How can we close the wealth gap

economy : New forms of participation instead of traditional social benefits

VW wants to turn the welfare state inside out. Board member Peter Hartz believes that social benefits are no longer important, but new forms of participation. "It is time for a new entrepreneurial culture of participation. This could achieve more for our industrial locations than some location lamentation," says Hartz and recommends VW as a role model. For example the stock option plan, which aims to increase value in the future and is intended to motivate employees. "Only through co-entrepreneurship in capital formation can the gaps in wealth that the necessary reforms of our social security systems will be closed." Hartz is particularly proud of the so-called Zeit-Wertpapier, an investment instrument that can be used both to secure employment and to provide for old age. According to Hartz, 150,000 VW and Audi employees in Germany are now saving time and money for an early retirement or a higher pension. In the past year, VW AG alone collected 220 million marks.

The capital is built up before taxes, strengthened through investment funds from income on the capital market and should ultimately bring two or three or more hours of working life shorter from one hour saved. And those who do not use the security for early retirement will get their pension capital paid out at the end of their working life. "With the Zeit-Wertpapier we can build a unique bridge between modern remuneration systems and the systems of social security, job security and the capital market to finance growth," says Hartz. Others think so too. According to VW, around 100 companies in Germany have sought advice on the introduction of a time security. Hartz: "The model would also fit perfectly into the principles of the federal government for the further development of old-age insurance, including models for the organization of working life."

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