Tag: Switzerland

Switzerland’s Long Fight for Fiscal Policy Independence

By Daniel Szewc | Switzerland

Switzerland has long been known for being a fiscally responsible (most often caused by internal competition between the Cantons) banker nation. Yet since the EU has grown in influence, so has their unitarian nature. With this comes an extreme blood-thirst for monotony, as well as a lack of competition.

In March 2011, the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, pressured the Swiss national bank to cap the swiftly strengthening Franc to the Euro. This was the natural conclusion of Switzerland, which already had ditched the gold standard on the first of May, 2000. How ironic is it, that it happened on the communist holiday of 05/01? This capping, whilst certainly hurting the Franc’s fame as a sure way to keep one’s assets intact in cases of war, lasted for 3 years, until 2014.

In a frantic move by Swiss elites, who sensed that EU leaders were too busy with Middle-Eastern immigrants, tried to also force down the partial re-institution of the gold standard via expanding the national bank’s fractional reserve (modern banking system) banking from an 8% coverage of the Franc’s value in gold to 20%. This would lead to investors being more likely to use the Franc and would help their economy greatly. Yet, as Karl Marx said, “Democracy is the road to socialism”. The referendum failed, with only about 20% of the population voting to support the fiscal counter-revolution.

However, citizens do realize when something was better in the past – there is still hope! Switzerland is going to have another referendum in June, this time proposing the complete abolishing of the Fractional Reserve Banking, and the abolishing of debt currency. The referendum, organised by the Vollgeld Initiative, will have a bigger effect on you than you can imagine.

Right now, a bank may lend you money that it does not have. It “creates” it using computer code, automatically stripping away part of the money’s value, and increasing inflation. All the bank needs to hold is a fraction of the money it lends. This was the reason why many irresponsible banks collapsed in 2008. Most international banks have their main headquarters in the ever-neutral Switzerland. If this referendum gets over half the votes, all of these banks will adopt these rules, making a global difference. Expect the value of money to deflate considerably less.

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The USA is not the Best Country in the World

By James Sweet III | USA

US News & World Report has released its rankings of the best countries in the world, and the results may or may not shock you. Economic influence, citizenship, and quality of life were found among the 65 factors that were taken into consideration for this list. 21,000 men and women were asked to rank 80 countries based off of these factors. Surely, from what the American populace has been told, the United States would be number one. To the surprise of some, this is simply not true. In fact, the USA is not even in the top five. So, who placed where?

10. The Netherlands

Men and women selected the Netherlands as the tenth best country overall. Also, it was a top ten finisher in the following categories: most business-friendly, most modern, entrepreneurship, quality of life, best countries to headquarter a corporation, raising kids, travel alone, most transparent countries, green living, and women. Clearly, the Dutch nation, though small, seems to be very mighty.

9. France

France, though recently ravaged by terrorist attacks and political conflicts, ranked ninth overall. The culturally rich nation ranked in the top ten for the following factors: cultural influence, power, heritage & richest traditions, most influential, education, and starting a career. However, this shouldn’t come as a shock to many. The Eiffel Tower and many other pieces of French art and culture are renowned around the world.

8. The United States of America

Come on, America. Can’t you do better? After all, we are the land of the free and the home of the brave! Well, at least we ranked in the top ten for cultural influence, entrepreneurship, power, most forward-looking, most influential, and education. Some may disagree with this, but it seems that is how civilization sees the USA.

7. Australia

Our friends down under seemed to edge above us this time. Although they lost the Emu War, they won when it came to this list. Ranking top ten in cultural influence, most modern, quality of life, most-forward looking, best countries to headquarter a corporation, raising kids, traveling alone, green living, investing in, education, retiring comfortably, and women, it seems the Australians are having a fun time outback.

6. Sweden

Sweden, despite conflicts due to mass migration, once again finished with a spot in the top ten. The Scandinavian nation ranked highly in: most business-friendly, cultural influence, most modern, entrepreneurship, quality of life, best countries to headquarter a corporation, raising kids, transparency, green living, education, retiring comfortably, and women.

5. Japan

This shouldn’t come as a shock, considering that Japan is a peaceful, extravagant, culturally influential nation. This can be contrasted to the high levels of tension in much of Eastern Asia. Placing in the top ten for cultural influence, entrepreneurship, power, up & coming economies, most-forward looking, most influential, green living, and education, the island nation of Japan seems to have a bright future ahead of them.

4. The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island once used to rule the waves. Now, they rule the rankings. The former British Empire placed in the top ten for cultural influence, entrepreneurship, power, starting a business, most forward-looking, most influential, transparency, education, and starting a career. Despite a lack of unification within the nation, the UK finished with an impressive showing.

3. Germany

From Holy Roman Empire to Federal Republic, the nation of Germany has risen and fallen. Today, Germany is once again a leader of European and world politics. They placed in the top ten for: being the most modern, entrepreneurship, quality of life, power, most forward-looking, headquartering a corporation, most influential, transparency, green living, education, and women. Where’s the ranking for best bratwurst?

2. Canada

The culturally diverse nation of Canada finished as number two on this list. It’s always nice to see another North American nation on this list. #Represent. They were in the top ten for most business-friendly, most modern, entrepreneurship, quality of life, starting a business, most forward-looking countries, headquartering a corporation, raising kids, transparency, green living, education, retiring comfortably, and women.

1. Switzerland

Finally, the glorious Swiss Republic, known for its armed neutrality and semi-direct democracy, finished in first for the second year in a row. Unsurprisingly, they were ranked in the top ten for a number of categories. These include the most business-friendly, cultural influence, most modern, entrepreneurship, quality of life, starting a business, most forward-looking countries, headquartering a corporation, raising kids, transparency, green living, education, retiring comfortably and women.

If Switzerland’s name wasn’t there, many Americans would likely believe the USA was actually number one in the world.  Yet, we have seen that the USA only ranked as the eighth best country. Perhaps, the government should take some notes from the Swiss.

(Image courtesy of www.wonderfulengineering.com)

Libertarian Paradise: Liechtenstein

By Jackson Parker | LIECHTENSTEIN

The Principality of Liechtenstein situated on the eastern border of Switzerland goes unnoticed by many despite its record achievements. The small country, only spanning a total of 62 square miles, has proven themselves to the world that they can run an efficient country for its citizens. Liechtenstein holds one of the highest ratings of GDP per capita in the world, first if not adjusting for purchasing power parity. It has an astounding human development index of .912, above numbers such as the UK’s, Japan’s and South Korea’s. The country’s population of around 37,000 have had a minuscule unemployment rating of less than 3%.

But with this extreme economic prosperity, something surely must be the cause.

The cause is the libertarian tendencies of the country’s policy.

With 88% of the legislature belonging to fiscally right-wing parties, the people of Liechtenstein have one of the freest economies in the world. Liechtenstein holds some of the lowest tax rates in the world which a basic personal income tax of 1.2% and corporate profits are only taxed 12.5%. This economic freedom has allowed the small country to have more registered companies than citizens that make up for its lack of natural resources with opportunity in an extremely strong financial sector.

The sitting Prince of Liechtenstein, Hans-Adam II also strongly believes in the ideas of liberty stated in his book, The State in the Third Millennium.

“I would like to set out in this book the reasons why the traditional state as a monopoly enterprise not only is an inefficient enterprise with a poor price-performance ratio, but even more importantly, becomes more of a danger for humanity the longer it lasts.”
-HSH Sovereign Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, The State in the Third Millennium, Introduction (Page 2)

The nation-state of Lichtenstein does an excellent job of eliminating government overreach by employing federalism to its 11 autonomous municipalities. This shrinking of the federal government allows freedom to breathe inside of the tightly woven communities atop the Alps.

“The State should treat its citizens like an enterprise treats its customers. For this to work, the State also needs competition. We therefore support the right of self-determination at the municipal level, in order to end the monopoly of the State over its territory.”
-HSH Sovereign Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein

With the massive successes in economic and human development, Liechtenstein presents a favorable case towards how smaller government benefits everyone involved. With legislation to eliminate overstepping government regulations, taxes, and control, perhaps the whole world can take a card out of the Alpine microstate’s playbook to further the freedom of their citizens and to promote economic growth inside of their own borders.

A Swiss Town is Paying People to Live There

By Dylan Byrne | USA

The town of Albinen in Switzerland is currently voting to offer adults 25,000 Swiss francs and children 10,000 Swiss francs (approximately $25,500 and $10,200 respectively) who commit to living there for a minimum of ten years.

Located in the mountains near Leukerbad in the canton of Valais, this village offers breathtaking views and a closely-knit community of hard-working citizens. Although isolated, the commune is within the close proximity of a number of large cities in which a sustainable job may be procured. It is a perfect choice for individuals who wish to maintain a solitary style of living and become heavily involved in the activities of the neighborhood.

The vote comes as Albinen is in desperate need of newcomers, as their diminutive population of only 240 residents continues to diminish, hurting the community’s economic success. Albinen has suffered a severe loss to its population, having become so bad that the village had to close down its public school due to the departure of three families, and many of the houses in the area are vacant throughout most of the year and act exclusively as vacation homes. The past residents, which consist primarily of young adults, have been turned away by the lack of opportunities provided by this quaint village.

The newsletter which described the community’s plan explains that “It is an investment the village’s future. In a best-case scenario, even the village school will reopen.” Officials have high hopes for this plan and believe that it will return Albinen to its former glory as a prosperous neighborhood.

Quite obviously, there are some catches. The house one decides to occupy must be worth at least 200,000 Swiss francs (approximately $203,000), it must be the individual’s primary residence, and he/she who owns the property must not be older than 45 years of age.

If you’ve ever dreamed of living a peaceful life free from the stress of urban living, then this may possibly be the offer of a lifetime for you.