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2019, the end of an era?

2019, the end of an era?

In 2019, the Foundation supported a conference organized by the Cercle des économistes and the daily newspaper Le Monde, on the following theme: “2019, the end of an era?”. 


Will Europe lose its place in history? Can democracy avoid collapse? Should the role of the State be redefined? Le Monde and the Cercle des économistes discussed these issues during the conference on March 15, 2019. A morning of reflection and discussion with economists, intellectuals and key political figures to address the economic and societal challenges of a world losing its confidence and its bearings.  


Topics discussed

1.    Introduction: Is a crisis inevitable? 

Widespread uncertainty and the increasing complexity of the world are making it harder and harder to decipher the development process of our societies. In this kind of environment, can we avoid going off course and running into a crisis? What will that crisis look like? Will it be economic, social or political?  

Jérôme Fenoglio (Le Monde)
Jean-Hervé Lorenzi (Cercle des économistes)
Pierre Nora (Académie Française).

2.    Will Europe lose its place in history?

In the shadow of two giants, America and China, the European Union is holding elections on May 23 and 26. The danger of seeing populist and anti-European forces triumph has never been so great. What kind of role is there for a Europe faced with its own contradictions and fractured in a polarized world? Does the rising power of nationalism mark the definitive end of Europe’s hopes of global influence?

Lionel Fontagné (Cercle des économistes)
Denis Kessler (SCOR)
Aurélie Trouvé (ATTAC)
Erik Orsenna (Académie Française)

3.    Can democracy avoid collapse ?

Defiance towards institutions and political staff, the rise of populist and nationalist movements - people have never seemed less inclined to accept the democratic institutions in place. Is economic and political efficiency being challenged by populism? Representative democracy or direct democracy: the eternal debate? Can we invent new models? 

Yann Algan (Cercle des économistes)
Julia Cagé (Sciences Po)
Bernard Gainnier (PwC)
Marcel Gauchet (EHESS)

4.    Should the role of the State be redefined?

The creation of a single European market pitted the tax and social systems of the different member states against each other. In an increasingly competitive world, this is a time of budgetary discipline and rolling back of the State. However, France is still characterized by a high level of public spending and taxation. Should France become even more neo-liberal, despite the demands of the gilets jaunes? Will the country have to relinquish its social model? Does the problem actually lie with the European Union?

Emmanuelle Auriol (Cercle des économistes)
Jean-Pierre Raffarin (Ancien Premier Ministre, France)
Augustin de Romanet (Groupe ADP)

5.    Conclusion: How can we believe in tomorrow?

Global warming, commercial wars, massive increases in migration, rising inequality – how can we carry on believing in a better tomorrow? Can technology give us the tools to progress towards better things, or will it actually aggravate and increase the failings of our world?

Patrick Artus (Cercle des économistes)
Étienne Klein (CEA)
Sylvie Goulard (Banque de France)