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macrohistory & world report

Swiss Confederation

Map of Switzerland

Switzerland (capital Bern) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of October 2014: " Switzerland 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. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world's most competitive economies. The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to enhance their international competitiveness, but some trade protectionism remains, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The fate of the Swiss economy is tightly linked to that of its neighbors in the euro zone, which purchases half of all Swiss exports."

Wikipedia: Swiss citizens are required to buy universal health insurance from private insurance companies, which in turn are required to accept every applicant.

Switzerland rates highest in European in the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom. The Swiss franc remains one of the world's strongest currencies with the lowest inflation rate.

Economic growth rate:
2013: 2.0%
2012: 2.1%

Unemployment rate
2013: 3.2%
2012: 3.0%
2011: 3.1%
2010: 3.9%
2009: 3.7%
2007: 2.8%

Import/export ratio
2011: 102.9%, slightly favorable balance

Military expeditures for 2005: 1% of GDP

People

Ethnicity
German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, other 7%.

Religion
Catholic 46,1%, Protestant 40%, no religion 8.9%, other 5%.

Work force in agriculture
2005: 3.9%

Geography

East of France. North of Italy. Mountainous. Landlocked. Equivalent to 203 by 203 kilometers or roughly 127 by 127 miles. Capital: Bern

Government

A federal republic. Not a member of the European Union.

Wikipedia: "Swiss citizens are subject to three legal jurisdictions: the commune, canton and federal levels. The 1848 federal constitution defines a system of direct democracy (sometimes called half-direct or representative direct democracy since it is aided by the more commonplace institutions of a parliamentary democracy). The instruments of Swiss direct democracy at the federal level, known as civic rights (Volksrechte, droits civiques), include the right to submit a constitutional initiative and a referendum, both of which may overturn parliamentary decisions."

Freedom of the Press

Switzerland has been listed in the top ten.

Recent History

According to an October 8, 2007 article by Molly Moore in today's Washington Post, Switzerland is second in Europe in the percentage of foreign born: one in five. And the hostility towards foreigners, especially Muslims, has become intense.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.