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The promise of happiness from increasing
material wealth



A share in material goods and a lasting rise in material wealth are the Western culture's pre-eminent promise of happiness. Financial prosperity is one of the most important conditions for a good life for 69 percent of German citizens. They regard other values such as rule of law (58 percent), individual freedom of choice (58 percent), protection from crime (54 percent) or ample leisure time (29 percent) as far less important. Furthermore, - despite the high material standard of living which has been achieved - 69 percent of the Germans also believe that their country will only continue to prosper if economy, incomes and affluence never stop growing.1

The promise of increasing material wealth was convincingly kept over a long period of time. Since 1960, the per capita GDP has doubled in Switzerland and has risen by a good two and a half times in Germany and the USA. In Austria it has gone up by three and a half times.2

Receding economic growth

List of references

1cf. Meinhard Miegel / Thomas Petersen (2008), Der programmierte Stillstand, Olzog Verlag, Munich, pp. 31/32

2cf. EU Commission (AMECO), partly calculated by Denkwerk Zukunft