Posts Tagged ‘Switzerland’

Outdoor cat ladders in Switzerland

May 25, 2019

The Swiss have a nice custom—ladders to allow cats to enter and exit from upper story apartments and rooms.  These photos are from a book, Swiss Cat Ladders, by Brigitte Schuster, focusing on outdoor cat stairways in the city of Berne.  To look at more photos, click on the links.


Cat ladders: a creative solution for felines in flats in The Guardian.

Quirky Photos Showcase the Ingenuity of Cat Ladders in Switzerland on My Modern Met.

Switzerland, the other gun culture

October 29, 2015

Swiss citizens, as members of a well-regulated militia, have the right to keep and bear arms.

And, unlike us Americans, they manage not to kill each other in large numbers.

The passing scene: Links 11/25/13

November 25, 2013

Switzerland votes against a cap on executive pay by The Guardian.

Voters in Switzerland voted, by a 2 to 1 ratio, to reject a proposed law that would have limited executive pay in a corporation to 12 times that of the lowest-paid employee.

Foxconn invests $40M in Pennsylvania to tap research, talent by Michael Kan for Computerworld.

China-based Foxconn, the world’s largest manufacturing employer, plans operations in the United States.   Presumably, there won’t be nets around the buildings to catch suicidal employees.

Toxic Lakes From Tar-Sands Projects Planned for Alberta by Jeremy Van Loon for Bloomberg News.

Some day the bitumen in Alberta will be exhausted, but the toxic wastes in artificial lakes will be there indefinitely.


Swiss to vote on basic income for every adult

October 14, 2013

Switzerland will hold a national referendum on giving every Swiss adult a guaranteed income of 2,500 Swiss francs a month—equal to about $2,800, or $33,600 a year.  I don’t know whether this would be feasible, but it would be an interesting experiment.  There are two arguments in favor of a guaranteed income—one philosophical, one practical.

concentrationofwealthThe philosophical argument is that basis of our material prosperity is not our own individual efforts, but the achievements of those who came before us.  Thanks to the inventors of the printing press, the steam engine, the electrical generator and the digital computer, I enjoy a kind of life that was available only to kings and emperors in centuries past.

But I did not create these things.  So there is no reason why I have more of a right to the fruits of these achievements than anybody else.  All I have by right is the incremental value added by my own efforts.

The practical argument is that the United States and other wealthy countries already have made the decision that nobody is going to be left to starve.  But we have a patchwork welfare system that is costly, inefficient and full of perverse incentives that discourage people from supporting themselves.  The free-market economist Milton Friedman advocated a guaranteed income as a lesser evil than the current welfare system, because it would mean less bureaucracy and less distortion of the free market.

The Swiss also will vote on a referendum to limit corporate executive pay to no more than 12 times the pay of the lowest-paid employee of the firm.  Based on my (possibly very ignorant) idea of what the Swiss are like, I don’t expect either referendum to pass.

From my standpoint, that would be a pity.  I am curious as to how these ideas would work out in practice.   Would the Swiss become a more humane society, or a nation of lazy do-nothings?   Or would the referenda after all not make much difference?