Fotolia 197836016 M Zarya Maxim

Photo: Zarya Maxim / Fotolia



Do you ever think about what work will look like in the future and how we’re going to go about our daily business? You might even have answered a few questions on these topics in the exhibition. Here you have the opportunity (once again) to put your view of tomorrow’s economic models to a more detailed test.

Fotolia 197836016 M Zarya Maxim

Photo: Zarya Maxim / Fotolia

Working hours, income, quality of life, self-development, the common good – as soon as we’ve finished our education or professional training, most of us start thinking about what our working lives should look like. Often, though, we’re not completely free in our decision-making. This is because our own opportunities are shaped by the labour market, which in turn is influenced by the economy, by society and by politics. Not everyone ends up with a permanent job. Many people can’t even live off what they earn through full-time employment. And women are still responsible for the greater part of their children’s upbringing and therefore spend less time in regular jobs. At the same time, many people work more than is good for them. And the more money we earn, the more things we buy and consume, using up raw materials and endangering the environment in the process.

Let’s just imagine ourselves organising our work and daily lives differently. In the survey you’ll find building blocks and ideas that already exist and that show you how things could be done differently in the future. Which ones do you like? Which path would you choose?


The bog-standard life looks like this: people work a 40-hour-week, receive a fixed salary and then use it to buy everything they need for their daily lives. But society also thrives on the fact that people engage in voluntary work or produce valuable goods in their free time – for instance, by growing their own fruit and vegetables or by repairing broken things. Many people also care for relatives in need of care – a type of work that often receives scant recognition. In what relation should we put gainful employment and other work models (voluntary work, childcare, subsistence farming, that is, self-sufficiency, etc.)?


Possessions are so old hat! Living a sustainable life means we borrow what we rarely need and share what we own – right? Because if everyone buys their own car, many cars just stand around unused most of the time, taking up precious space in large cities. Not to mention the resources that are consumed to produce the countless items we own. By becoming part of a sharing community, we can lend and borrow things and therefore use them much more extensively. And the Internet makes it easier to exchange information with others. Are you willing to share more?


Companies employ people and produce goods or offer services, and customers buy them. Could there be another way of doing things? The Internet connects people around the world, while digital technologies enable communities – regardless of borders – to invent and produce entirely new products. Completely new forms of cooperation will emerge. Many individuals with diverse skills can work simultaneously and independently on different parts of a product. What do you think? Can this work? Is so-called “peer production” a model for the future?


Companies want to sell their products, and their goal is to make a profit. Profits are supposed to keep on growing year on year. If the economy as a whole is growing, we assume that our prosperity is increasing too. But economic growth comes at the cost of the environment: at some point, the earth’s natural resources that are needed for the industrial production of goods are going to run out, while the mining of raw materials harms nature. A possible way for us to preserve the natural foundations of human life is to produce fewer, but more durable, products. This means, we need to renounce economic growth and abandon the expectation of ever-increasing profits. Can this work?


This is what your economic system of tomorrow looks like.


The economy must be something that the people and the community can rely on – and, beyond that, it must place the preservation of the earth in the forefront of its concerns. You’re convinced that the time for unlimited growth is over and that a new era has begun. Instead of mass production and consumption, it’s better to repair old things and produce them sustainably ourselves. Ideally, you’d like to be employed part-time at a company whose values you share. But you also produce lots of things on your own or together with others and take the time to do charitable work. Your possessions are limited to the bare essentials – whatever you rarely need, you borrow. Advocates of the so-called post-growth model are, among others, Niko Paech, Jay Forrester and Christian Felber.


We need change – no doubt about it. In the world of the future, as you imagine it, the labour market is more flexible than today’s. This relieves the burden on families with children or on persons with relatives in need of care. We’ll buy less, and borrow and lend things from time to time. You find this especially good if you can use things that you yourself otherwise couldn’t afford. In general, however, you tend to be more in favour of the existing economic system. Nevertheless, in your opinion, companies should no longer act purely in their own self-interest, but also need to keep the interests of people, the environment and society in mind.


You want everything to stay just the same. Work, leisure and consumption are based on the principle of performance: whoever works hard will be rewarded financially. And can live well off the proceeds. The division of labour within society should be maintained – but everyone should be able to live off their income and be protected by a social security safety net. To have to constantly coordinate and work together with others requires a lot of time and patience, which you would prefer to invest elsewhere in ways of your own choosing.