Switzerland is one of the most advanced economies in the world and is ranked number one in the European region. Switzerland’s prosperous and modern market economy is buttressed by economic and political stability, a transparent legal system, a sound regulatory regime, a highly skilled labor force, an exceptionally well-developed physical and communications infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate taxes (“Switzerland” 2018). Switzerland is one of the four countries that is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) (Hill & Hult, 2018, p. 244). “Switzerland’s economic freedom score is 81.7, making it the 4th freest in the 2018 Index” (Heritage). The United States of America has an economic freedom score of 75.7, ranking as the 18th freest according to the 2018 Index. As you can see just compared to the United States of America, Switzerland ranks higher than us and also holds higher scores than the world averages.
In comparison, Switzerland’s population as of 2018 is approximately 8.5 million whereas the United States of America has a population of approximately 329.1 million. Switzerland has an actual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $679 billion. Recently experiencing a decline, Switzerland’s GDP Growth Rate is -0.2%, with an Annual Gross Domestic Product Growth Rate of 2.4% (Trading Economies). As of December 2017, Switzerland had a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of $76,667 and a GDP per capita PPP of $57,410 (Trading Economies). Switzerland has a Per Capita GDP that ranks as one of the highest in the world. Switzerland is very well known for its successful manufacturing industry with very knowledge production along with high quality (hence Swiss watches). Switzerland has a low corporate tax rate, making it an excellent destination to open and operating a business. Not only are their tax rates low, but their wages are some of the highest in the world. They can do this successfully because, their average income is about 60 percent higher. That alone allows their government to tax at a lower rate and still gain top tax dollars. What business owner would not want to live somewhere with high wages and low tax rates? As of 2018, Switzerland’s business freedom is ranked at 75.7%, labor freedom is ranked at 73.9%, and trade freedom of 90% (Heritage). Switzerland is known to be a tax-free country; the only thing is that non-citizens or whom the Swiss consider foreigners, cannot live or bank inside of these borders with the same privileges. They also have a dog tax that is paid annually and is determined by the dog’s height and weight.
The Swiss banking industry has come to play one of the biggest economic roles, representing at least 10% of the Gross Domestic Product, along with influencing tourism. Switzerland being an active member of the European Free Trade Association, they are free to determine how much protection is applied to their goods coming from outside of the participating countries of the European Free Trade Association (Hill & Hult, 2018, p. 244). Switzerland taking part in free trade, makes it one of the most versatile countries. Switzerland has an average applied tariff rate of 0.0% (Heritage).
The currency of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc. In 2015, the Swiss National Bank decided to adopt the currency to the Euro, in hops to increase its value. In reality, adopting the Euro actually caused the Swiss Franc to lose value compared to the Euro and the US Dollar. The Swiss franc’s strength has made Swiss exports less competitive and weakened the country’s growth outlook (Theodora). Switzerland seems to be a very successful country not only financially but economically all around.
The agriculture portion consist of producing grains, fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy products and livestock. Agriculture compromises of 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product and employees 3.2% of the active population (Economics and Politics Outline). Along with the main agriculture portion of dairy and livestock, Switzerland has thousands of wineries as well. “Swiss authorities grant numerous direct subsidies to farmers to meet ecological criteria, such as soil protection” (Economics and Politics Outline).
The Industry portion employees 20% of the workforce and compromises 25.6% of the Gross Domestic Product (Economics and Politics Outline). The industrial portion consists of machinery and manufactured products, chemicals, watches, textiles, tourism, banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals. High technology is popular amongst the manufacturing industry in Switzerland. All products are of high quality and reliable. With hydraulic resources available in Switzerland, it powers a portion of the energy for the country.
The Service portion consists of 73.7% of the Gross Domestic Product and employees less than three quarters of the workforce (Economics and Politics Outline). This plays a huge role with the exporting that Switzerland is known for. It also boosts tourism for the country.
Switzerland has three levels of organization consisting of its government, parliament and its courts. They are organized into federal, cantonal (with the 26 cantons being the basis), and communal. The federal constitution serves to reserve foreign relations, the army, customs examination and tariffs, value added taxes and the legislation on currency, measure and weight, railways and communication to the Swiss Confederation (Swiss Government???). Public school legislation is determined by each canton. Each canton determines the regulations and standards for education in its particular canton. Apparently with twenty-six cantons, none can agree on the same education system, resulting in 26 different education systems in the Swiss Confederation (Swiss Government???). Voting for women is more a recent decision that came about during the mid to late 90’s. Some cantons did not like (and still do not) like the idea of women being able to vote. The electorate forced the cantons who did not want to grant women the right to vote, to allow each men and women to be equal and be granted the same voting rights.
In the United States of America, we have a House of Representatives (which is one of Congress’s two chambers), that consists of around 435 members to represent all 50 states. In Switzerland, they have what is called a National Council (which is one of Switzerland’s Federal Two-Chamber Parliament), that consists of around 200 members. In the US, the second chamber of Congress is the U.S. Senate. The U.S. Senate consists of two members for each state (50 states), resulting in 100 members. In Switzerland, their second chamber of Parliament is called the Council of States. The Council of States represents each canton (like ours represents states). The Council of States also consists of two members for each full canton (which is 45 members) and a canton that is considered to be only a half canton, consists of just one member. Although their system is different, this personally seems to be a lot like the Chamber of Congress that we have representing us.
Just as Congress does for us, Switzerland’s Parliament reviews the request for new laws and determines whether to pass or veto new laws. The chambers of parliament help control the work of administration, and thoroughly debate new laws in depth (Swiss GOV??). Parliament members are not paid to be a member of parliament (like members of congress are). The members of parliament also only meet just four times a year and they meet for weeks at a time, all reviewing for new laws, what type of information that may be discussed, etc., is all studied and reviewed on their own time and before their meeting times.
The Swiss Federal Government is called Bundesrat (Conseil Federal, Consiglio Federal). The Swiss Federal Government consists of seven members and decisions are based off of each member voting, with majority rule taking the lead (as it does here as well). A member of the Swiss Federal Government can serve as many terms as he would like and be supported to do so (continuing to be re-elected in each term).
Switzerland does have a president, just like we do in the United States of America. In the United States of America, we elect our president, who can serve the maximum of two, four-year terms. In Switzerland, their president is one of the seven Federal Government members, who only serves a one year term. Each Federal Government member rotates serving as “the president” at least once, so each member has the chance to fill the shoes of president. The president in Switzerland does not have the power that the president of the United States of America does. Due to the European Union working its way towards partially being a political union, Switzerland would have to be somewhat adopting to this as well (Hill & Hult, 2018, p. 245). A political union is a central political apparatus coordinates economic, social, and foreign policy (Hill & Hult, 2018, p. 244).
The crime rate in Switzerland is very low, considering the liberal Swiss gun laws. For every one-hundred resident’s, forty-five own guns. During the 2011 election, voters rejected a proposal for stricter gun laws. This rejection also included the firearm licensing system that the Swiss government wanted to introduce. In the United States of America, I personally know on behalf of Georgia, we bear the right to carry arms and can do so by purchasing and maintaining a carry permit /license, in which I will state that I do have one and personally think it is a wonderful opportunity, especially as a female. Statics shows that there were only 0.5% murders committed with the use of a firearm to every 100,000 people in Switzerland.
Switzerland is one of the last countries to force military service on males upon them reaching the age of 18 years old. Women in the Swiss Federation have the option to enlist in the military as well.
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