48 Theses

How we can live together better

48 Thesen - Wie wir besser zusammenleben können
Throughout its history, humanity has formulated a plethora of positions to regulate social coexistence. All religions and cultures, the constitutions of states, philosophical writings, declarations on human rights, and the most diverse social narratives have for thousands of years borne witness to people’s striving to reach agreement on social values and to establish common rules and norms for their observance.
In the beginning of the 21st century, humanity shows itself in an unprecedented global networking and cooperation. At the same time, it is characterized by profound controversies about social values and norms. It is therefore imperative for humanity to think about common global agreements. This involves agreements on how to ensure peaceful and constructive interaction between individuals, within a group, a state or between states, religions and cultures. It is about forms of active participation in democratic decision-making processes and about the question of how socially generated wealth can be distributed more fairly. In view of increasing global warming, it is important to consistently implement climate protection goals in order to prevent irreversible damage to nature and biodiversity.
Each person interprets the world in his or her own way. However, because individuals also have a responsibility for the common good, only a shared perspective can help us live together better in the future. These 48 theses are intended as a stimulus for everyone who wants to think about new arrangements for our future.
Note: At the places marked with next to the theses, you can see linked fundamental contributions to the discussion on the respective topic. In addition to the theses, under Essays you will find texts that attempt to give each individual thesis a historical and philosophical foundation and references to it to create the present. The texts are constantly being updated.


Every person is different and special. This must be appreciated and protected.

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From the knowledge of one's own uniqueness, each person develops the ability to recognize others in their uniqueness and to show them respect and appreciation.

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Every human being is a seeker. He is free to explore and investigate the world in order to expand and overcome the limits of previous knowledge, provided that others do not feel restricted in their rights as a result.

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Every person asks himself questions about the origin of life and the mystery of death. Any answers he chooses to these questions are to be considered equal to the answers of other people. Insofar as he finds them in his faith, these are to be respected to the same extent as the answers of all other faiths.


Every person is sensually touched and addressed by other people, natural occurrences, things and artistic forms of expression. With these forms of resonance he experiences himself and the world again and again. By allowing himself to be seduced, seized, but also unsettled by the complexity of life and the diversity of the world, he distinguishes himself as a human being.

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Every human being is part of nature. He can only preserve and develop his species if he lives in harmony with nature and does not place himself above it. Every single human being is responsible for this. In order to preserve the diversity of animals and plants, at least one third of the earth's surface should be placed under nature protection.

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Every human being pays attention to the careful and sustainable use of the world's natural resources and uses his reason to preserve them. This gives rise to an obligation for companies to avoid any extensive consumption of resources and to compensate for this either by cultivating renewable raw materials or by investing in alternative, non-fossil energy sources.

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Everyone has the right to the preservation of clean air and water, as well as protection from harmful environmental influences, radiation hazardous to health and the consequences of global warming. He or she shall work to ensure that climate protection goals are implemented globally and shall personally contribute to wasting less food and reducing traffic and waste.

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Every human being is first and foremost a social being. He needs the integration into a community in which he can live freely and at the same time in responsibility. In the community he develops the ability to shape the world according to his needs and thereby for the benefit of all. As an individual, he voluntarily supports the productive and creative work of others according to his possibilities.

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From birth, every human being is confronted with the experience of fear, which makes him vulnerable and in need of protection. In the course of his life he learns to protect himself and also to offer protection to others. Part of protection is actively building and maintaining trust with others.


Every person should know that his own future is also in the hands of others. In the course of our lives we learn to set limits to our own narcissism, to open ourselves to others and to treat them with compassion and respect. A prerequisite for living together better and more peacefully is the ability to forgive each other.

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Every person needs the love and closeness of another. However, love must not be a shackle; it unfolds only when each person allows the other free space to develop. Love is based on mutual trust and offers the possibility to show oneself as vulnerable. Love is an essential prerequisite for developing the strength and courage to face new challenges in life.


Each person is obligated to respect and protect the physical and emotional integrity of the other. This applies in particular to relationships in the family or at work, which are characterized by unavoidable relationships of dependence. All forms of sexual activity shall be open to him, provided that they guarantee the protection of minors and are based on mutual consent.


Every person seeks protection and security in the environment that is familiar to him. This gives rise to an inner image of home that accompanies him throughout his life. This image can become the source of unconscious desires for an eternal, unchanging place. But we ourselves and the lake in which we bathe change with time. Therefore, home succeeds only where we feel secure with each other and can develop freely.


For every human being the foreign is a challenging chance to move out of the familiar environment. However, the foreign is also associated with threat and fear, which in turn promotes the longing for home and tradition. Human life oscillates between these two spaces of experience. Despite all the uncertainties and unpredictability that come with it, he should shape his life with courage, confidence and reason.

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Every person possesses different identities through his ethnic and social origin, his religion, his profession, his political views and his personal and social inclinations. He decides for himself what importance he gives to them. It is not acceptable that others define his identity one-dimensionally, because every human being is a complex and relational social being.


Every person is required to refrain from all forms of physical or mental violence, especially discrimination and exclusion of others. Each person is also required to moderate language as an instrument of hatred and discord at all times and not to attack or belittle others.

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Every man shall enjoy by birth the civil rights granted him by the Constitution of his country of birth. He respects the democratic constitution of his country, and protects and defends the fundamental values of peace, freedom and democracy set forth therein. He shall work to ensure that these fundamental values are realized and implemented in all forms of society.


Every person who is entitled to vote may acquire, in addition to the citizenship of his country, the citizenship of a community of states to which his country belongs, for example the EU. He then acquires the right to vote and enjoys the rules established by the community of states concerning freedom of travel and visas, freedom of establishment, and the free movement of trade and goods. Through his supranational citizenship he commits himself to the fundamental values of the community of states. In particular, the international community protects its social and democratic rights.


Every person may acquire, in addition to his own citizenship, the citizenship of another state, provided that he permanently respects its rights and obligations and has spent one third of his life there.


Every person shall respect the equality of all sexes and shall cooperate in ensuring that it is enforced, observed and promoted at work, in the family and in society. Disadvantages for social groups that are demonstrably caused or have arisen as a result of structural racism are recognized and compensated for accordingly. Efforts are made to ensure that such disadvantages are eliminated in the long term.


Every person who is entitled to vote shall be given the opportunity to participate in fundamental social decisions in his or her country, particularly in the areas of energy, the environment, education, transportation and infrastructure, within the framework of citizens' votes. These citizen votes are accompanied by a comprehensive discussion process in decentralized and centralized citizen forums. All the information needed to form an opinion is prepared by the media and educational institutions and is available for use at any time.

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Everyone bears responsibility for the cohesion of society in his or her country. In order to shape a vibrant community, he or she is called upon to become involved in institutions such as political parties, associations, schools, universities, trade unions, clubs or religious communities. Those who take responsibility for others or show civil courage receive special appreciation and respect.

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Everyone bears responsibility for coming to terms with historical crimes committed in his or her country. He shall contribute to the clarification of the circumstances and causes of these crimes and shall advocate that the perpetrators be held accountable. The victims shall be commemorated in an appropriate manner. Social or economic disadvantages for the affected population groups shall be compensated by national reparation funds.

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Any person forced to leave his country because of economic hardship or war shall enjoy the humanitarian protection of the State to which he has fled. With the explicit support of the world community, it is primarily the neighboring countries of the affected state that organize the reception and care of the refugees. Each country can only assume responsibility for refugees to the extent that internal social and cultural cohesion is not jeopardized.

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Everyone who is persecuted for political, religious, ethnic or racial reasons has the right to apply for asylum in a country of his choice. In this regard, the parliament of the host country regularly decides the extent to which people may be granted asylum. Asylum seekers and persons entitled to asylum enjoy the right of guest and residence as long as people are persecuted in their home country and a return to safe living conditions is not possible.


Every person who emigrates to another country has the obligation to actively integrate into the host country. The host country creates the conditions for him to learn the new language and familiarize himself with the new customs and traditions. He is provided with assistance in finding socially acceptable employment opportunities and adequate housing. The parliament of the host country regularly decides how many people can immigrate.

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Each person contributes to changing his or her own culture by engaging with the foreigner. He pays respect to the culture, history and religion of other countries and peoples, insofar as these do not call into question the fundamental values of peace, freedom and democracy. As an immigrant or as a refugee or asylum seeker, he or she actively contributes to shaping a peaceful and understanding coexistence.


Every person protects and preserves the cultural heritage of mankind. His own history and creative work can be understood as part of a culture of humanity. In this way, the individual impulse is carried forward across all social boundaries and the memory of humanity is enriched by members of all social groups.

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Every person is free to express his attachment to the democratic traditions and intangible cultural heritage of his country. However, this must not take the form of nationalism that discriminates against the culture and history of other countries or peoples.


Every person is free to shape his or her life through rituals that can give it structure and order, meaning and continuity, collective identity and a sense of community. The power of ritual can provide a counterpoint to everyday reality, but it can also provide an opportunity to rethink and possibly change our lives and relationships with others. However, a ritual should never be performed under internal or external coercion and lead to the exclusion or discrimination of others.

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Everyone respects the values of an open society characterized by helping the vulnerable and disadvantaged, defending minority rights, and recognizing cultural diversity as enrichment.

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Each person respects the opinion of the other. The highest priority is given to conversation and dialogue as a means of settling conflicts. Non-violent solutions to conflicts require verbal disarmament and the search for compromise or reconciliation of interests.

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Every person should consider the education of his children as one of the most valuable tasks of his life. The basis for this is respect for the child’s natural aptitudes, which he encourages to the best of his ability. He therefore gives his children due time and attention. For this purpose, each parent shall be allowed to reduce his or her regular working hours by up to one third until the child reaches the age of 14.


Everyone has the right to a school education through which he or she develops the ability to think and act independently, in a team-oriented and solution-oriented manner. A good school education is the prerequisite for every person to discover and develop his or her own abilities and talents. The school education system has the task of promoting all children equally and providing special support and encouragement as needed. This creates the prerequisite for each person to contribute to society with his or her personal resources.


Every person contributes to the common good through his or her work. Work is an essential basis of our coexistence and the central source of value creation. Its quality is based on the differentiated experience with the work process and the respective product. It is therefore of particular importance to appreciate and recognize the value of work. In order to be able to adapt to the changing production conditions, which arise in particular as a result of digitalization, comprehensive further training opportunities are offered in good time.

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Everyone is entitled to a working environment that promotes their motivation and performance and enables cooperation. He or she participates in ensuring that the material and intellectual products produced have a social benefit and a meaningful, sustainable and inspiring character. In order to promote a professional reorientation, to support social commitment, to realize an artistic project or to produce a scientific work, there is the possibility of receiving a basic income that secures one's livelihood for a total of three years.


Every person who establishes or operates a business shall ensure that its employees receive a wage that is at least equal to the standard industry wage. The highest income earned in a business should exceed three times the lowest income only in exceptional cases.

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Every person employed in a business or enterprise is entitled to a share in the profits. At least one third of the profit shall be due to the employees of an enterprise and shall be distributed proportionately according to the participation in the generation of the profit. Reinvestment of the profit share is possible if the employees agree to it.


Every person is entitled to an adequate pension at the end of his or her working life. As a state-guaranteed basic pension, it shall amount to at least half of the average income. It is financed in equal parts by a company or private pension fund, tax money and social security contributions.


Every person is obliged to use his property in such a way that it serves the common good. He bequeaths one-third of his personal property to a charitable foundation or to the state. If it is working capital and the heirs actively continue to operate the company, it remains untouched.

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Anyone can incur debt based on his or her assets and income. One third of the debt burden must be covered by equity, and the burdens may not exceed one third of his income.


Every person who invests his assets in speculative capital investments shall transfer one-third of the profits made therefrom to a charitable foundation or to the state.


Every person may freely trade in goods that do not harm others. The aim is to ensure that world trade complies with Fairtrade criteria and that human rights are respected in global supply and value chains.


Every person who rents or acquires land is obliged to cultivate or manage it in such a way that it serves the common good. Of the profit generated, one-third shall go to a charitable foundation or to the state. Land and housing are under special protection of the state. The aim is for at least one-third of the housing stock to be non-profit property and for low-income earners to spend only one-third of their income on rent.

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Every person who is eligible to vote will be given adequate participation rights through citizen votes that affect long-term investments in the future of his or her country or a community of nations. These citizen votes are accompanied by a comprehensive discussion process in decentralized and centralized citizen forums. The level of investment is based on the potential that a national or supranational economy has to secure jobs and create new ones in the future. Investments must be made in such a way that the debts incurred for this purpose are repaid within a reasonable time frame.


Everyone is part of the global civilization. Global networking is increasingly creating a global consciousness. New sources of income have emerged in the areas of production, trade, transport and digital technologies. International agreements ensure that open societies, the free flow of ideas and socially just working conditions are promoted, increasing the prosperity of all.


Everyone is entitled to compensation from an International Social Fund for the consequences of the global economy where it has caused them demonstrable disproportionate disadvantage or economic harm. Companies are required to diversify their supply chains and shift only a maximum of one-third of their production abroad in order to have sufficient capacity available at home in global crisis situations.

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48 Theses

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48 Theses


Here we have set up space so that you can share your thoughts on the subject of “How we can live together better” with us and all other interested people.

5 thoughts on “48 Thesen”

  1. Hut ab. Ein kleinster gemeinsamer Nenner. Ein schätzenswerter Appendix zum Grundgesetz. Ein real-utopischer Entwurf. Wolfgang Abendroth würde ihn sicherlich begrüßen!

  2. What struck me — besides how grand, wise and human your vision is — is also how European you are compared to the views of Americans. The sense of individual rights here is powerful and only getting more unabashedly anti-societal. Cases in point: wearing a mask, climate change; owning a gun (and opposing even the most reasonable restrictions on guns); Trump’s America First. I don’t know if the US has always been this way, but got disguised through lofty ideals of spreading democracy and so-called equality, but we have become an immensely selfish and uncaring people relative to the rest of the world (and even relative to each other). I don’t think I realized how far the US had traveled until reading your 48. My sense is that you could have a fruitful and meaningful discussion of your principles in Europe; the discussion would end before it even started here.

    I would like to live in the world your create . . . .

    One substantive question: there are a lot of one-thirds. Is there a basis to that across the different principles in which you use it to allocate shares, versus one half or one quarter. Just curious.

    In 1960, the top marginal tax rate in the US was 70%; it is now 35%, with capital gains taxed at 20%. Thus, the rich get richer and is disproportions that are extreme. I think this will become the major source of conflict in the US in the coming years. Oddly, most of Trump’s followers are poor white people at the bottom of the food chain lacking college education or upward mobility. You would think they would be at the front of the revolutionary ranks, but no. They’re the ones willing to throw democracy away on a demigod.

    1. One of the basic ideas of my paper was to strengthen the sense of community. After such a long period of prioritising the me-perspective (nothing against #metoo!) I found it important to draw attention to what we can actually give back to society, if we were lucky enough to be born on the bright side of life. So I thought up a very simple formula: 1/3 for my pleasure, 1/3 for my family and friends, 1/3 for society. This I attached to the cases of inheritance, the making
      of profit through business, ownership of property or financial transactions.

      In case of inheritance its accepting that all you have achieved, is based on what your social and economic starting position was and sharing a reasonable part in order to help others have better conditions in the future. Therefore I say that you can give it to foundations who do good things with it.

      In case of profits (!) you make, it seems reasonable to me that those who contributed to it, should have their fair share and if your property gains value without you contributing it’s also fair to have society get a proportion of it.

      The 1/3 idea is to define a cultural and social value by fixing a proportion that is easy to communicate, that has a chance to be generally accepted and that has a symbolic function in terms of “if I gain more, I will share more”. To me it should be easy to teach that in school. Growing wealth then always has a social dimension and it will free you of constantly being scrutinized or morally insulted for your achievements. I’m not an expert in this, but it might even keep income taxes fairly low.

      The other 1/3 aspects came gradually, are based on already existing demands by NGOs or UN resolutions and of course they are also symbolic and easy to memorize: the UN demands 1/3 of the world’s territority to be natural reservations in order to protect flora and fauna, the towns of Zürich or Vienna have succesfully dealt with social housing issues by making sure that 1/3 of tenements are in public hand, every reasonable bank will only give you a mortgage, if you can provide 1/3 of the necessary capital. And finally, after the Corona experience leading economists proclaimed that it makes sense not to have more than 1/3 of your production line abroad.

  3. Ich finde es wichtig, dass wir uns immer wieder überlegen, was es eigentlich jeden Tag zu tun gilt, um ein friedliches Zusammenleben zu fördern. Als Schweizer Bürger denke ich an die Zeit des Zweiten Weltkriegs, als viele Flüchtlinge an der Grenze zurückgewiesen wurden. Deshalb scheint mir die These 26 sehr wichtig

    “Jeder Mensch, der aus politischen, religiösen, ethnischen oder rassistischen Gründen verfolgt wird, hat das Recht in einem Land seiner Wahl Asyl zu beantragen. Dabei entscheidet das Parlament des Gastlandes regelmäßig darüber, in welchem Umfang Menschen Asyl gewährt werden kann. Asylsuchende und Asylberechtigte genießen das Gast- und Aufenthaltsrecht, solange in ihrer Heimat Menschen verfolgt werden und eine Rückkehr in sichere Lebensumstände nicht möglich ist.”

    Hier der Link zu einem Video, das ich vor vielen Jahren zu diesem Thema gemacht habe: https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/50214481

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