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Old 28.07.2008, 02:52
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Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

Greetings!

This is my first post here on this forum. I've been thinking on and off about moving to Switzerland and I thought I'd ask a few questions about the country.

But first thing first. I am born in, and live in, Sweden. This is a great country for some people, but not for me. The environment is nice, the weather is alright (actually it is!) however disregarding climate I am not really happy here. I don't think Sweden has a sustainable future, with the nanny state, high taxes, mass surveillance etc. I could write pages about this, but I don't want my first post to contain too many complaints.

Naturally, Switzerland is appealing. I don't know that much about the country, but my impression is it's one of the most liberal countries in Europe, at least economically. Of couse, with liberal I mean in the european and not the american sense. Additionally, Switzerland is not a micronation, and it's close enough to friends and family.

So if I'm looking for a country with low taxes and general freedom from government, do you think I'd be happy in Switzerland? Really I just want to be left alone from the state; I don't want to live off other people, and I don't want others to live off me. I want to pay as little taxes as possible, and I am desperately looking for politicians somewhere who don't think it's their right to read my mail.

Cheers,
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Old 28.07.2008, 03:31
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

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do you think I'd be happy in Switzerland?
In all honestly.. only you will be able to answer that question and it might mean having to live here first.
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Old 28.07.2008, 03:48
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

Thanks vw. You are of course 100% correct.

Before I registered on this forum I browsed some old threads and most people seem to move to Switzerland either for work or for love. "Political reasons" is not as chamering, but it can't be that unusual. I'd love to hear about other peoples experience moving for this reason.
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Old 28.07.2008, 08:20
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

Hi,

So I moved here for both, work and political. I wouldn't need move for professional reasons, once even in my country of origin the work market for IT professional is pretty good and the salaries are not that bad. But as you, I was sick about pay several taxes, believe in Brazil will pay a lot of taxes, but we don't have the good standard of life as in Sweden for example, the government also tries to controls everything you do or you think, but we don't have the security as probably you have in most of European countries. That's not so long I have been living here, but I have been in Switzerland often, for work reasons since 2003 and I think here at least I can see the return of the tax we pay, a lot less than in Brazil, and still have a better standard of life I could have in Brazil even earning there an "elite" salary, once here I see I will not pay two times for services that should be provided by the government and pay again for have all this privet once what the state supplies to you is really far from what you need. Off course

I hope you can find here here in Switzerland what you expected and a nice place to live.
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Old 28.07.2008, 12:28
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

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Old 28.07.2008, 21:32
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

Hello oisp, I am also considering moving to Switzerland for political reasons. Below is a link to a thread that goes into detail about privacy matters. My post in that thread has a link to an international privacy comparison. Sadly it appears that the whole world is becoming Big Brother. Ironies of Data Protection
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Old 28.07.2008, 21:44
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

oisp, There are plenty of Swedes in Switzerland. So they obviously like it here.
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Old 28.07.2008, 23:56
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

Hello oisp, maybe if you could be more specific about taxes our answers would be more precise?

As exemple, if owe your own company, indeed Switzerland could be an interesting country, what taxes and government control concerns. That's one of the reasons why many international companies settle down in Switzerland (and other vip's); but be aware that the tax system vary from canton to canton here.

As said before, what you got for free in Sweden will cost you here, and may even affect your budget.

All in all, is it going to be a big difference? I doubt about it.

Come to explore Switzerland first...one can't be happy to live here only because of the taxes... Wälkomm!
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Old 29.07.2008, 02:53
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

Thanks for all the replies, I really appreciate it!

I do not own a company. I have in the past, and I will perhaps create a new one in the future, but the next couple of years I will just be a salaried worker. I'm a software engineer, and I have some very specialized skills so I don't believe I'll have any problems finding a job.

I don't want things "for free" from the state. I want to pay for my own insurances etc. This is why taxes is very important for me, because even if a country has publically funded health care I will still buy a private health insurance.

In my opinion Sweden is not a free country, and I'm looking for something with more freedom, in my book. Thanks to the low taxes compared to the rest of Europe, as well as the direct democracy, Switzerland scores quite high on my "freedom meter". This, as well as it's not too far away from Sweden, is why the country is so interesting to me.

Freedom is the #1 priority, not maximizing my quality of life (according to the most common measures, such as purchasing power etc). I'm sure I would live a good life materially in both USA and Norway, but I wouldn't sleep well because those countries are simply not free.

With free I mean, for example:

* Low taxes, as stated.
* The government/state should be as small as possible. Most things the state do in European countries could be better handled by private enterprise.
* The idea that you can do whatever you like as long as you don't interfere with the rights of others to do the same.
* Freedom of speech/press/religion/correspondence/assembly. I do not like when politicians think they have the authority to ban books or video games, read my mail, fingerprint me or otherwise treat me like a criminal.

Take these four points. In Sweden, I pay the highest taxes in the world (for regular workers, Denmark has higher taxes overall if you count all taxes, including corporate tax). I am not very happy with that.
Additionally, the Swedish government is incredibly large. The taxes I pay goes to countless government agencies, bureaucracy, corruption etc. In Sweden, the state is so large you get the impression you work for the state, not the other way around. Everything is highly inefficient.
The fourth point is slightly better. Freedom of speech and the press are sort of okay however you can still get all sorts of problems if you publish anything critical of the state. The freedom of correspodence is 0: the state searches through all your email after interesting keywords.

Okay, there's the complaints I told you all about.

I'm really just looking for old fashioned liberalism / libertarianism. Of course, in this regard, almost all (western) countries are better than Sweden.
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Old 29.07.2008, 10:13
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

I think I understand your concerns, Mr. Oisp. May I suggest you also consider as a potential destination? I grant you there may be little demand for specialized software engineers there, but your freedom is unfettered and absolute.
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Old 29.07.2008, 10:43
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

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oisp,
I use to live 6 years in Scandinavia (but not Sweden) and I do get your point. BUT. .....
I liked that post Elie.

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When you have the job and the salary that comes with it, you can face the bills. Taxes on your salary are very low. That's a fact. But you have to pay for the extras, including health insurance, pension funds, unimployment insurance etc...
Also, these insurances are mandatory (plus others such as TV licences) so they really need to considered as inescapable income taxes. You can't call them "user pays" as I've never used my health cover and don't watch Swiss TV

As for Swiss personal freedoms, having to register myself at the local community office, having my name on my mailbox rather than a number and having to carry ID at all times, were things that grated against my "Australian free way of life" experience. There is a saying "In Switzerland, what is not forbidden is mandatory"
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Old 29.07.2008, 10:58
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

Oisp, after living here for two years, I do feel I cannot go back to live in a country where the taxes are high, taxpayers' money is squandered or not well accounted for, rate of (violent) crime is rising, public facilities/amenities are so-so at best and where government intrudes upon the lives and minds of citizens. Switzerland is not perfect but it comes reasonably close. (Another country I might like to live in is Canada or New Zealand.)
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Old 29.07.2008, 12:01
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

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I'm really just looking for old fashioned liberalism / libertarianism. Of course, in this regard, almost all (western) countries are better than Sweden.
I think the country you're looking for is the USA. There you can pay your (low-ish?) taxes and then pay for everything else yourself.

As it's been previously stated, in Switzerland you're not only controlled by the government (I don't know about Sweden so I can't comment on your paranoia, but believe me, here the administration knows about EVERYTHING) but by your peers too.

Sure, taxes are low. Sure, it is not such a bad government (turnouts at about 50% don't mean that people are protesting, but it means that people trust their government). But don't expect to be living in the paradise of anonymity and freedom, cause that ain't happening.

Discuss.
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Old 29.07.2008, 12:30
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

If you don't like a country where the government reads your mail, wait 'till you come here and your friendly little old lady lint police at your appartment complex bangs on your door because you forgot to clean the lint trap in the dryer, took a shower after 10 p.m., or took out your trash on a Monday instead of a Tuesday.

Forget it. You'll hate it here. Switzerland is not just low taxes. Nanny state indeed.
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Old 29.07.2008, 12:33
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

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Greetings!

This is my first post here on this forum. I've been thinking on and off about moving to Switzerland and I thought I'd ask a few questions about the country.

But first thing first. I am born in, and live in, Sweden. This is a great country for some people, but not for me. The environment is nice, the weather is alright (actually it is!) however disregarding climate I am not really happy here. I don't think Sweden has a sustainable future, with the nanny state, high taxes, mass surveillance etc. I could write pages about this, but I don't want my first post to contain too many complaints.

Naturally, Switzerland is appealing. I don't know that much about the country, but my impression is it's one of the most liberal countries in Europe, at least economically. Of couse, with liberal I mean in the european and not the american sense. Additionally, Switzerland is not a micronation, and it's close enough to friends and family.

So if I'm looking for a country with low taxes and general freedom from government, do you think I'd be happy in Switzerland? Really I just want to be left alone from the state; I don't want to live off other people, and I don't want others to live off me. I want to pay as little taxes as possible, and I am desperately looking for politicians somewhere who don't think it's their right to read my mail.

Cheers,
How do you define state? i don't get the sense that people are just left alone here.....it may not be the state which is your concern...social pressures to conform can be large....


low taxes - yes, especially in certain cantons.
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Old 29.07.2008, 13:03
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

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If you don't like a country where the government reads your mail, wait 'till you come here and your friendly little old lady lint police at your appartment complex bangs on your door because you forgot to clean the lint trap in the dryer, took a shower after 10 p.m., or took out your trash on a Monday instead of a Tuesday.

Forget it. You'll hate it here. Switzerland is not just low taxes. Nanny state indeed.

Not necessarily hate it. Not true for some places.
Some social guidelines are useful and there for good reasons. One appreciates the separation of garbage and recycling efforts here, not to mention the picking up of dog poo by (most) dog owners.
No one in my apartment building has ever complained of our showering late at night and even using the hairdryer (perhaps because the walls are quite thick?). And we can take out our trash any day of the week.
No one bugs us about how we spend our free time, energy and money.
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Old 29.07.2008, 14:47
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

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Old 29.07.2008, 15:50
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

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I think the country you're looking for is the USA. There you can pay your (low-ish?) taxes and then pay for everything else yourself.
Discuss.
I could not disagree more. The US would be a terrible option based on oisp's parameters.

* With the Patriot Act and the recent FISA amendments the federal government can basically spy on any communication they want to without probable cause. They can look at your library records, financial records, and they can search your home and never tell you about it.
* A bill that Bush is about to sign into law will required that the details of every single credit card transaction to be sent to the IRS.
* When flying into the US they can confiscate your laptop, make a copy image of the hard drive, and then they might give it back to weeks later if you are lucky.
* I read that they are trying to pass a law where airport security can examine all MP3 players to see if there are any pirated songs. There is no way to determine whether an MP3 is pirated or not by looking at an MP3 player, but that won't stop the idiot politicians, I'm sure.
* The US government doesn't respect habeas corpus rights either. They have no evidence against many of the people in Guantanamo Bay, yet want to keep them indefinitely. Will they eventually start applying the "Enemy Combatant" label to non-Muslims that protest against the government policies? I don't want to stick around to find out.


Then we have the tax issue. Taxes are lower than Sweden, but do you want your taxes paying for unjust wars that end up slaughtering over a hundred thousand innocent civilians? The tax money also goes to fund torture in Guantanamo Bay as well as the secret CIA prisons around the world.

So other than those things, the US is great.
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Old 29.07.2008, 15:57
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

I know I am being a bit oversensitive but it never fails to amaze me how a thread about living in Switzerland suddenly turns into a discussion about the big bad US government....let's stay on topic if possible (so one very lengthy post refuting that the US is a great place for the OP is enough - that is not the question he is asking)

To discuss the US government, please see this thread (or a few others in off-topic)
The Land of the (not quite) Free!
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Old 29.07.2008, 16:06
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Re: Liberalism and freedom from government in Switzerland?

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About freedom of government.
I have no idea what you mean by that. I don't see Switzerland being any different than any other western democracies.
Good post overall Elie but can't agree with this statement - having lived in several western democracies, Switzerland is different in the level of local vs federal government powers and tax income division. Here, due to the tax system, local government is a lot better able to allocate spending on local initiatives than in any other democracy I've lived in.

Barbra.
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