A big city without the problem of Fine particulates. Without Traffic Jams. Without The Noise Of Traffic. Without Traffic Deaths. Without A Zebra Crossing, Traffic Lights, Parking Garages, Parking. Instead, with cheap Rent, with places and squares, where people meet, where people speak, gathered. With green areas that you do not just look at it, but from those you can harvest strawberries, Apples, potatoes, depending on the Season. A healthy, sustainable, social city. “Where is the?” you may ask yourself. Surprise! It is everywhere. Only in the Moment is not in operation. Or to say it better, just otherwise occupied.

Because the city of the 21st century. Century, which could provide all of this, is determined in every respect by a means of transport of the 20th century. Century: the car. It makes you loud, tight, expensive, annoying. And that’s why children today, as soon as you might be able to discover their own power in the world, to learn that you can, for God’s sake. Otherwise you will be smashed. As those close to 400 cyclists, which paid for their movement to 2018 in Germany with life. Doesn’t have to be. You just have to ban cars from the cities, everything looks very different.

“stools made from elephant feet”

Before you misunderstand me: As someone who grew up in the 1960s as a Boy in Germany, I love cars and motorcycles. I can’t help it. Everything smelled of freedom, more world, a large cinema and so on, had to do with engines and gasoline. 15-the Mofa (dressing -), of 16, the Moped (dressing -), with 18 of the car (too slow), then the bike (finally had enough HP). The blockbusters were called at the time, “Easy Rider”, “Bullitt”, “Le Mans”, “Highway hell”, Wim Wenders turned road movie, and Klaus Lemke’s “Rocker”. Everything is nice, but a half-century ago. Today, the car still fits precisely as well in the centers of our cities, such as stools made from elephant feet in our Bars. People also found good, but.

Each new Generation has a new development task: because the world through their predecessors had changed into one that, in addition to further progress, new problems have arisen. The post-war era has led the West to a previously quite unsuspected welfare gains, but also to more freedom, democracy, education, health. Since the demise of the Eastern bloc, and it is already a Generation held the same Move, it’s called a growth economy, almost everywhere in the world. And lo and behold: Everywhere in the world, will probably be perceived as attractive, people find it is better to ascend than to stay poor. And you have every right to wish that their children may never experience the poverty that you learn, study, good and long life.


Our Cities are car-friendly. You should be people. With less noise, less Dirt and more space to Live.

©Illustration: Mario Wagner

The prospects are good. In my office a poster that says, not: “everything was bad in capitalism”. Probably true. Even half a century ago, every fifth child died before his fifth birthday. Today, the infant mortality rate is 3.9 percent, in just the past 30 years, more than halved. A major reason for the decline in poverty is: 200 years Ago, 84 percent of all people living in extreme poverty, today there are about 10 per cent, exactly 736 million. The average life expectancy is increasing everywhere in the world, birth rates are falling. I could name a lot of such Numbers. They all show surprising: it had never been so many people as good as today, never before have so many people lived so safely and as long as in the present.

There is only a small Problem: all of This owes itself to a form of economy that could be so uniquely successful, because no one thought about it has not made that their basis for success is unlimited. In the 18th century. and 19. Century, the world was too big and too empty, as you would have had to be concerned about, even in the 20th century. Century, the world was initially abundant, but the better life for more and more, the bigger the world was, of course, consumption. Our Problem: Nothing means more world consumption, will fit in this century.

unfortunately, the Mainstream Economics until today, so drunk on the success of the growth of the economy, that they forgot to develop the economy so that they would take into account the limits to growth. You would have had half a century of time. But I want to be fair: Even the social Sciences have forgotten that the Modern is an ongoing development project, and ceased to think of visions and utopias, or to design better still. And, unfortunately, the history, literature, and political science have presented up to now to the question of how to obtain freedom, democracy, justice, peace, humanity, education, health and social care, without ruining the natural preconditions for all this.

First World problem

think Instead of the Modern, whining rather, and particularly in the richest countries, relocated, to, to historically of the highest standard: Any regulation from Brussels, any careless remark of a prominent Person, every unimportant failure of a public authority is not considered to be evidence that the Whole work; children learn in kindergarten, that, inevitably, the climate Apocalypse threatens; Germany, one of the richest and best organised countries in the world, seems to mainly consist of service deserts, dead zones, gridlock and destroyed infrastructure, “such As Germany expires” is a typical headline, in this case from the “world”.

Like spoiled children who already have everything and the chronically dissatisfied to dream because you don’t think of more, together nagging the people in the historically best of all worlds with a dark future and malade presence: Oh, how uncomfortable we are with our First-World-problem, in this terrible comfort zone!


Without regard to the environment and workers – so not only T manufactured Shirts cheap. If corporate production would have to account for damage in your prices, then, would the world work differently.

©Illustration: Mario Wagner

Well, Alexa can order everything and the Smartphone is a each Think lose weight, but yet people seem to have a blurred vision feeling, that success would have to be, in the end, life is somehow more than what you can buy. Just nobody offers them unfortunately, except for the Google’s and Apple’s, something that looks to the future. And especially the Eco-, climate and Sustainablegkeitsszene outdoes herself with new horror news, has to offer, but no image of the future, that would be inviting, calling, sexy, so, you want to yourself into the design, the realization of which you want to be.

And the Elon Musks of this world, the super-billionaires who want to colonize Mars, what a grotesque future that you have to offer? How would it be if you were to use the funds that you are stuck in the silly dream of space colonialism, to make the earth, the ecological things better? Who can imagine to make Mars habitable, it should also have enough imagination to keep the earth habitable, is it?

mines, forests, waters and soils

There is a lack of i.e.: the future, an idea of the next, better society, a promise of happiness beyond the digital hype and bland consumption. “The economy is is one one”, Jan böhmermann, said recently in an Interview, “there is nothing in it except money.” So we tell a new story that has more to offer. We remain the same in the economy, something quite different is Yes – even if Christian Lindner is not like the faith – basically, for the first time as the market and competition. Economy is what our metabolism is, the basic conditions of our life and Survival, organized, and always. In the modern world, your organization is complex and is based on an international division of labor, in long value chains, global flows of goods and so on. What this complexity is hidden, however, are two very simple facts: firstly, all the products are the result of a chemical transformation – everything comes from mines, forests, waters and soils. And secondly, are not paid all of the costs of fuel conversion. If a river is contaminated or the climate is ruined, then the associated costs will not appear in the product. The only reason why a T can be offered-Shirt in Germany for € 2.99; neither the producer nor the Consumer pays the true price. The pays somebody somewhere at some point in the future.


wars of aggression and genocide could possibly be a thing of the past, when the world community has the monopoly of violence

©Illustration: Mario Wagner

would have expected Now we are to be the other way: with real rates. Clearly, if I would include these externalized costs in the sale price, would be the T-Shirt about to be a third more expensive. In rich societies, not bad, and greed may be for some cool, but is not a human right. It is interesting to note what would happen on the corporate side. It is true, indeed, that must cost so far as possible, in order to be competitive. If these costs in a production that takes on workers and nature of any consideration, are very high, then it can be worthwhile all of a sudden, if I leave the goods somewhere more to produce, but where good environmental and social standards apply. Miraculously, it expects all of a sudden, when I textiles no longer in Cambodia, but in Augsburg finished. And the environment consumption by Transport is omitted. This is still capitalism, but quite automatically, he now works in the direction of the local and regional production, brings the added value back into the country. If he can’t – Coltan for Smartphones in Germany, must be the product more expensive than it is today, especially when also in the Congo or in Rwanda, the fair would be paid. The cycles, with long product, great durability, and Reparability against taxes, which means in turn: in the long term, less effort, less metabolism. So: still capitalism, but one that is not controlled on sustainability, waste.

“common welfare economy”

anyone Who wants to argue that this would be a Drama for many emerging market countries, may console themselves: The role of the “workbench” for the rich countries to be dropping pretty quickly anyway and go their own ways; China shows the ” Yes ” emphatically. And a deep-reaching economic change is, of course, from today to tomorrow.

Specifically, such Considerations will be implemented to other economies in a movement called the “economy of common good” and have joined today, already more than 2000 (mostly small) companies. The create, each year, a balance sheet, the rating of the contribution to the common good that makes the of the operating. The idea is, that the reached value the balance sheet leads to the Common good eventually to tax-favoured-nation and preferential treatment in procurement by the public sector.

is This going to take, but you would have, you would have a different economy. And while we’re on the common good: A student group at the University of St. Gallen, is currently working on a concept called 80/20. Is that supposed to mean that, in future, 20 percent of the training and work of service to the community reserved. The charm of the 80/20 idea is that a counter-model to the individualized culture of Competition is designed, in the Engagement for other a natural part of everyday life and the life of the world. If one-fifth of the ” I ” is reserved for other, is likely to change in the social climate as well as the individual experience extend facilities. Filter bubbles are already perforated, significantly if you are working as a consultant one day a week in the hospice, or as a driver in the Kita. The society is permeable, the cohesion by the fact that one learns to see, almost inevitably the world with the eyes of others.


there Would be no impact to trees, may each seek his fortune. The States could define who has claims on their social systems.

©Illustration: Mario Wagner

if you did, you would have a friendlier society. And that’s the point: increase the happiness of the people, not for no reason, more and more to withdraw, to be always faster, always more intense the wrong paths. How absurd our world has become, the fact that electric cars will get in the future, engine noise is prescribed, so that the Passer-by listens to your powerful Approach and in a timely manner. So, we create artificial noise, where technically no more! While we’re on the E-car: This is supposed to be the car of the future, although it requires the bottom line, particularly in the production of more energy than a normal car. The car of the future, although it consumes as much space as a regular car in addition to new infrastructure needs. Although its Simple design will cost a lot of jobs and its Batterien raw material and waste disposal problems in an entirely new Dimension to raise.

“world city with a heart”

the future is not optimized presence, it calls social fantasy. We take the city without cars. For years, increasing land prices and rents is a permanent topic; the policy in the normal way with the rent around the brakes, without success, because the market does not depend on. If rent is not worth to be built no homes, the municipal housing stock have sold most of cities, free soil there are. Really? It is the most expensive city in Germany, the chic Munich is the city with the most Parking spaces – clearly have somewhere to send the city’s terrain in car Yes. More than twelve percent (!) the traffic area will be assigned in the “world city with a heart” of parked cars. Oh: And Munich – the city with the largest surface area sealer is to say 47 percent are built on, concreted or asphalted! Now you calculate: How much buildable area you would get if you land, Park, streets, car parks, junctions and urban motorways, different could make use of?


Professor Harald Welzer, 60, is a social psychologist. He directs the “Center for Transformation Design” at the University of Flensburg and also teaches at the University of St. Gallen. Eight years ago he founded the Foundation “Futurzwei” that promotes sustainable living and economies. Welzer has written a number of books on socio-political issues, some of which have been best sellers. His latest book, just published, was the basis for this article: Harald Welzer: “Everything could be different. A utopian Society of free people”, S. Fischer, 320 pages, 22 Euro

©S. Fischer

Oh, Yes: there’s this digitisation can be used to connect public transport, bikes, reputation of buses, trams and U-Bahn perfect, as no man needs a car in the city! And remember: If there is a negative effect of digital communication is that people are becoming isolated and lonely – how useful is a city that has space for meeting, Yes, the is encounter with the self, then, is because car infrastructure is no longer cut through anything and prove! And further: How attractive a city is, without noise and emissions, and how life-friendly in comparison to car town just today? Car – that was the city plan Vision after the Second world war. And it is the scheduler that came from the staff of Hitler’s chief architect and armaments Minister Albert Speer were the same after the war – the cities were practically all the way by the allies already flat – started, everything is “auto”. It may be that this could then be considered as modern; today, it is antiquated. The 21. Century needs the car-free city, and the routes of the highways, and town highways are quite wonderful for wind turbines and solar panels, the spoil elsewhere anyway, only the landscape.

to Visit you in Copenhagen, since you have driven the car traffic on already heavily down, works wonderfully. You get more security, more sustainability, more health, more space, more meeting, less cost, less noise, less energy consumption, just by a single measure. More quality of life due to less consumption of the Environment, wonderful!

“I have a dream!”

we Take a different theme, which is, admittedly, a utopian type, but an old dream of mankind is, so it’s all worth it: the dream of eternal peace. Before you drop now – reverie! Idealism! –, superior to you, which is why there is in modern legal States, it’s less violence than ever before in history. Not because I watch a lot of the “word for Sunday” and decided to be now more peaceful than in the past. The highlight was a social Innovation: the state’s monopoly of violence. Only the state is entitled to it, under specified and controlled conditions to exercise violence, against criminal offenders, rapists, terrorists and so on.

Where there is no state monopoly on violence, or no rule of law in Failed States and dictatorships, life, you, personally, extremely insecure, because they can always be victims of the arbitrary and legally not contrary to the course of action that you have done to violence. The school of knowledge, sure, but that has it, if you think it is. Because so far, there is a monopoly of violence within nation-States, not between them. But why this principle should not be to the international community transferable? In the 20th century. Century, the UN established the International criminal court in The Hague, as the international law, the Geneva Convention, the universal Declaration of human rights, the Paris climate agreement – agreements a lot of the international, the fixes work for all problems and imperfect. Anyway, we live with them better, as if it were not for you!

Why should be a government-to-government violence monopoly is unattainable – especially in times, in which neither Goods nor financial flows, nor viruses, nor advertising, movies, music, sports, digital Surveillance at national borders? Of course, an international army, which secures the monopoly of violence belongs to, and, of course, there can be no right of veto of individual States – but the time of the genocide, the Assad’s and Putin’s would be over quickly, when state crimes, such as wars and mass murders could be prevented by an army of the international community. Of the other advantages apart, How many tax dollars go for the armor on it, how much corruption, smuggling, illegal business, criminal organizations in the Economics of violence and war! And, one aspect that nobody talked about: the ecological costs of the military and its operations, be it in the manoeuvres or in case of an emergency. The defoliation of forests in Vietnam, the burning oil Fields of Kuwait, the ruined cities, the huge consumption of fuel and emissions of fighter jets, warships, tanks, missiles – would you abolish all this by Achieving a next level of civilization, had made significant environmental progress. I’m not naive From today’s perspective, this utopia is in the distance. But since the United Nations were, the universal Declaration of human rights, the Outlawing of wars of aggression against three, four generations. And Martin Luther King said: “I’m on a schedule”, but: “I have a dream!” A dream must be the first time in the world before you can fight for its realization.

in Need of a modern civilization borders?

And to think where we are just doing great: Needs a moderne civilization borders? Especially if you Were each and people can electronically control it? What this whole Trump to sense weak, what should limits of all the phrases on the (already impossible) securing the EU’s external? Borders, conflict and violence events are completely outdated. The drawing of boundaries after the First world war, after the disintegration of Austria-Hungary were responsible for a century of displacement and ethnic cleansing – an absurdity, something in the 21. To keep century for the future. Especially since the refugees – not least as a result of climate change and other environmental pressures – the dominant figure of this century. People, the history has shown, limits the Survival, seek to prevent, we should finally stop to try.

The Disappearance of shock trees, the border patrol booth, video surveillance, fences, walls and guards does not mean that there are now no States with territories more, the rules of their internal and external Affairs of sovereign, economic and environmental laws, claims of social systems define and participation to public services of General interest to the membership, or refuse. Because with the participation in the labour market state are not automatically civil rights and obligations attached to it. With the law, in any country enter as a Tourist and infrastructure, beaches and Bars to visit and consultation, where appropriate, against payment of moron, Yes, no further rights – why should it be, then, in the case of labour migration the case?

In all of this is simply the next Phase of our development, a more built against civilisation project! Good prospects for such a type, you can follow future that is lost to win back, can Dream of, other companies, other to build a world. And why the hell not? That will currently fail to take place at the end of the experiment of unchecked growth, it is clear – at the Moment, the growth of the economy consumed its own conditions, and not for long. Why, then, is not his imagination, and his force in a joint project to invest, this has the great advantage that its Failure is not a foregone conclusion, and its success possible. As possible, how many of mankind’s dreams have become as the abolition of hunger, the extension of life, freedom, democracy, the right – to a considerable extent to be a reality today. The project “Everything could be different!” is realistic, the continuation of the mindless, imagination, future-forgotten practice of the presence of illusionist.

But what, now, is the damage being done, deforested rain forests, the plastic-infested oceans? Quite simply: we make it good again! Anyway, as far as it goes. Just puts in the largest restoration project in Europe, the Lower Havel again in a near-natural state, an international Initiative has re-wetted the huge Pripyat marshes, almost extinct animal species have returned, we needed a Atlas of the restored natural areas. Who says that? Yes, but climate change! A problem of Humanity, without a doubt. But you can be renatured to buy time, by a literary style over a large area, the forest, the further cutting down of the rain forest stops. Forests absorb carbon dioxide, and you can realistically tie up so much that you can win time for action to be taken as a post-fossil energy supply, and a dekarbonisierte economy are becoming a reality, and effectiveness – the Foundation “Forum for responsibility” has been attributed to the pre-and developed together with the WWF just a campaign.

Harald Welzer: it’s time for a new realism

everything is not Enough? Can be. But that, in the history of mankind, radical survival, occurrence of problems is nothing New, think of the plague, famine with millions of Victims, wars, the Little ice age in the 16th century. and 17. Century. Why, of all things, to the technological and civilizational level of the 21. Century paralyzed and fearful for the future rigid, as if the presence was so great that the future is please avoid. Quite the contrary: It is time for a new utopia. We need to do to have the Potential to make life better, even if the world, and you may be sure, will never be perfect, but consistently equipped with problems, accidents, and Yes, even with disasters. This is the life. Time for a new realism. You are doing, you’ll miss the Best!


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