Wisdom of the Swiss

It is sadly ironic that some of the world’s most richly endowed nations are deeply in debt. Meanwhile little Switzerland, not famous for oil wells, diamond mines, or vast sweeping acres of farm land, “is a peaceful, prosperous, and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world.” (1)

Part of the reason for Switzerland’s comparatively comfortable financial position is wise money management for which the Swiss are internationally renowned.

An equally important reason showed up recently in an Associated Press story by John Heilprin. Labor unions in Switzerland lobbied for a law guaranteeing at least six weeks annual vacation so they could be like Italy, Russia, Germany and other nations. Government and business leaders warned that the vacation extension would raise labor costs and put the economy at risk.

The public looked at the alternatives, did the math, and rejected the proposal by a two thirds majority. Hans-Ulrich Bigler, head of a business association said the vote “clearly shows that the population continues to focus on individual freedom and responsibility of citizens.” (2)

Freedom may be the most beloved word in any language. Responsibility is her drudge sister in the minds of many people. But they are a package. You can’t dance with freedom without ultimately paying the piper, responsibility.

How can we help the debt ridden peoples of the world and their leaders understand this? Perhaps a home study tutoring program from the Swiss to citizens and government leaders of the poorly managed nations would help. The financially strapped and economically ignorant foreigners could learn from the Swiss how fiscal responsibility brings prosperity and freedom.

I suggest the first country to enroll ASAP should be the United States of America.

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  2. (Deseret News, March 12, 2012, p. A10)