Wirtschaftlicher Leistungshunger: Wie können wir ihn wieder entfachen?

Herk: "We must reignite the hunger for achievement in our society"

In a recent statement, Josef Herk, the President of the Economic Chamber in Styria, Austria, emphasized the importance of rewarding achievement in our society. Herk asserted that those who work full-time should earn noticeably more, as failure to do so could result in a shift in fundamental values. Two new surveys support this claim, revealing that while 97 percent of business owners and 94 percent of the population consider achievement in a professional context to be very important or at least important, there are significant generational differences in these views. Among the population aged 61 and older, 96 percent consider achievement to be the basis of our prosperity, while among 18 to 25-year-olds, only 64 percent share this opinion. Herk noted that it is crucial to make achievement more rewarding in order to address these discrepancies.

As part of a new "achievement agenda," the Economic Chamber in Styria conducted two surveys to investigate the willingness to achieve in Austria. One survey targeted entrepreneurs in Styria (with 975 participants), while the other surveyed the general population (with 344 participants). The results showed that 71 percent of business owners considered achievement in a professional context to be very important, while an additional 26 percent considered it important. Among the broader population, 39 percent considered achievement very important, and 55 percent considered it important. Furthermore, 88 percent of business owners and 87 percent of Styrians agreed that "achievement is the basis of our societal prosperity." However, there were significant differences in these opinions based on age. Among the younger generation, only 64 percent agreed with this statement, compared to 96 percent among the older generation.

In response to these findings, Josef Herk stated that "we must make achievement more rewarding and desirable." The Economic Chamber in Styria has outlined measures in its own achievement agenda to address this issue. Herk stressed that a society focused on work-life balance and part-time employment cannot sustain our prosperity or social system. Therefore, the Economic Chamber in Styria is launching a broad campaign with the key focuses of "reducing taxes on labor" and "reducing bureaucracy." Herk argued that by making the state more efficient, we can create the leeway to lower taxes on labor and employment costs. With upcoming elections in mind, he emphasized that it is essential to make it clear that our prosperity is not a given but must be earned through hard work every day. Politicians need to adopt a more entrepreneurial mindset, as the state cannot be managed like a social institution. Herk called for the introduction of a constitutionally mandated spending constraint to achieve this goal.

In addition to these measures, the surveys examined various other measures that could increase the willingness to achieve and which have broad societal consensus. The data revealed strong support for reducing bureaucracy (95 percent among businesses, 88 percent among the population), increasing net income (94 percent among businesses, 95 percent among the population), providing targeted social benefits (88 percent among businesses, 89 percent among the population), expanding childcare options (87 percent among businesses, 88 percent among the population), and helping the unemployed return to work faster (85 percent among businesses, 87 percent among the population). Herk urged politicians to act swiftly, stating that responsible politicians must not forget their responsibility to future generations in pursuit of votes.

To further emphasize the need for achievement-promoting measures, economist Christoph Schneider, Managing Director of the Economica Institute for Economic Research, created a new achievement index. This index compares data from 18 European countries, consolidating 36 economically relevant indicators into two categories: incentives and framework conditions that encourage achievement, and actual achievements. The results show that while Austria ranks second in terms of actual achievements among European countries, it only ranks seventh in terms of incentives. Overall, Austria ranks fifth in the achievement index, behind Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. However, Schneider concluded that Austria is actually moving in the opposite direction compared to other countries, indicating a need for action to improve the business environment in Austria.

Table: Summary of Surveys on Achievement

| | Entrepreneurs | Population |
| Very important | 71% | 39% |
| Important | 26% | 55% |
| "Basis of prosperity" agreement | 88% | 87% |

Sources: Economic Chamber in Styria surveys with 975 entrepreneur participants and 344 population participants

In conclusion, it is evident that there is a need to prioritize achievement in our society to maintain our prosperity. Measures such as reducing taxes on labor, reducing bureaucracy, and providing targeted social benefits have broad support and are seen as necessary steps to enhance the reward and desirability of achievement. The surveys also indicate a generational difference in attitudes towards achievement, highlighting the importance of engaging younger generations and reigniting their hunger for achievement. The new achievement index further underlines the need for action in Austria to create a more favorable business environment. It is clear that achievement is a cornerstone of our society, and maintaining its importance is crucial for our future.

Quelle: Wirtschaftskammer Steiermark / ots

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