“Patience and hard work do not guarantee wealth”

Switzerland belongs to the richest countries of the world, the density of millionaires per capita is one of the highest on the planet. According specializing in real estate consulting company Knight Frank, about 7 thousand residing in the Confederation entities have a status of 30 million dollars. According to some Swiss experts, sociologists, this is not a reason for excessive pride.

As claimed by the satire of I. Ilf and E. Petrov, “all major modern state amassed the most dishonest way.” But is it really? Also, what is “state”? What is a “large state”? And what is the “honest way”? Among academic economists and sociologists unity on all these issues and, as you can see, never will be.

It’s one thing to “climb” on the “sawing” of the state budget or privatization carried out in very questionable conditions, and quite another thing to invent something truly remarkable and earn money for it. “I don’t see anything wrong with what someone is exactly the second method acquired the status and qualitatively improved their financial situation,” — emphasizes, for example, Georg von Schnurbein (Georg von SchnurbeinВнешняя link), Professor, Department of management, marketing and foreign economic activity of the University of Basel.

“The Swiss experience is what we refer to when we need to deal with the rigid and incorrect view that the large popular vote always gives the wrong result.”

“Of course, not excluded that other business projects and concepts have been implemented hard and even to some extent dubious methods using, for example, the notorious “gray areas of the law,” but I strongly oppose the haircut one size fits all, and claims that any wealth must necessarily be associated with crime. Similarly, not every person caught in a difficult financial situation, be sure to have made some mistake. We all know how varied may be the causes leading to poverty”.

Georg von Schnurbein does not deny the fact that Switzerland is very beneficial to the fact of its attractiveness for the rich of this world. But what is this benefit? It is also no secret that many moved to the Confederation of rich people just burned through my life, but also give something to society in return for financing different kinds of non-governmental and non-profit organizations charitable, environmental and philanthropic nature.

And finally, ask yourself why the rich prefer to go to Switzerland and not in some other country? And here his role is played by factors originally and remain the basis of the Swiss economic success. What are these factors? Due to what is blooming. By conquest, robbery, or speculation? No, due to the stable political system, attractive tax environment, convenient location in the heart of Europe, quality of infrastructure, skilled personnel, and finally, at the expense of professionalism, which is characterized Switzerland as the world financial center.

But many communities and cantons of the country aiming to try to attract the rich and the Swiss and foreigners? Georg von Schnurbein acknowledges that tax competition of the cantons is the strategy with its pros and cons. “When the public budget begins to depend on a pair of three individuals — there is sometimes not a calculated risk. To put eggs will need all the same in different baskets. Because once one of these “donors” can get up and leave. And what will happen to the tax revenues?”

According to this expert, in recent years, total global wealth has grown very significantly. “Many managed to accumulate in his accounts of huge funds, which is largely caused by the processes of economic and financial globalization. Someone got lucky once or someone earned some starting capital, and sometimes he will not have to do anything to multiply their wealth”. Would not, in Switzerland inequality in income distribution to social tension? Georg von Schnurbein believes that the grounds and conditions for any problems in Switzerland, there is, given the fact that there is “a sufficiently high and universal level of life and income level as one of the most solid in the world.”

Professor Uli Mader (Ueli Mäder) his entire professional life engaged in the distribution of social wealth, but also social and political causes of poverty. Unlike Georg von Corbina W. Mader convinced that all major modern state as time amassed the most “dishonest way”.

swissinfo.ch: Professor Mader, according to reports in Switzerland is concentrated a huge amount of wealth. What makes this country so attractive to millionaires.

Uli Mader: First of all, is called political stability and a comfortable tax situation in the first place, with regard to taxation of large fortunes and inheritances. These are factors that attract wealthy individuals from abroad into Switzerland. Do not forget the presence of well-developed financial industry. In Switzerland you can get quality advice, for example, with regard to profitable investments. In addition, in some industries there are paid very good salaries.

— Where the General does all this wealth?

— Many are just born into the “right” families, having since childhood are quite different starting conditions. Others receive as a gift or inherit it. Others correctly build their matrimonial policy. In Switzerland in this regard, you can immediately name the current Minister of economy Johann Schneider-Ammann: his double surname just indicates the way in which he went and the result of the best marriage found a pretty serious condition. The same applies to children of Christoph Blocher.

In the Confederation in General, according to statistics, 10% of the heirs are in possession of 75% of the total of the inherited condition. In General we can say that inheritance is the main method of acquisition or enhancement of wealth. Interesting in this connection let me give You the figures: in recent years, the 300 richest in Switzerland were able to increase their General condition from 100 to 600 billion francs, and that due to inheritance.

A millionaire can also be taking a job in the post. In many sectors of the Swiss economy from top managers and middle managers is very good income. Of course, innovation, patience, diligence and hard work also play a role, but as a rule, these factors are very often extremely overpriced. Many of the rich acquired their fortunes not at the expense of inventiveness, and just, for example, as a result of successful speculation in real estate or land.

— If you look at the social structure of the class of millionaires, where did they all come from: come from abroad or is it most of them earned their money in Switzerland?

— If you take the multi-millionaires, about half of these people came into the Confederacy from abroad, attracted by the so-called system of “parashorea”, not income, tax. In the past played a great role in Swiss banking secrecy, but now this factor practically does not play already any role.

But the same can not be to the virtues of diligence, frugality, economy, innovation does not play any role in acquiring and multiplying wealth?

— Of course, many of those we belong to the category of the rich and super-rich, not sitting idly by waiting for the sea weather. On the other hand, it should be noted that in recent years has dramatically increased the share of States earned as a result of currency and financial transactions, whereas a traditional business in the “real economy” gradually fades into the background.

— Let us recall the so-called “American dream”: the person has started a busboy, but then he escaped and became a millionaire. So is it possible to become rich through honest means? Or without a crime here in any way?

— None of the billionaires have not earned their billions honestly. The welfare of this level is almost always earned at the expense of others. Many of them have a very high opinion, they are convinced that only made up exclusively by yourself. But this is a very deceptive impression. In Basel I am often faced with one such entrepreneur, who half-jokingly, half-seriously, reproached me that I say, always act as a speaker “not partners, but freeloaders”. At the same time he his company inherited was not even aware that his wealth is not to his credit!

— Where, then, took in people sayings that they say, “we need to strike while the iron is hot” and that “every man the architect of his happiness”?

— But in Switzerland, too, can often be found the so-called “working poor”, i.e. people who are working full time, still barely struggling to live on bread and water. Often this is due to the fact that they work in industries where overall very low wages. Patience and hard work even in Switzerland not always guarantee the welfare.

— Rich people are always in Switzerland are accepted with open arms. Many cantons and communities have taken very serious effort to poach me especially wealthy persons to induce them to settle it from them, based on what their wealth can do many useful and good for the population as a whole. What is the role of the wealthy residents of regions and communities? They are a curse or, on the contrary, each of them is a big success?

Can’t say that we really receive for their account any benefit. Of course, if in a small village settles billionaire, from tax and budget point of view, this person can be a modest region serious “catch.” On the other hand, this community basically sits on the “financial needle”. In addition, tax competition between cantons and communes leads, on the one hand, to the reduction of budget revenues, and on the other, to a steady growth in the value of land and real estate objects.

Switzerland is a democratic country which gives great importance to social solidarity and labour world, and therefore she needs, I am convinced, a more equitable distribution of social welfare. I do not want to engage in baseless defamation of rich people in General, but, on the other hand, we do not have with tears in their eyes to thank each of those who agreed to move to our country for permanent residence.

Alas, in our national genetic code was originally written kind, not afraid of the words, cringing, which negatively affects social solidarity: it’s a shame because to work hard from sunrise to sunset and barely make ends meet, while seeing how others do not deny yourself of literally anything, and just because they were lucky to be born into “the right family”.

— But isn’t originated in Switzerland in the period after the Second world war sustained “middle class”, which achieved a certain prosperity thanks to such virtues as diligence, perseverance, frugality, rationality, reasonableness?

— In fact, in the 1950-1970 years of the financial position of wide sections of the Swiss society has improved dramatically. In 1972, the country was dominated by generally full employment, the number of unemployed did not exceed 106. And that’s when the Confederation noticeable popularity of the idea of convergence of liberal ideology with the ideals of social justice. Labor and capital were supposed to complement each other. Lately, however, I see a radical change of all social philosophy: money has become a much more important factor than labour. Moreover, many prefer to see in social inequality is not the problem, but a factor leading to the alleged beneficial to accelerate the pace of social dynamics.

And after all, isn’t that is the basis of Swiss economic success work and innovative spirit of its citizens, everyone who lives in this country?

— This thesis, and in fact can often be found in history books, on the other hand, Switzerland, a country with virtually no fossil resources of its own, would never have been able to spend at the time, rapid industrialization, if it is possible to buy abroad all necessary raw materials at very favorable rates, almost nothing. Switzerland is always very skillfully maneuvered between the policies of economic protectionism and policies that foster support of free trade regimes with the best partners. But the advanced technology of Switzerland has always preferred not to export, but to develop itself.

And now let’s look at what has happened in recent years: the logic of the functioning of international economic relations has undergone significant changes that benefit the countries that export finished products, goods and services, and which have a very negative impact on countries with a predominantly resource-based economy, exporting raw minerals. This mechanism in many ways and allows Switzerland to be a country rich, wealthy. From my point of view, this mechanism is unfair, but despite this, he has full support from politicians and authorities. Policy in Switzerland increasingly becoming a squire “captains of economy”.

— So maybe these countries just should go on the Swiss footsteps and stop living at the expense of natural resource rents?

Organizations that determine the parameters of world trade, tried to do just that, forcing such countries to carry out the necessary structural reforms to create a favourable investment climate, reduce the degree of state intervention in the economy, to open national markets to foreign competition. In the end Ghana, for example, doubling the volume of its export revenues is much less than in the 1980s, years before the all of the above reforms.


But is Switzerland really all that bad?

— Well, why not, some positivity still exists, and it consists in the fact that all what I to You have told, it becomes progressively obvious to many very rich people living in Switzerland. They criticize everything I listed problems and shortcomings, seeing them as a serious threat to our future, encouraging themselves and others to be more modest.