29 March 2008

Springtime in Switzerland: Booming Economy, Hardworking People, Troubling Future Trends

A century ago, Switzerland was poorer than Argentina. But now, the country is booming, and ranked behind only the US in terms of productivity and competitiveness internationally.
For much of its history, Switzerland was a backward society of farmers and tradespeople. It had scant natural resources and was so poor that many of its young people emigrated to America in order to make a living (Albert Gallatin, Thomas Jefferson’s treasury secretary, and John Sutter, who set off California’s Gold Rush, were two notable examples). Just a century ago, Switzerland was much poorer than Argentina.

Today, Switzerland looms much larger in the world economy than its small size and population of only 7.5 million people would lead one to guess. Its passion for quality has raised global standards worldwide in fields from pharmaceuticals to biotechnology to medical devices. It ranks among the top 20 global exporters. When only services are considered, Switzerland ranks among the top 12 exporters.

...Europe is by far the most important Swiss trading partner, with four-fifths of all imported goods and almost two-thirds of all exported goods being traded with the EU. But the ties between the United States and Switzerland, which share a similar federal democratic structure, are extensive. The United States is the biggest foreign investor in Switzerland, and Switzerland represents the sixth-largest foreign investor in the United States. Indeed, America imports more Swiss goods than any other country except Germany. As a direct investor in the States, Switzerland’s share is greater than all of Latin America, Africa, and Asia (excluding Japan) combined.

...Overall, Swiss financial institutions have an enviable reputation. Zurich is an international center for bond trading; Geneva is both the world’s third-biggest oil-trading center after London and New York and also a renowned center for private banking. “The Swiss are famous for being discrete and service-oriented,” says Kevin Milne, the managing director of the International Capital Market Association Ltd. “Private banking has a long legacy in Switzerland. There is a compelling logic that if you are wealthy, want to minimize your tax, and not display your wealth, you choose Switzerland for your banking.”

But there are warning signs that all is not serene in the Swiss economy. For one thing, immigration has become a hot-button political issue as asylum seekers and guest workers brought in for short-term job assignments increasingly find ways to stay. Evidence of popular discontent can be found in the spectacular rise in support for the People’s Party. Led by Christoph Blocher, the party became the largest in the country during the last few years. It won 29 percent of the vote in the October 2007 parliamentary elections, running in part on a platform of tightening asylum laws and making it easier to deport criminal aliens and their children. Blocher’s electoral success so upset the status quo of Swiss politics that the other parties combined to engineer his departure from the seven-member executive council that runs the country. ___American.com
Apparently, ordinary Swiss people do not want their country taken over by guest workers who refuse to leave. But if Swiss rulers refuse to deport criminal aliens and their children, how long can Switzerland remain for the Swiss?

Obviously, Italy, Spain, Belgium and many other European countries are further down the demographic decline than is Switzerland. But you would think that given the fierce independence of the Swiss people that if any nation was willing to take a stand against the dark forces of intolerance descending over Europe like an locust plague, it would be the Swiss.

Geert Wilders has released his video "Fitna" onto the web, despite numerous death threats against him by religious terrorists, and political threats against him by political terrorists. I have posted the video on Abu Al-Fin. Also be sure to check out this remarkable compilation of sources for Fitna downloads, and other videos and resources on the current worldwide jihad.

Europeans from all parts of Europe need to contemplate the futures of their countries, should they delay in dealing with this problem. Even the Swiss living in their mountain redoubt are under threat.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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