Prosperity and the good life

A group discussion about similarities and differences

What is meant by a good life or prosperity? Both ideas are discussed and placed in the context of global economic and political issues.

Working material for download

Learning objectives

The participants…

– recognize a (first) approach to the topic of prosperity and the good life through their own and the group’s experiences.

– recognize initial approaches and demands as to how prosperity and the good life can be improved.

– begin to situate and question their own behavior in everyday life as well as common practice in society in dealing with prosperity and the good life.


The participants should have a certain sensitivity towards social inequality.


seeing, hearing, reading, motor skills


In two groups, the participants define what they understand by either a good life or prosperity. After a presentation of the results, parallels and differences between the two concepts are discussed together and placed in the context of economic and political objectives.


For a better orientation on the definitions of prosperity and good living, the facilitator should read the background text.

The following sentence beginnings are written on two different colored moderation cards:

• „For us, living a good life means:…“

• „For us, prosperity means:…“


1. (5 minutes) The participants are divided into two groups of equal size and each group receives one of the prepared moderation cards.

2. (15 minutes) The groups now have time to complete the sentence. They then write their different interpretations of prosperity or a good life on moderation cards of the same color as a group result. Care should be taken to ensure that

– there is only one thought on each card

– written large and legibly

– spelling does not play a role

The groups cluster their results and find headings for the individual categories.

4. (15 minutes) Now everyone comes back together in plenary. First, the „prosperity“ group presents their results and lays out all the moderation cards on the floor, then the „good life“ group presents their results and lays out all the moderation cards next to the cards already on the floor. If the contents of the two groups‘ results overlap, the cards are placed next to each other accordingly.

5. (10 minutes) Reflection

Now the group discusses the following key questions:

– Based on your results: Where do you see overlaps, where do you see differences between prosperity and the good life and how do you explain these?

– The political/social/economic focus is currently on prosperity. Do you know of any everyday examples that make it clear that the focus is on prosperity rather than the good life?

– One important example is the gross domestic product (GDP), which is used politically to measure the prosperity of our society. What does this say about our society/what are your thoughts on this?

– Possible final question: Would you have completed the sentences differently if they had been talking about you as individuals instead of you as a group?

Tips and hints for facilitators

It makes sense to conclude with a common definition of prosperity. The approach of the good life (Buen Vivir) is currently being pursued in several Latin American countries and is defined as a national goal in the constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuador.

Possibilities for further work

This method is suitable as an introduction to the topic of prosperity. Various prosperity indicators can then be discussed, for example. A central question could be to what extent these indicators reflect our ideas of a good and satisfying life. The „How do we measure the good life?“ method is suitable for this. (chapter 3).