With one of the highest tax rates in OECD countries and one of the highest structural unemployment rates, with the need to strengthen the competitiveness of French companies, with a hundred years of talk on equal opportunities and one of the school systems that produces the most inequality, with the contradictions between the aspiration of the French to shorten working time in a lifetime , the desire to maintain and increase the purchasing power and rapid progress of emerging countries in terms of technological mastery, with the “third social round” that we are already promised in the face of the will of the next president to go towards the Scandinavian-style flex-security, Emmanuel Macron will have on his desk from his inauguration a heck of a pile of files with the urgent stamp in red ink.

Will he be able not to fall under these emergencies? Don’t give in to constant media and political pressure? To understand that in a French society undermined by distrust, especially between politicians and citizens, in a global society as objectively interdependent as it is tragically segmented, it is necessary to lead a systemic transition towards sustainable societies, to understand that most intellectual software is obsolete and that, under these conditions, only major intellectual and institutional changes will be at stake? The future alone will tell.

I would just like to make a small contribution to this, on politics, territory, Europe, the economy, finance.

Politics and democracy must be radically redefined. Politics, before being a confrontation of programs, a disparate catalogue that we were given ad nauseam during the election campaign, is an ethic and a method. We have an extraordinary opportunity in 2017: a president-elect but without a majority endorsement of the program he proposes! A great opportunity to engage in genuine processes of citizen dialogue, according to a rigorous and proven methodology, on each subject of reform, allowing, after electoral episodes that are more of a wrestling match than a deep collective reflection on the future of our societies, to reinvent democracy, the ability of citizens to inform themselves, to feed on exchanges with others, to build elements of consensus in the face of the great challenges of France.

In doing so, we will soon understand another truth: it is at the level of the territories that citizens can together think of the world and act on it. Decentralisation in France has been going on since the beginning because its promoters, the Defferre, Guichard, Mitterrand were feudals. Attached to the old institutional and intellectual framework of the exercise of power, they did not understand or accept that no real problem of our society could be solved at a single level and that under these conditions the different levels of local authorities should not share the competences but invent the rules for the exercise of a shared competence, of multi-level governance. Moreover, the territories, better scale than that of the State to manage the relations of any kind that characterize our societies, will be major players in the transition… provided that a vast transformation of territorial governance is undertaken, less through the umpteenth reform of institutions than through a profound transformation of conceptual systems, methods and practices.

The new president is also expected on Europe. In the face of growing Euroscepticism, he had the courage to state clearly that Europe was the political space in which the French had a future in the world. Daring to say it is not nothing. But it is nevertheless essential, sixty years after the Treaty of Rome, to re-found the European project, including by leaving the ever-present debate between sovereignists and federalists that excites political and administrative frameworks more than it arouses the passion of the peoples themselves. The truth is that the construction of Europe has missed a step: it is not enough of institutions or even common currencies to bring out the consciousness of a community of destiny. The re-foundation of Europe requires a process to establish citizens. I have proposed a concrete way of doing this based on the achievements of deliberative democracy and building on the regions of Europe. But in order to re-enchant Europe, to make European integration an epic, it must also be at the forefront of the global struggle for the transition to sustainable societies, daring to bring bold proposals to the international stage and to implement bold proposals internally. For example, a policy of quotas and the creation of an energy currency, without which the schizophrenia revealed by the Paris Agreements between what states are prepared to do and what is necessary for survival will only get worse from year to year.

And all of this requires a radical rethinking of the economic model. The flight forward in competitiveness has every chance of leading to the same impasses as the competitive devaluations rightly denounced by opponents of neo-protectionism. We must dare a “great return forward”, from the economy to the economy, considering that what organizes the relations of production and exchange are not so-called “natural laws” of the market but rather rules of management of the common home.

Finally, the example of finance is one that best reveals the gap between the impacts of large public and private actors on the planet and the state of international law. The 19th century invented the limited liability company, a condition for developing entrepreneurship by limiting the risks of the entrepreneur. But the 21st century, the Age of the Anthropocene, has invented societies of unlimited irresponsibility, where the planetary consequences, some irreversible, of the actions of institutions and their leaders unfold on a global scale while they are exempt from civil and criminal liability against them. It has become necessary, starting with Europe, to build an ethic and a right of responsibility. After the 2008 financial crisis, none of the real perpetrators of a tragedy that has had incalculable consequences on a global scale ended up in prison. Most of them even got away with a golden parachute. Until this problem is solved, there is no need to talk to the people about morality and effort.