication date : April 2, 2009

A recognised prospectivist, Jacques Lesourne was formerly a professor of economics and industrial statistics at France’s National Arts and Crafts Conservatory. He is a member of the French Academy of Technology and the author of, most notably, Démocratie, marché, gouvernance: quels avenirs?(2004), Vérités et mensonges sur le chômage (1995) and Le Modèle français: grandeur et décadence (1998).

Global warming, melting ice caps, the Middle East conflict, Chinese economic development, extreme poverty in Darfur, decreasing biodiversity: hardly a day goes by when these subjects are not in the news. Yet this glut of information — often fragmentary, truncated or biased — overwhelms rather than enlightens. But the difficulties we encounter in trying to understand our new century cannot be entirely blamed on the avalanche of information. According to Jacques Lesourne, these difficulties have three underlying causes: the fact that the characteristics of the present century are very different from those of the preceding one; anxiety, particularly in the West, resulting from new developments in the human adventure which have upset the very foundations of a centuries-old worldview; the difficulty we have in positioning ourselves because we are often prisoners of out-dated mindsets or because we are tempted to escape into utopias.
To help us rethink the twenty-first century, this book attempts to extract the essential phenomena and to shape the main challenges that await us. At the end of this tour of the major issues of our time, the author asks: What can we do to master the human adventure to the best of our ability?

Twenty-five years after the publication of Les Mille Sentiers de l’avenir, which first brought him to general notice, Jacques Lesourne proposes a wide-ranging view of the new century — and shows us how to consider the future.