Paid work has long been the chief ordering principle in the social structure of the personal lives of individuals, the source of their emancipation and the measure of their success. In recent decades, however, it has lost this potential. The dream of full employment has vanished and it may be necessary to rethink the attitude whereby citizens are understood as working citizens, whose rights are derived from their paid work. A number of authors have tried to come to terms with this new reality, which gives rise to various possible scenarios for the future development of society. Is paid work perhaps ceasing to be a requirement and becoming a privilege? For the time being scenarios of this kind are of course in many ways purely visionary in character and founded on ideological bases. Therefore, how realistic they in fact are may be viewed with considerable scepticism. Nonetheless, they evidently address a problem that societies in the developed industrial countries will also be forced to deal with in the near future.