A shared view of progress

Re­spon­dents op­pose un­lim­ited eco­nomic devel­op­ment, but when it comes to in­vest­ing in Switzer­land’s pri­mary nat­u­ral re­source, in­tel­lec­tual cap­i­tal, they feel it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to have too much progress.

Bulletin - - Contents -

At the time of Al­fred Escher (1819 – 1882), the projects he pro­posed must have seemed pos­i­tively utopian. A tun­nel through the Got­thard mas­sif? A com­mer­cial bank? A tech­ni­cal uni­ver­sity? But these things came to pass, and they cat­a­pulted Switzer­land – which was then a less ad­vanced na­tion – into mod­ern age. It be­came a dy­namic coun­try, well equipped to meet fu­ture chal­lenges. With progress came growth and pros­per­ity.

To mark the 200th an­niver­sary of the birth of a true vi­sion­ary, Credit Suisse has launched its new Progress Barom­e­ter. This rep­re­sen­ta­tive sur­vey de­tails the projects and is­sues that the elec­torate most wants to move for­ward – and the ar­eas in which re­spon­dents would pre­fer progress to slow down. Per­cep­tions of progress are of­ten am­biva­lent. Over­all, the at­ti­tudes of the vot­ers are some­what pro­gres­sive (+3.5 in­dex points), while opin­ion lead­ers are dis­tinctly pro­gres­sive (+17.5).

The idea of mov­ing traf­fic un­der­ground in densely pop­u­lated Switzer­land seems just as utopian to­day as Escher’s ideas did over a cen­tury ago – and per­haps for that very rea­son, it elic­its the most fa­vor­able re­sponses in the sur­vey page. With re­spect to the econ­omy, pol­i­tics and so­ci­ety, see chart on op­po­site the sur­vey’s re­sults can be sum­ma­rized as fol­lows:

Peo­ple are in agree­ment about what con­sti­tutes progress, and they agree on where progress should be more rapid. In most cases, how­ever, opin­ion lead­ers are more pro­gres­sive than the elec­torate as a whole.

Progress needs to be in har­mony with Switzer­land’s core val­ues: the “mili­tia” model of civic en­gage­ment, me­dia di­ver­sity, a con­sen­sus-ori­ented po­lit­i­cal sys­tem, value cre­ation at the lo­cal level – Switzer­land’s val­ues rest on a firm foun­da­tion.

Peo­ple want to see progress in the ar­eas that make Switzer­land an ed­u­ca­tion, in­fra­struc­ture and tech­nol­ogy. at­trac­tive lo­ca­tion: The re­spon­dents are most in­ter­ested in progress re­lated to so­cial par­tic­u­larly in­clu­sion and a work-life bal­ance. is­sues,

On the ba­sis of real eco­nomic in­di­ca­tors, the Swiss Eco­nom­ics team at Credit Suisse has cal­cu­lated the de­gree to which Switzer­land is, in fact, pro­gres­sive in the ar­eas that were in­ves­ti­gated 70. They con­clude

see page that Switzer­land cur­rently finds it­self in a very good po­si­tion – in stark con­trast to the first half of the 19th cen­tury. But fur­ther progress is re­quired to main­tain that po­si­tion. On the fol­low­ing pages, Swiss peo­ple ex­plain ex­actly where progress is needed.

Your ed­i­to­rial team

For our Progress Barom­e­ter, re­spon­dents were asked to re­spond to state­ments con­cern­ing trends in the econ­omy, so­ci­ety and pol­i­tics: “In­di­cate whether this trend should be ac­cel­er­ated or slowed down.”

With re­spect to the econ­omy, would it be bet­ter to push for­ward or to slow down? The views of vot­ers in gen­eral (–1.0) dif­fered some­what from those of opin­ion lead­ers (+19.5). Per­haps this is be­cause opin­ion lead­ers are of­ten part of the eco­nomic sys­tem, so they sup­port it and want it to ad­vance. As for vot­ers, they may be grow­ing slightly dis­il­lu­sioned with glob­al­iza­tion and are per­haps es­pe­cially skep­ti­cal about the in­creased num­bers of for­eign work­ers (more about this later).

The Swiss Eco­nom­ics team at Credit Suisse has ex­am­ined the cur­rent state of Switzer­land’s econ­omy. Real eco­nomic in­di­ca­tors re­veal that the struc­ture of the Swiss econ­omy is al­ready very pro­gres­sive (+43.0), and the coun­try com­pares very fa­vor­ably with oth­ers. This may be an­other rea­son why vot­ers see no great need for fur­ther progress.

At the same time, how­ever, the elec­torate is not fun­da­men­tally in fa­vor of slow­ing down the econ­omy. On the con­trary – asked whether “more

tax rev­enues should be de­voted to re­search,” re­spon­dents say yes (+35); sim­i­larly, they agree that “peo­ple need

fur­ther if they want to keep up” (+18). In these two train­ing cases, their re­sponses do not dif­fer sig­nif­i­cantly from those of opin­ion lead­ers (+43 and +35).

Burkhard Varn­holt, Chief In­vest­ment Of­fi­cer Switzer­land at Credit Suisse, is pleased that ed­u­ca­tion is highly val­ued by the Swiss. As he points out, “The in­tel­lec­tual cap­i­tal of the pop­u­la­tion is Switzer­land’s only nat­u­ral re­source” 61.

see page The re­spon­dents also rec­og­nize the role of low

(+4) in at­tract­ing for­eign com­pa­nies cor­po­rate taxes and ap­pre­ci­ate the ben­e­fits of (+3) – but

free trade in both cases opin­ion lead­ers want to move for­ward more rapidly (+22 and +17). In­ter­est­ingly, vot­ers tend to view (+10) as a means of

dig­i­tal­iza­tion boost­ing ef­fi­ciency rather than as a threat to their jobs. They are, at least, not op­posed to the use of

(0) – in­deed, that trend is wel­comed by vot­ers ro­bots in French-speak­ing (+16) and Ital­ian-speak­ing Switzer­land (+12), in con­trast to peo­ple in the coun­try’s Ger­man-speak­ing re­gion (–5). How­ever, they do not want Switzer­land to be­come purely a

(–7). ser­vice so­ci­ety

There is even more skep­ti­cism about com­pe­ti­tion from Whether it con­cerns

for­eign skilled work­ers. for­eign­ers work­ing in Switzer­land (–9) or the

of Swiss jobs abroad (–31), re­spon­dents out­sourc­ing would like to slow down these trends. How­ever, peo­ple in the French- and Ital­ian-speak­ing re­gions take a fa­vor­able view of for­eign skilled work­ers (+6 and +1, re­spec­tively); they also have more con­tact with these work­ers than do their coun­ter­parts in the Ger­man- speak­ing part of the coun­try (how­ever, they are not in fa­vor of out­sourc­ing).

The re­spon­dents are very con­cerned about the devel­op­ment of (–33), as they

cul­ti­vated land see it as the loss of an im­por­tant as­pect of Switzer­land. Opin­ion lead­ers (–12), too, would like to slow down this trend.

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