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  #21  
Old 14.09.2012, 10:39
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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their sons can no longer live in the city due to housing prices, etc etc.
As almost every property is owned and rented out by Swiss, the blame is obvious. Greedy Swiss landlords and Swiss property companies. Blaming foreigners is irrational.
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Old 14.09.2012, 10:40
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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This is one of the contradictions in Switzerland that I do not fully understand. If, as Prosperity argues, the country would choose 'the Swiss' before the 'others', it seems estrange that the educational system makes it so hard for the local kids to make it to the university. Especially because, simultaneously, the country fosters international companies to settle here through low taxation, being the result that the high pay jobs land in the 'foreigner' hands that Prosperity criticises (yes there is not enough qualified workforce for all those multinationals, at least in my experience). A review of the educational system by allowing more kids to the uni would solve many problems, from reducing costs to companies via increased local contracting ( and less HR competition) to a fair distribution of well paid work places. Which leads to less social fracture. Creating a bubble of rich foreigners among local families with modest income is not positive, neither for locals -it is simply unfair, nor for foreigners that see an anti-foreign sentiment grow fostered by the salary comparative disadvantage of many Swiss families.
You should not forget that the term university does not have the same meaning all over the world. In Switzerland "Fachhochschulen" (university of applied science) and "Höhere Fachschulen" (maybe: institute of higher learning) are not counted as universities. All of these would be counted as universities in other countries. If you include the above mentioned institutions then the "university" attendance rate of Switzerland suddenly is above 40%.

In my opinion the Swiss education system is much better than the system of other countries where billions are spend in order to make people acquire skills they will never need or are not even really needed by society.
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Old 14.09.2012, 10:56
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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This is one of the contradictions in Switzerland that I do not fully understand. If, as Prosperity argues, the country would choose 'the Swiss' before the 'others', it seems estrange that the educational system makes it so hard for the local kids to make it to the university, and simultaneously the country fosters international companies to settle here through low taxation, being the result that the high pay jobs land in the 'foreigner' hands that Prosperity despises as there is not enough qualified workforce. A review of the educational system by allowing more kids to the uni would solve many problems, from reducing costs to companies via increased local contracting ( and less HR competition) to a fair distribution of well paid work places to less social fracture. Creating a bubble of rich foreigners among local families with modest income is not positive, neither for locals -it is simply unfair, nor for foreigners that see an anti-foreign sentiment grow fostered by the salary comparative disadvantage of many Swiss families.
I have a little sympathy for this, there could be a few more Swiss kids in Uni, but not much more. First off, I would say the rich foreigners are in the minority, many pinched "as rich" to the benefit of Switzerland. So I don't see them being rich at the expense of locals. If you look at many local kids who don't go to Uni, they actually end up better off financially than us graduates who come here to settle and work. Graduates who arrive here are the success stories of their respective countries, don't forget. A Swiss who becomes a skilled trades person, an Architect without any formal training, and electrician who starts a small business employing a couple of graduates from Eastern Europe as assistant labourers, they all do pretty well, have a good life, lack the stress of an office bound job, and earn more than most PhD's and graduates ever will, a relatively high wage consistently for 40 years, not simply X years good contracting followed by gradual decline.

If you look at ETH, according to US surveys, in the top 5 non US Unis globally. This is in part because of the high standard of intake. Newham Poly could never get there. Stuffing in a load of unsuitable, uninterested locals lowers standards, stuffs the economy, but greatly benefits politicians.
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Old 14.09.2012, 11:00
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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You should not forget that the term university does not have the same meaning all over the world. In Switzerland "Fachhochschulen" (university of applied science) and "Höhere Fachschulen" (maybe: institute of higher learning) are not counted as universities. All of these would be counted as universities in other countries. If you include the above mentioned institutions then the "university" attendance rate of Switzerland suddenly is above 40%.
...while still a 'Fachschule' title is paid much less than an university title in Switzerland. Note that I do not speak about level of knowledge or status that the education gives, I speak about money. About the much higher pay for University titles here, which are not accessed by Swiss.
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Old 14.09.2012, 11:26
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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I have a little sympathy for this, there could be a few more Swiss kids in Uni, but not much more. First off, I would say the rich foreigners are in the minority, many pinched "as rich" to the benefit of Switzerland. So I don't see them being rich at the expense of locals. If you look at many local kids who don't go to Uni, they actually end up better off financially than us graduates who come here to settle and work. Graduates who arrive here are the success stories of their respective countries, don't forget. A Swiss who becomes a skilled trades person, an Architect without any formal training, and electrician who starts a small business employing a couple of graduates from Eastern Europe as assistant labourers, they all do pretty well, have a good life, lack the stress of an office bound job, and earn more than most PhD's and graduates ever will, a relatively high wage consistently for 40 years, not simply X years good contracting followed by gradual decline.

If you look at ETH, according to US surveys, in the top 5 non US Unis globally. This is in part because of the high standard of intake. Newham Poly could never get there. Stuffing in a load of unsuitable, uninterested locals lowers standards, stuffs the economy, but greatly benefits politicians.
While my perception of salary levels is very different (most of us do have a higher salary than the local plumber / bank employee / etc), I agree in that narrowing the entry chances to ETH improves the level of the graduates, as only the very best will get in. I wonder if in this case quality pays off quantity, when quality has to come from outside and quantity remains in at lower pay. While technically this rule favours the ones that worked more, be it here or in their countries, I can not help smelling a taint of unfairness, as societal rules should also compensate for i efficiencies. Some locals might have simply missed the chance to jump in the train of the uni while they could have done a bright career in other (foreign) universities, those that do not score top 10 but are still in demand by the labor market here.

Somehow, that doesn't look fair to me, even if it doesn't affect me personally.
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Old 14.09.2012, 11:29
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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While my perception of salary levels is very different (most of us do have a higher salary than the local plumber / bank employee / etc), I agree in that narrowing the entry chances to ETH improves the level of the graduates, as only the very best will get in. I wonder if in this case quality pays off quantity, when quality has to come from outside and quantity remains in at lower pay. While technically this rule favours the ones that worked more, be it here or in their countries, I can not help smelling a taint of unfairness, as societal rules should also compensate for i efficiencies. Some locals might have simply missed the chance to jump in the train of the uni while they could have done a bright career in other (foreign) universities, those that do not score top 10 but are still in demand by the labor market here.

Somehow, that doesn't look fair to me, even if it doesn't affect me personally.
Hoooo... you haven't seen how much charge my local plumber....

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Old 14.09.2012, 11:57
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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This is one of the contradictions in Switzerland that I do not fully understand. If, as Prosperity argues, the country would choose 'the Swiss' before the 'others', it seems estrange that the educational system makes it so hard for the local kids to make it to the university, and simultaneously the country fosters international companies to settle here through low taxation, being the result that the high pay jobs land in the 'foreigner' hands that Prosperity despises as there is not enough qualified workforce. A review of the educational system by allowing more kids to the uni would solve many problems, from reducing costs to companies via increased local contracting ( and less HR competition) to a fair distribution of well paid work places to less social fracture. Creating a bubble of rich foreigners among local families with modest income is not positive, neither for locals -it is simply unfair, nor for foreigners that see an anti-foreign sentiment grow fostered by the salary comparative disadvantage of many Swiss families.
I am not sure that I agree that there aren't enough people in university. France has one of the highest university enrolment rates in the world, and also heavy unemployment among university graduates. There is also a massive gradient between the graduates of top universities (and the Grandes Ecoles) who are extremely sought after, and the rest of the universities, who nobody cares about. Putting quality before quantity is thus not such a bad thing, and increasing enrolment rates for the sake of it can easily backfire.

It may be true that many top jobs in Switzerland are taken by foreigners, but this may also be due to many companies being foreign and just moving here for tax (and related) reasons and taking their executives with thjem from their home country. In typical Swiss companies, there aren't that many foreigners in leading positions, and there are also many Swiss managers leading companies in other countries. The job market is fluid and people move around all the time. That's why many of us are here in the first place. So I see no evidence of there being a serious shortage of skilled people in Switzerland. Maybe in certain sectors there is a shortage, but what country can claim there isn't? What modern country doesn't employ any foreign people in leading positions.
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Old 14.09.2012, 11:59
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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Hoooo... you haven't seen how much charge my local plumber....

Agree....compared to our countries of origin standard .

Not yours, but I have seen how much my local plumber charges, though. And I have some good references on expats salaries too. I would still choose the graduate way, wouldn't you?
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Old 14.09.2012, 12:02
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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As almost every property is owned and rented out by Swiss, the blame is obvious. Greedy Swiss landlords and Swiss property companies. Blaming foreigners is irrational.
Greedy landlords can only get away with irrational rents if people are willing to accept them. And it does seem that despite incessantly complaining about high prices, when push comes to shove, many foreigners are prepared to chip in a bit more than the locals, and are hence escalating rents.
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Old 14.09.2012, 12:32
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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Greedy landlords can only get away with irrational rents if people are willing to accept them. And it does seem that despite incessantly complaining about high prices, when push comes to shove, many foreigners are prepared to chip in a bit more than the locals, and are hence escalating rents.


That's how I see the situation how the rent market...
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Old 14.09.2012, 13:48
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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Agree....compared to our countries of origin standard .

Not yours, but I have seen how much my local plumber charges, though. And I have some good references on expats salaries too. I would still choose the graduate way, wouldn't you?
In the UK, definitely. It is a very portable qualification. Here I would prefer it too, all things being equal. However, starting/owning a small electrical contractor business, working up to 4 or 5 employees over 6 years, could be far more lucrative. I imagine it could bring in a reliable 150 to 180k, and be worth quite a bit to sell on.
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Old 14.09.2012, 16:15
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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I have a little sympathy for this, there could be a few more Swiss kids in Uni, but not much more. First off, I would say the rich foreigners are in the minority, many pinched "as rich" to the benefit of Switzerland. So I don't see them being rich at the expense of locals. If you look at many local kids who don't go to Uni, they actually end up better off financially than us graduates who come here to settle and work. Graduates who arrive here are the success stories of their respective countries, don't forget. A Swiss who becomes a skilled trades person, an Architect without any formal training, and electrician who starts a small business employing a couple of graduates from Eastern Europe as assistant labourers, they all do pretty well, have a good life, lack the stress of an office bound job, and earn more than most PhD's and graduates ever will, a relatively high wage consistently for 40 years, not simply X years good contracting followed by gradual decline.

If you look at ETH, according to US surveys, in the top 5 non US Unis globally. This is in part because of the high standard of intake. Newham Poly could never get there. Stuffing in a load of unsuitable, uninterested locals lowers standards, stuffs the economy, but greatly benefits politicians.
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You should not forget that the term university does not have the same meaning all over the world. In Switzerland "Fachhochschulen" (university of applied science) and "Höhere Fachschulen" (maybe: institute of higher learning) are not counted as universities. All of these would be counted as universities in other countries. If you include the above mentioned institutions then the "university" attendance rate of Switzerland suddenly is above 40%.

In my opinion the Swiss education system is much better than the system of other countries where billions are spend in order to make people acquire skills they will never need or are not even really needed by society.
Absolutely guys! You hit it on the nose. The Swiss education system is not set up like, let's say US, where universities are "selling degrees to the highest bidder." US is rife with "college graduates" without jobs. And ANYONE can get into a university in America. The Swiss are more rational. Everyone does not need to go to university. In addition, there is nothing wrong with being a plumber, carpenter, bus driver...etc. Where in societies like US "you are a nobody if you drive a bus. Everyone must be a top level executive." But they have no jobs there. Society must continue to function and people are needed in those jobs.

I love that in Switzerland if you are a waitress no one looks down on you. You are trying to make a decent living, which is what counts. And besides, the average salary in Switzerland astounds people in other countries. Many times people come over to Switzerland and instead of "truly" understanding how the system works they criticize it because it is not like where they come from. But the Swiss system works and other countries come over to Switzerland frequently to learn about it. As a matter of fact just recently before Obama implemented his health care system he checked the Swiss model. If anything, the Swiss are intelligent, and they look far ahead. They are not a gratuitous society.

Here and here are two other articles about the ingenuity of the Swiss. In order to "understand" Switzerland and how it functions takes much deeper thought than "its going down the drain" where is the proof?
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Old 14.09.2012, 16:21
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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As almost every property is owned and rented out by Swiss, the blame is obvious. Greedy Swiss landlords and Swiss property companies. Blaming foreigners is irrational.
Especially, since a steady demand can easily be predicted...but Switzerland is terrible at forecasting. The main forecasting indicator is, "we've been doing it like this for the past 50 years, so why change things up now". I know of a Swiss company, which in 1 year had to liquidate almost 14mio CHF worth (purchasing price not selling price) of goods, because they weren't able to sell said products anymore...and most of it was attributed to bad planning.
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Old 14.09.2012, 16:27
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Especially, since a steady demand can easily be predicted...but Switzerland is terrible at forecasting. The main forecasting indicator is, "we've been doing it like this for the past 50 years, so why change things up now". I know of a Swiss company, which in 1 year had to liquidate almost 14mio CHF worth (purchasing price not selling price) of goods, because they weren't able to sell said products anymore...and most of it was attributed to bad planning.
Uhm...that is COMPLETELY untrue and if it ain't broke why fix it? So what, a Swiss company had to liquidate you think that doesn't happen? Geez...
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Old 14.09.2012, 16:32
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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In order to "understand" Switzerland and how it functions takes much deeper thought than "its going down the drain" where is the proof?
It also depends on what is meant by "going down the drain".

What may be a better alignment of education to the needs of the job market to one man, may be a dumbing down and selling out to the lowest common denominator to another.

Sometimes industry complains that academia is too much ivory tower and not enough applied knowledge. What they sometimes mean is "don't teach students to think but teach them to buy our products".
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Old 14.09.2012, 16:35
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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Here[/URL] and here are two other articles about the ingenuity of the Swiss. In order to "understand" Switzerland and how it functions takes much deeper thought than "its going down the drain" where is the proof?
Hello again,

I don't think the country is going down the drain. But it's going to be a bit of a rough ride and the current figures support this: the Swiss economy shrank 0.1 per cent in the second quarter. Manufacturing output dropped again in August and exports fell in July. Just look at the Swissmem forecast for orders for more proof.

The big companies like Nestle, Novartis and Glencore are doing well and this is a plus. But Switzerland will have to get used to the fact that its big earner -- banking -- will never be the same again thanks to the end of bank secrecy, and that multi-nationals could be gone tomorrow if it suited them. Is Trafigura's move to Singapore an anomaly or part of a trend? Dunno.
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Old 14.09.2012, 16:53
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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It also depends on what is meant by "going down the drain".

What may be a better alignment of education to the needs of the job market to one man, may be a dumbing down and selling out to the lowest common denominator to another.

Sometimes industry complains that academia is too much ivory tower and not enough applied knowledge. What they sometimes mean is "don't teach students to think but teach them to buy our products".
I agree...but the Swiss are pretty well balanced. Where else can you go and purchase a service and have 30 days, or more, to pay? I certainly "think" before I purchase a product. Switzerland has countries around the world buying their products, its not just those in Switzerland who purchase from the Swiss. Switzerland is the No.1 competitive country in the world and it did not become that way by keeping the goods in Switzerland. In fact it is the "thinking" of the Swiss that got them where they are today...LOL

Last edited by ProsperityJoy; 14.09.2012 at 17:38.
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Old 14.09.2012, 16:57
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Hello again,

I don't think the country is going down the drain. But it's going to be a bit of a rough ride and the current figures support this: the Swiss economy shrank 0.1 per cent in the second quarter. Manufacturing output dropped again in August and exports fell in July. Just look at the Swissmem forecast for orders for more proof.

The big companies like Nestle, Novartis and Glencore are doing well and this is a plus. But Switzerland will have to get used to the fact that its big earner -- banking -- will never be the same again thanks to the end of bank secrecy, and that multi-nationals could be gone tomorrow if it suited them. Is Trafigura's move to Singapore an anomaly or part of a trend? Dunno.
The Swiss are up on this...they are starting to invest more in Asia. As far as banking goes, maybe it is time for it to change? One thing is for sure...if it is time, the Swiss won't try to hold on to it. They may seem staid, but when its time to jump, they jump very high. They know when to drop a sinking ship. They are innovative so they will put something in its place...for sure.
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Old 14.09.2012, 17:32
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

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Hello again,
Is Trafigura's move to Singapore an anomaly or part of a trend? Dunno.
I had missed that. I think that in Europe Trafigura are still targets for criticism over their waste disposal issues a few years ago, and because of that they are never going to be favorites with the Green Bank Bashing lobby in Brusseles. With Asia expanding, and Singapore doing well, it sounds like a good plan for that particular company, so I would count that as a one off, not the start of a trend.
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Old 14.09.2012, 18:55
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Re: anyone interested in a discussion about Switzerland's economic prospects?

My opinion,

Its all relative. Switzerland probably won't be in as bad a position as the US or the Euro zone.

The USA and Euro zone (PIIGS) have taken on so much debt over the last few years and now at a time with shrinking economies which would normally require stimulus they just can't afford to keep borrowing.

The bank thing is a blip which i think the Swiss can still get over. Sure the US govt has gone after the banks big time but thats not the whole world.

I would be more worried about the threat of changes of tax laws from other countries and although Brussels may have grumbled about the Swiss tax breaks any real changes have not been touted so would be a long way off. These would also come most likely from countries not the EU so even if they started they would be phased.

Changes by other countries laws that stop Multinationals (especially) and/ or individual from taking advantage of low Swiss tax rates is the biggest risk in my opinion but its a long way off. If the multinationals move out/ tax laws change, then Switzerland could lose both the corporate taxes, and possibly the jobs, personal taxes from those employees, and trickle down effect to the rest of the economy. The only changes Ive heard of are France talking about income tax for citizens similar to the US system.

I see the exchange rate as a problem for the export industry especially but I think also a lot of multinationals are more aware now of how expensive keeping employees in Switzerland is and I see more restructuring occurring where the companies keep the tax breaks in Switzerland but opt for a smaller amount of employees.

But as some companies move employees out the hope would be other large organizations move to Switzerland for tax breaks.

How long can the Swiss peg the exchange rate? Really they are just buying time hoping for a resolution in the Euro zone.

There are certainly risks around for the Swiss economy. Overall I think it will continue in a better position than most but maybe not as strong as the last 5 years.
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