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Thomas Druyen (born July 2, 1957 in Süchteln) is a German sociologist. Druyen is considered one of the most renowned researchers on Ethical Wealth (Vermögen) and the Culture of Wealth (Vermögenskultur) in the German-speaking world. He holds the only chair in Europe for Vergleichende Vermögenskultur (Comparative Culture of Wealth) at the Sigmund Freud University Vienna. In 2009 he was appointed Director of the newly established Institute for the Science of Ethical Wealth at the Sigmund Freud University.
Life and scientific career
Born in 1957 in Süchteln / Niederrhein near Düsseldorf, Thomas Druyen read law, sociology, media science and philology at the University of Münster as well as anthropology at the University of Colombo. He graduated from the University of Münster with a Master of Arts degree in 1988, completed a PhD in 1990 and his postdoctoral qualification in 2004. The same year he was appointed honorary professor at the Department for Economic and Social Sciences at the Széchenyi István University, where he was also director at the Institute for the Dialogue of Generations between 1999 and 2004. Since 2004, Druyen has been teaching at the Institute for Sociology at the Westphalian Wilhelms University where he also held the position of director at the Forum for Wealth Research as of September 2006. He has also been active at the Institute for Culture- and Media Management at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Between 2000 and 2004, Druyen was Member of the Board of the Swiss Peter Ustinov Foundation. Since 2001, Druyen has been Curatorship President of the Foundation Dialogue of Generations in Düsseldorf, which he founded in 1999. In addition, he was chairman of the curatorship of the Kloster Steinfeld Foundation from 2004 to 2009. As of March 1, 2007, he is university professor holding the chair for Comparative Culture of Wealth at the Sigmund Freud University Vienna. In 2009 he was appointed Director of the newly founded Institute for the Science of Ethical Wealth, which now comprises his research activities in the field of Vermögenskultur.
Research of Vermögen (Ethical Wealth) and Vermögenskultur (Culture of Vermögen)
Druyen is currently considered the most renowned researcher in the field of Vermögen (Ethical Wealth) in Europe. The German term of “Vermögen”, which does not only include the sum of material property, but also its qualitative use and other human values, does not have an adequate translation of a similar connotation in any other language. In his studies, Druyen explores the influence of large private fortune on society. For this purpose, Druyen carried out numerous interviews with so far scientifically mainly unexplored rich and super rich individuals around the world. Concluding that a qualitative dimension had to be added to the monetary dimension, Druyen coined the term Vermögenskultur (Culture of Wealth). Vermögenskultur shows the difference between the terms fortune and Ethical Wealth as “Vermögen” – Vermögen therefore being able to create a social dimension whereas fortune remains isolated. Druyen describes this fundamental difference between fortune and Vermögen in detail in his book “Goldkinder – the world of Vermögen”. A new scientific book with the title “Fortune and Vermögen” (“Reichtum und Vermögen”) had been co-released by Druyen in September 2009, featuring several articles of leading scientists regarding fortune and Vermögenskultur as a science and the difference between both.
The focus of Druyen’s research is on those rich and super rich individuals, who use their manifold potential to take on social responsibility for the future of society. Both material and immaterial Vermögen oblige the “owner” to participate actively in the shaping of the social future. In his book “Goldkinder”, Druyen stresses the responsibility of ethics of wealth, of making the wealthy, in contrast to the rich, aware of their responsibility for society and to encourage them to act on this responsibility. Thus, the concept of Vermögenskultur is considering all the material and immaterial social values which serve the protection and enhancement of a society’s future.
„In the past one hundred years, our life-expectancy has increased by thirty years. This gain in lifetime documents a unique development in the history of mankind. Despite this spectacular chance, age has a bad image and the won years remain in a social vacuum.”  Druyen's research on the aging society has caused a completely new debate on demographic change in Germany's Press. Druyen consciously contrasts the generally negative image of age with a positive age-image. Thereby, he clearly sets himself apart from other researchers on the subject of the aging society, who perceive this demographic change as a social threat. In fact, it is essential to discover this newly won potential of age and to make use of the chances that emerge from it for the public good. Druyen demands a social re-imaging of age. He discloses how the subjective self-awareness of older people stands in great contrast to the social fears of aging. Druyen's research can be detected in all areas of public discussion, not least in the debate about retiring at 67. Druyen's book “Life's Olympus – a new Image of Age” very quickly became a standard work and served as basis for Druyen's new field of research Culture of Wealth, by advancing basic elements from the demographic research and thereby reaching a social dimension. “Thank God Thomas Druyen carried out research on the future of age and brought astounding information to light.” Sir Peter Ustinov
Selected list of works
- Menschendämmerung. ISBN 3-88611-033-8
- Die Wahrnehmung der Pluralität. ISBN 3-927949-99-X
- Olymp des Lebens - Das neue Bild des Alters. ISBN 3-472-05671-1
- Goldkinder – Die Welt des Vermögens. ISBN 978-3-938017-85-2
- Reichtum und Vermögen - Zur gesellschaftlichen Bedeutung der Reichtums- und Vermögensforschung. ISBN 978-3-531-15928-7
- Vermögen in Deutschland - Heterogenität und Verantwortung. ISBN 978-3-531-17689-5
- Vermögenskultur - Verantwortung im 21. Jahrhundert. ISBN 978-3-531-17375-7
- Die Zukunft des Alters. ISBN 978-3-902626-26-4
- Happy Princes - The Empowerment of Wealthibility. ISBN 978-3-902626-28-8
- Krieg der Scheinheiligkeit. Plädoyer für einen gesunden Menschenverstand. ISBN 978-3-9814141-4-1
- London Speaker Bureau
- "Blick in die Seelen der Milliardäre". Die Welt. 22 April 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
- "Der Vermesser des Reichtums". Die Zeit. 4 April 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
- "Reich ist nicht vermögend". Die Welt. 10 June 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
- Olymp des Lebens. Das Neue Bild des Alters. (Life's Olympus – a new Image of Age.) ISBN 3-472-05671-1
- Olymp des Lebens. Das Neue Bild des Alters. (Life's Olympus – a new Image of Age.) 9-10