Question Answer
0 View
Peringkat Artikel
1 звезда2 звезды3 звезды4 звезды5 звезд

What makes Switzerland so free?

Switzerland tops Europe for economic freedom

Switzerland is the most economically free country in Europe, according to an annual index by the Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank. “Notable successes” were judged to be rule of law, open markets and regulatory efficiency. A concern was control of government spending.

This content was published on February 2, 2016 February 2, 2016,
Other languages: 9 ( en original)

  • Deutsch (de) Grosse unternehmerische Freiheit in der Schweiz
  • Español (es) Suiza, en la cima de la libertad económica en Europa
  • Português (pt) Suíça encabeça Europa em liberdade econômica
  • 中文 (zh) 瑞士是欧洲经济最自由的国家
  • Français (fr) La Suisse au sommet de la liberté économique en Europe
  • عربي (ar) سويسرا تتصدّر أوروبا في مجال الحرية الإقتصادية
  • Pусский (ru) Швейцария — самая свободная страна в Европе
  • 日本語 (ja) 「経済自由度指数」 欧州ではスイスが首位に
  • Italiano (it) Svizzera, il paese europeo con l’economia più libera

“The Swiss economy benefits from high levels of flexibility and institutional strengths that include strong protection of property rights and minimum tolerance for corruption,” wrote the authors of the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom External link , which measures a country’s freedom in terms of property rights and freedom from government regulation.

“Openness to global trade and investment has enabled Switzerland to become one the world’s most competitive and innovative economies.”

Switzerland came fourth in the overall ranking External link , behind Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand. It was one of five countries, along with Australia, placed in the “free” category.

External Content

Index of economic freedom

“Mostly free” were Britain (10 th ), the United States (11 th ) and Germany (17 th ). “Moderately free” countries included France (75 th ) and Italy (86 th ). Greece (138 th ) was judged “mostly unfree” and several South American countries fell into the lowest category, “repressed”. Last place, by some distance, was North Korea, although eight mostly war-torn countries were not ranked.

The ten factors used to calculate the index are corruption in government, barriers to international trade, income tax and corporate tax rates, government expenditures, rule of law and the ability to enforce contracts, regulatory burdens, banking restrictions, labour regulations and black market activities.

The Heritage Foundation says its mission is “to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defence”.


Why Switzerland needs workers from abroad

Switzerland is an attractive place to work and the country needs specialists. But work permits can be hard to come by.

Articles in this story

  • Why Switzerland needs workers from abroad
What personality type is an empath?

In compliance with the JTI standards

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Switzerland — Politics, government, and taxation

Switzerland has developed a unique federal system with a weak collective federal government, local autonomy, and a strong, largely self-regulating civil society. Many powers are delegated to the 26 cantonal (confederate units) governments and the smaller communes (counties). For instance, it is the communes (and the population itself by referendums) that grant applying individuals Swiss citizenship.

The bicameral legislature, called the Federal Assembly, consists of a 46-member Council of States, or Standerat, whose members are elected in cantonal elections, and a 200-member National Council, or National-rat, whose members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation every 4 years. The members of the Federal Assembly select the 7 members of the Federal Council (cabinet), who lead the federal ministries for finance, foreign affairs, justice, economics, interior, transportation (with energy and environment), and defense (with sports). The mostly ceremonial position of president of the council (head of government) is rotated annually according to the seniority of the member councilors. Members sometimes exchange their responsibilities as new members are appointed, or new appointees may take over the portfolios of outgoing councilors. The council strives to present a collegial image and rule by consensus but its deliberations are private. Issues on which no consensus can be reached are determined by a secret cabinet vote and its results are not reported. The composition of the council parallels the traditional 4-party coalition that has ruled Switzerland since the late 1950s.

The 4 political groups, usually receiving 70-75 percent of the total popular vote at parliamentary elections, fill the seats on the council. These elections are held once every 4 years. These include the Free Democrats (FDP), the Christian People’s Party (CVP), and the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), all center-right parties, and the Social Democrats (SP), a left-of-center formation. The 3 largest parties by their popular vote, FDP, CVP, and SP, receive 2 seats each on the Federal Council; and the SVP gets one. In addition, there are at least 2 seats on the council reserved for French-speaking members from any party. This consensual combination of left and right wings and ethnic elements has allowed the coalition to maintain political, ethnic, and social peace, although it has been criticized by supporters of more radical moves.

Since the 1990s, the need for a more streamlined executive branch has led to the consideration of some revisions to the Swiss constitution that may eventually result in a strengthening of the president’s powers. Any revision of the legislation, however, is slow and is subject to a referendum challenge before coming into force. Treaties and agreements approved by the 200-seat Nationalrat (parliament) are also subject to challenge by popular vote in the unique Swiss system of people’s initiative and referendum. Virtually every major decision in the country may be put to vote by all the citizens. Only 100,000 signatures are required by law for a people’s initiative (petition) to be put to a referendum. The system allows strong popular involvement in the federal and local government and keeps both branches under a close and constant civic scrutiny.

What organ is responsible for serotonin?

The approval of the bilateral agreements with the European Union (EU) and the rejection of the initiative to limit the proportion of foreigners at the 2 referendums in 2000 were welcomed with relief by the federal government. Given the fresh controversy over the treatment of Holocaust victims by Swiss banks during and after World War II (1939-45), a vote in favor of foreigners’ restriction and against the EU agreements would have presented a serious embarrassment for the government and would gravely damage the country’s reputation abroad.

European integration policy remains an important focus of political debates, as the government remains convinced that strategic national interests would be best protected by a complete integration into the EU. Switzerland is not economically disadvantaged by staying outside the EU. In the late 1990s, it has been doing better than EU leaders Germany or Italy, growing at a rate unseen since the 1980s, when Switzerland was regarded as Europe’s economic model. It also has an uniquely massive balance of foreign payments surplus equal to more than 8 percent of its GDP.

Switzerland lies in the center of Europe, and almost two-thirds of its exports are shipped to EU members, and four-fifths of its imports come from the union. Consequently, Switzerland’s future prosperity is definitely related to the development of the EU. Many Swiss feel that their country is becoming isolated in Europe. The fact that Switzerland submitted 16 proposals for negotiation to the EU headquarters in Brussels and had to be satisfied with finalizing only 7 of them might indicate that it needs the EU more than vice versa.

Some feel Switzerland is also losing its position in international financial circles. In 1983, the world’s leading industrial countries invited Switzerland, as an exception, to share membership in the Group of Ten—with the world’s largest economies—but when the leading finance ministers decided in 1999 to form the Group of 20 of the «systemically most important countries,» Switzer-land’s name was missing. Thus the Swiss no longer have a reserved seat at the top table of the world’s economic deliberations. Furthermore, Switzerland, along with small countries like the Vatican and Tuvalu, has so far refused to join the United Nations (UN), although it is a big financial contributor to the organization and hosts the UN office in Geneva plus many other international organizations. It also refuses to be drawn into peacekeeping and peacemaking operations on the grounds that this would jeopardize its neutrality. Still, Switzerland’s influence in the world is far higher than its size and even its economic capacity might suggest.

What organs does psoriatic arthritis affect?

Switzerland has long since developed a market economy based on free initiative, and government participation in the economy is rather moderate. Freedom of trade and industry are guaranteed by the federal and the cantonal constitutions; state intervention is limited, primarily aimed at providing a favorable economic framework, stable currency and prices, efficient infrastructures, and training the workers. In most areas, the federal government legislates and supervises, but the 26 cantonal governments implement the decisions and enforce the laws. The cantons enjoy a high degree of administrative authority, and their own constitutions and laws. The communes (counties), over 3,000 in number, also have independence, control over all local issues, and collect their own taxes. All levels of government have little involvement in manufacturing and services, but their role is considerable in agriculture protection and in trade regulation. Indirect involvement is particularly reflected in the large number of government regulations, especially at the local level. Rules concerning labor laws, business hours, zoning rules, building codes, environmental and noise codes, and administered prices may seem quite pervasive opposed to the United States or even the EU. Obligatory health insurance is another example of the local approach to state involvement in the economy: insurance and health care are provided privately, but the law requires employees to have the insurance. The government subsidizes those who cannot afford it. In the area of competition, unlike the United States and the EU, legislation is loose and cartels in Switzerland have been openly permitted and only broken up when the government has been able to prove that they are socially and economically harmful, which has seldom been the case. In 1996, a new law strengthened the government’s antitrust position in mergers, shifting the burden of proof from the court to corporations engaged in anti-competitive activities. Even by EU standards, the new law was relatively weak.

Swiss tax revenues accounted for 35 percent of GDP in 1998, far below the EU average of 41.5 percent and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average of 37.2 percent. The level of taxation has risen somewhat during the 1990s, reflecting higher social security and medical insurance costs, as well as a lack of economic growth. But the Swiss tax system is widely known in the world business circles for its fairness and is characterized by moderate local and foreign operating income taxation and tax exemption of holding-company income. For this reason, many foreign companies have set up holdings or mixed Swiss subsidiaries to conduct international operations from Switzerland in order to take advantage of lower taxes on their foreign income. Branches of foreign corporations are liberally taxed at the same rate as domestic corporations, unlike many other nations more protective of their national capital. Switzerland has undertaken to make itself even more fiscally attractive for corporate investors, and a corporate tax reform at the federal level removed the annual federal tax on capital in 1998, setting a fixed federal tax on profits at a rate of 8.5 percent.

What NFL team scored 73 points in a game?

Sadly, America’s Not the Freest Country in the World

The U.S. used to come in second or third in rankings, but according to the latest Human Freedom Index it’s at 17.

Large image on homepages

(Daniel Mennerich/flickr)

Is America the world’s freest country? Sadly, no.

When researchers first started doing detailed international comparisons, the USA came in second or third. This year, however, we ranked 17th.

The comparison I cite is the newly released Human Freedom Index, compiled by the Fraser and Cato Institutes. They compared economic freedoms such as freedom to trade, amount of regulations and tax levels, plus personal freedoms such as women’s rights and religious freedom.

Their new report concludes that the world’s freest countries are now:

1. Switzerland.
2. Hong Kong.
3. New Zealand.
4. Ireland.
5. Australia.

«The United States used to have one of the freest economies in the world,» Index co-author Ian Vasquez says. «It used to be a two, three or four, and then government started to grow [and] spend more.»

Republicans and Democrats, under Presidents Bush and Obama, voted for increases in spending and regulation. Obama tried to make tax increases sound harmless. «Those who are more fortunate are going to have to pay a little bit more.»

The result was that we fell farther from the top of the freedom ranking. Switzerland now takes first place. It has comparatively little regulation, low taxes, a free press and personal freedoms such as same-sex marriage.

A good ranking matters, not just because freedom itself is a good thing, but because economic freedom allows people to prosper.

Consider the story of Hong Kong, No. 2 on the overall freedom list (but No. 1 in economic freedom). In just 50 years, people in Hong Kong went from being among the poorest in the world to among the richest.

What pets can be left alone all day?

Prosperity happened because Hong Kong’s government puts few obstacles in the way of trying new things. It took me just a few hours to get legal permission to open a business in Hong Kong. In New York, it took months. In India, I didn’t even try—it would have taken years.

That’s a reason India stays poor. Bureaucrats have the power to review and reject most any new idea. Fewer new ideas get tried.

The absolute worst places to live are countries that lack both economic and personal freedom.

Those are the places at the bottom of the freedom ranking:

155. Egypt.
156. Yemen.
157. Libya.
158. Venezuela.
159. Syria.

(Totalitarian North Korea wasn’t ranked because the researchers couldn’t get accurate information.)

Syria ranked so low mostly because of the war. You aren’t free if you worry you might be killed.

Second-to-last place Venezuela was once the richest country in Latin America. Then socialists promised to spread the wealth.

The next three: Libya, Yemen, Egypt—well, the Arab Spring didn’t turn out as well as some hoped.

On the top of the list, I wasn’t surprised to see New Zealand and Australia. They always do well.

But Ireland? I associate Ireland with poverty. For 150 years after English rulers caused the Potato Famine, Irish people left Ireland to search for a better life.

But Ireland recently changed, says Vasquez.

«They reduced taxes… spending, reduced regulations. They opened up to trade.»

Now people want to live there.

You can read the full freedom rankings on the Cato Institute’s and Fraser Institute’s websites. If you plan to move or start a business in another country, the Freedom Index is a good guide.

Greece is beautiful, but it ranks 60th, mostly because the country lacks economic freedom. China got richer, but because personal freedom is so limited, China ranks 130th.

How do you summarize a free country? I asked Vasquez.

«You can lead your life any way you want as long as you respect the equal rights of others, he answered. You [decide] what job you want to take, what kinds of things you want to do, who you want to marry, what you want to do on your free time, where you want to live.»

I suggested that countries don’t regulate your free time, but Vasquez set me straight.

«They do.» Some countries, he says, «regulate everything


Related: How Free Is America?

Ссылка на основную публикацию