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Imagining what life will be like in 20 years in the midst of a digital revolution is a perilous undertaking. The disorderly transformation of the world is proceeding at a very fast pace and the sense of disorientation described in the previous Editorial is growing every day in the wake of evermore astonishing announcements (are you familiar with the crypto currencies?) about this universe of “disruptive possibilities” emerging before our eyes.

The excitement of the special few spearheading this movement is rivalled only by the widespread fear of this future that is so close in terms of the time and so far in terms of becoming operational. How can we reinvent our society based in a manner that incorporates disruptions that will transform the way we work (will the robots take our jobs?), live (at an increasingly faster pace, going further) or even think (how will we exercise our intelligence in the future?).

One thing is certain. Technological innovation must be able to integrate social and societal innovations without which progress is impossible. This vast subject, drawing on the work of greatest philosophers over the centuries, and in particular those schools of thought focusing on the future of capitalism which, if it does not self-destruct as Marx predicted, must also reinvent itself.

Capitalism is today going through “the greatest transformation in its history” with the emergence of “capitalism for all”2 where everyone is given a means to produce and to create value. “Micro-capitalism” is not utopic. It is a reality made possible by this new collaborative economy where everyone is free to contribute their own resources.

This revolution described in an enthusiastic little red book written by the author François-Xavier Oliveau2, already raises questions about the role of current public policy. In response, we need to rethink our social contract which is profoundly ill-adapted to the emerging new world: our mechanisms for national solidarity, including first and foremost, our retirement system, will soon be unable to fulfil their mission. In response to these challenges, individuals will be faced with their own responsibilities…

It is time for a new model and new ways to organize how we live together as a society. Among the new ideas that have emerged, the principle of a guaranteed basic income for all is gaining ground. Imagine for a moment that everyone receives as soon as they are born an amount of money without requiring anything in exchange, an amount that would replace all other forms of government benefits or allocations. In this scenario everyone would be free to finance their own social protection, save for their children’s studies, launch an entrepreneurial project… And even finance their retirement, using a family retirement savings product, without government intervention in the form of tax measures… A fascinating idea!

However much the new world that is emerging is difficult to fathom, we must make the effort to explore the possibilities in the interest of the next generation. One thing is certain. Nothing will be achieved without rethinking their education which “must transmit skills which are different from those possessed by machines”1. For each of us to become a creator of performance over the long term, we must know how to use and master the tools available to us. Knowledge as an initial asset, which just like the guaranteed basic income, must be universal…

A noble objective that we can all support right now!

Didier Le Menestrel

Jack Ma, Chairman-CEO of Alibaba, Davos 2018
Microcapitalisme, vers un nouveau pacte social, François-Xavier Oliveau, PUF, coll. GénérationLibre. Preface of Gaspard Koenig
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