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Old 04.12.2017, 11:53
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The Future of Switzerland

What are the important trends relevant to your life here in Switzerland? How do you envisage the future of this beautiful country?

It would be interesting to learn how you see the future trends in business, science, society - whatever - as an outsider here. We have a wealth of minds on this Forum and the developments we encounter in our work lives will have an influence on all our futures. The rate of technological development is mind boggling for many. I'm still getting to grips with crypto-currencies.

It would be good to hear what's going on and promote a discussion on what we would like to see and what we want for our future.

Eg, the role of artificial intelligence; an aging population; the digital economy: you name it.

We could have individual threads but I feel a general discussion thread would be more stimulating and accessible.

Please remember to 'Explain Like I'm Five' if you use technical speak.
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Old 04.12.2017, 15:48
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

I am convinced that Switzerland will at some point do a "Under the Dome" forcefield and vanish from Europe or they will launch Switzerland into space leaving a CHian shaped lake in the middle of Europe. Or when the € crashes the Swiss will buy Austria on the cheap, maybe get a good deal on a second hand Tyrol and become the new European overlords.
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Old 04.12.2017, 15:51
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

It will become a theme park for rich Russians, Chinese and Indians.
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Old 04.12.2017, 15:51
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

I think the Dome already exists. I'm down with territorial expansion political harmony with, say, Canton Marittimo, so why not add in the Tyrol if we can?
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Old 04.12.2017, 16:36
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

I can totally see the Swiss embracing autonomous AI agents for most bureaucratic processes. I think this desire to perfect "the system" is in their genes.

As for cryptocurrencies and blockchains, I think CH would do well to let it run unencumbered (at least good for me). Other countries are recognizing the threat to its currencies, and have vowed to clamp down on it. I think one of the secrets to CH success is to not do what other countries do.
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Old 04.12.2017, 16:41
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

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why not add in the Tyrol if we can?
And Padania.

That would make Italian the #1 language!

To
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Old 04.12.2017, 16:49
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

Although many on this forum like to paint a doom future or that things are getting worse, the reality is that CH is doing very good. Very well managed state finances, very low unemployment, and competitive exports.

Some people tend to focus only on their immediate situation or on specific falling industries instead of seeing the big picture. For example:

"People are losing their jobs in CH. For example, ABB is slashing engineering jobs and moving manufacturing abroad".

FACT: the number of jobs in CH are not diminishing, on the contrary. There is indeed some sectors that are suffering but as a whole the Swiss economy is a bit better than it was before the 2009 crisis.

"Health care insurance premiums are increasing like crazy and soon people won't be able to afford it".

FACT: Indeed, swiss health care premiums have been increasing year after year, but health care costs are still low PROPORTIONALLY to the salary, if compared to EU countries. Whether it is Italy or the UK, someone earning an average wage will pay 50% of it in taxes, whereas in CH it will be less than half of it.
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Old 04.12.2017, 18:17
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

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I can totally see the Swiss embracing autonomous AI agents for most bureaucratic processes. I think this desire to perfect "the system" is in their genes.

As for cryptocurrencies and blockchains, I think CH would do well to let it run unencumbered (at least good for me). Other countries are recognizing the threat to its currencies, and have vowed to clamp down on it. I think one of the secrets to CH success is to not do what other countries do.
We are the Swiss. You will be assimilated. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.
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Old 04.12.2017, 18:23
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

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We are the Swiss. You will be assimilated. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.
It would be interesting to speculate how technological developments impact personal privacy here in Switzerland. There are some semblance of personal data protection in the EU and US. I'm not sure how well it is codified in Switzerland Interested to know how one's data - your DNA for example, is protected. How much of that data belongs to you and how much belongs to the public sphere.

I've heard of a number of cases of unwarranted searches on the road, and t seems there are things that are permissible here that is not practiced elsewhere. This may have huge impact on how data technology is used in Switzerland in comparison to other places.
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Old 04.12.2017, 18:32
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

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"Health care insurance premiums are increasing like crazy and soon people won't be able to afford it".

FACT: Indeed, swiss health care premiums have been increasing year after year, but health care costs are still low PROPORTIONALLY to the salary, if compared to EU countries. Whether it is Italy or the UK, someone earning an average wage will pay 50% of it in taxes, whereas in CH it will be less than half of it.
Fact - no-one on average earnings in the UK pays 50% in taxes. Or anything near that. For someone on average earnings the tax bill is roughly (depending on personal circumstances) 25%. My personal tax bill is pretty much the same UK or Switzerland.
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Old 04.12.2017, 18:35
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

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Fact - no-one on average earnings in the UK pays 50% in taxes. Or anything near that. For someone on average earnings the tax bill is roughly (depending on personal circumstances) 25%. My personal tax bill is pretty much the same UK or Switzerland.
UK - with or without VAT, NI and council tax?
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Old 04.12.2017, 23:10
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

UK: VAT at 20%, Council tax adds another 25% to rent. Bonus tax starts at 50%.

NI at 10% of salary, health insurance here hardly a 3% and it's fixed. If I make more the % goes down, it doesn't follow me.

Average UK salary for white collar jobs is above 40%.

I pay 1/4 of the taxes I paid in the UK.
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Old 05.12.2017, 01:05
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

I think big technology companies that deals in data may wish to locate in Switzerland so to avoid the clutches of Uncle Sam and the EU.

Furthermore, Switzerland may eventually need to succumb to Universal Basic Income (UBI)
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Old 05.12.2017, 08:29
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

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I think big technology companies that deals in data may wish to locate in Switzerland so to avoid the clutches of Uncle Sam and the EU.
Uncle Sam has Switzerland by the goolies.

About the future of Switzerland -
I would like to think that they would stop building so many expensive apartment blocks that few can afford to live in, though this is unlikely with debt being cheaper to have than cash.

I hope they keep the mountains, they're pretty.

I would like them to build a huge wind power generator in Lenzburg, which has the dual purpose of providing electricity, and also blows away the winter fog out of the Limmatthal!
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Old 05.12.2017, 08:46
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

I first arrived to CH 15 years ago and immediately thought "wow, the shopping is terrible"... a lot of that has changed, but overall is CH still trailing in a lot of aspects in the services sector by a decade or so. Logically speaking should the country be leading the future as the labour costs are so high, but every prediction of the country being at the forefront of the digitalization, industry 4.0 or whatever consultants call the stuff this week has been wrong in the past. And I think it will continue - there are some effective tools in place that keep international competition like Amazon at bay... so the Swiss will continue to do things "their way" and adapt a decade or so later than the rest of Europe.

What has happened during my 15 years and most likely will happen again in the future is rather ironic: The Swiss insist very hard on being independent. So they did not join the EU, let alone the Euro. As a result are they in many ways less independent as the country is more exposed to the capital markets with the Swiss Franc than a small EU country would be. Whenever there is some crisis somewhere in the world will investors rush to buy CHF - driving the costs of Swiss exports up into the sky. I know this cause I lost my job a decade ago when this happened. These periods come and go and as we have seen is there very little the SNB can really do to counter it... so I predict that the future of Switzerland will even more depend on international politics in a globalized world than in the past. Because I have the strong feeling that Mr Trump will manage to cause some crisis or two before he leaves his office.
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Old 05.12.2017, 08:59
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

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UK:
health insurance here hardly a 3% and it's fixed.

.
.

20% of our income goes on health insurance here. Tax plus health insurance here = same as deductible tax in UK. So no difference %wise.
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Old 05.12.2017, 09:11
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

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UK: VAT at 20%, Council tax adds another 25% to rent. Bonus tax starts at 50%.

NI at 10% of salary, health insurance here hardly a 3% and it's fixed. If I make more the % goes down, it doesn't follow me.

Average UK salary for white collar jobs is above 40%.

I pay 1/4 of the taxes I paid in the UK.
OK, let's look at official OECD numbers. Switzerland tax take 27.7% of GDP. UK 32.5%. UK number includes most health spending, CH number doesn't.

https://data.oecd.org/tax/tax-revenue.htm

Not massively different.
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Old 05.12.2017, 09:59
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

Using the OECD numbers is pretty pointless.


All that shows is that the UK draws more of its GDP from tax - but considering the governments services that you dont pay seperately for in the UK, that you do pay for in Switzerland, this isnt surprising. Beyond that, it tells you nothing about the tax paid holistically by individuals.


In truth, the amount of tax paid by the middle class will be roughly equal to the tax paid elsewhere. You cant compare swiss tax codes to UK tax codes, because they dont purchase the same level of service.


For what its worth, i pay overall slightly less tax here than i would in the UK, but only due to the fact that i draw on few government services. That can change quickly. Overall, i would say that financially i am roughly on equal footing, but the quality of life here is, in my opinion, better here.
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Old 05.12.2017, 10:18
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

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The rate of technological development is mind boggling for many. I'm still getting to grips with crypto-currencies.

Eg, the role of artificial intelligence; an aging population; the digital economy: you name it.


Cryptocurrencies:
I doubt they will penetrate very far. The reason is that they are fast becoming a vehicle for avoiding scrutiny of ones wealth, and this is actively being discouraged by switzerlands allies (EU and US). CH will be forced to keep cryptocurrencies on a tight leash, meaning they wont be The Promised Land theyve been built up to be. They will almost certainly be taxed, above the current level of wealth tax.


AI
it will be employed more, but it wont displace as many jobs from the public sector as you may think - the swiss like their beurocracy. The cost of implementing this AI will translate into higher costs for public services, though. Overall, services will become more efficient, but more expensive.


Aging Population
This is probably the biggest risk to Switzerland, imo. There are simply too many old people, and they are living too long. Reform will be attempted, but will be of limited reach due to the direct democracy model. Thus, future generations will end up paying the price. The conversion rate will go down to less then 3%, meaning those who are saving for their pensions now are paying for the bad management of the current pensions system. If the old people could shuffle off this mortal coil post haste, Switzerland would appreciate it.


Digital Economy
Switzerland has long drawn wealth from the fact that companies based here paid less tax then based elsewhere. But, the advent of the digital economy means that bricks-and-mortar is less and less necassary. companies will find it much easier to up sticks and move to other places where the local authorities are able to offer them more lucrative terms. Switzerland will have more competition, meaning its potential to draw additional wealth from these companies will be hampered. The digital economy will not hurt Switzerland directly, but will make it more difficult for switzerland to continue to be agile.
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Old 05.12.2017, 10:20
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Re: The Future of Switzerland

Due to global warming, there will be a massive investment in white plastic to maintain the pristine white mountain top glacial image.
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