Le prochain contrat social

PARIS – Aujourd'hui, partout dans le monde, le chômage persistant, les compétences inadaptées au marché de l'emploi et les régimes de retraite sont devenus des enjeux essentiels pour la politique budgétaire et dans les débats politiques souvent féroces qui s'ensuivent. Les pays développés font face actuellement à un problème de « vieillissement », mais la plupart des économies émergentes sont également au cœur d'une transition démographique qui se traduira par une structure d'âge semblable à celle des économies avancées, à savoir une pyramide inversée, d'ici seulement deux ou trois décennies. La Chine va sans doute parvenir à cette étape beaucoup plus tôt.

Plusieurs problèmes ont une influence sur l'emploi. Une faible demande au lendemain de la crise financière mondiale de 2008 reste un facteur déterminant en Europe, aux Etats-Unis et au Japon. Mais les problèmes structurels à long terme pèsent aussi sur les marchés du travail.

Fait plus important encore, la mondialisation entraîne un décalage continu de l'avantage comparatif, qui entraîne de sérieux problèmes d'adaptation : car les emplois créés dans les nouvelles activités ne compensent pas nécessairement la perte d'emplois dans les anciennes. Dans tous les cas, la plupart des nouveaux emplois exigent des compétences différentes, ce qui implique que les travailleurs qui perdent leur emploi dans des secteurs en perte de vitesse ont peu d'espoir d'en retrouver un autre.

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