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Daily Financial News Analysis – 10th Nov’19 | PDF Download

 

What India can learn from Switzerland

  • Scandinavia is wealthy and  democratic as the United States but more equal, with affordable health care and college for all.
  • However Switzerland is far richer and  just as fair as any Scandinavian nation.
  • Switzerland is a $700 billion economy
  • It is among the world’s 20 largest  economy bigger than any in Scandinavia.
  • Steady growth recently pushed it past  Norway as the world’s richest nation with an average income of $82,000.
  • Surveys also rank it among the  happiest countries, and it delivers welfare benefits as comprehensive as Scandinavia
  • Switzerland has achieved this with a  smaller government and a more open and stable economy.
  • In recent decades Switzerland has  widened its income lead over Scandinavia, and narrowed the gap in terms of inequality.
  • The middle class now holds about 70%  of the wealth in both Switzerland and Scandinavia.
  • The big difference: the typical Swiss  family has a net worth around $540,000, twice its Scandinavian peer.
  • For the most part however  intellectuals ignore Switzerland as a model, perhaps put off by its outdated reputation as a shady little tax haven.
  • In 2015, Switzerland agreed under  pressure to share bank records with foreign tax authorities, but that has not slowed the economy at all.
  • Switzerland always was more than  secretive banks.
  • Capitalist to its core, Switzerland’s  highest individual tax rate is 36%, the lowest in Europe.
  • Government spending amounts to a  third of gross domestic product, compared to half in Scandinavia.
  • Only one in seven Swiss work for the  government, also half the Scandinavian average.
  • Switzerland is more open to trade,  with a share of global exports at least double that of any Scandinavian economy.
  • Streamlined government and open  borders have helped make this landlocked, mountainous country an unlikely incubator of globally competitive companies in industries from biotech to engineering.
  • Thirteen of the top 100 European  companies are based here, twice as many as the four Scandinavian nations combined.
  • Though the Swiss franc has been rising  steadily in recent years, it has not undercut exports from Switzerland, one of the few rich countries that continues to expand its share of global exports.
  • Such is the Swiss reputation for  excellence, customers readily pay more for its goods.
  • Switzerland has not been hit by a domestic financial crisis since the 1970s.
  • No paradise is perfect.
  • Trying to slow the rise of the franc, Switzerland cut interest rates to record lows ahead of its European peers.
  • This has triggered a lending boom that has driven corporate and household debt up to 250% of GDP.
  • The Swiss are a polyglot mix of German, French and Italian speakers, many intimidatingly fluent in multiple languages.
  • Switzerland has been welcoming more immigrants than any Scandinavian country since the 1950s.
  • It is on track to accept 260,000 immigrants between 2015 and 2020, expanding its population by 3% – one of the highest immigration rates in the developed world.
  • It filters immigrants to fill jobs, not unite families or meet humanitarian needs.
  • It is also a widely admired model of how rich economies can employ immigrants to plug holes in ageing domestic work forces.
  • The Swiss labour force gets an added boost from a meritocratic public school system that starts steering students as young as 12 toward their academic strengths.
  • Its world class universities charge average annual tuition of only $1,000, and leave graduates thousands of dollars less in debt than Scandinavian schools.
  • The real lesson of Swiss success is that the stark choice offered by many politicians – between private enterprise and social welfare – is a false one.
  • A pragmatic country can have a business friendly environment alongside social equality, if it gets the balance right.
  • The Swiss have become the world’s richest nation by getting it right, and their model is hiding in plain sight.

 

 

 

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