chapter  12
19 Pages

Transition towards the new societal model

Before concluding this book I would like to venture one last question. This relates to what can be called the big changes, not the ones we continuously experience over time, but the transition to a new societal model that significantly modifies social life. One hardly needs to have read my thesis of discontinuous social change, i.e. that developed Western societies renew their structures in a cyclical way,2 to notice that, since the 1970s, signs of change have been unmistakable. They first became apparent in the realm of technology, increasingly accentuated in the course of the 1980s, then in the political spheres, both at the level of individual states and in their new relationships among each other in economic matters. This is manifested both in the surge of European integration since the mid-1980s and in the remarkable renewal of international institutions, most obvious in the case of the remodelled GATT regime in the new World Trade Organization, when the major powers struck a hitherto unexpected bargain in 1993 in Marrakesh.