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Swiss news

November vote on a 1:12 pay initiative. More interesting to me is the sidebar on the existing state of income disparity... I don't have anything to compare it to, but it feels rather low. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_news/Voters_to_decide_on_tougher_salary_gap_limits.html?cid=37097114

Relatedly, on the Wikipedia income equality page, it seems that Switzerland's pre-tax/transfer Gini is among the lowest around, tied with the Nordics. The Nordics overtake it after transfers, to 0.25, vs. 0.3 for Switzerland and 0.45 (and climbing) for the US.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality#Gini_coefficient.2C_before_taxes_and_transfers

And of course at some point they'll be voting on a basic income scheme. An absurdly generous and unnecessary one to my mind: 30,000 francs a year vs. a GDP/capita of 70,000 francs. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_news/Old_utopian_ideal_revived_on_Swiss_streets.html?cid=36104780

Norway's prisons became famous a few years ago, but Switzerland apparently has very liberal incarceration policies as well. You *can* get a life sentence, but you also get a review after 15 years. Only 11.5% of convicts get sent to prison, vs. fines or suspended sentences. "the Swiss incarceration rate is only 80 convicted offenders per 100,000
inhabitants. By comparison, the UK's rate is 155, the Netherlands' 100,
France's 96, Germany's 90, and the U.S.'s 760"

Small increase in taxes on the rich planned, to pad out unemployment funds. Unemployment is shockingly high at 3% -- allegedly they're more used to 1%. http://www.west-info.eu/switzerland-to-tax-the-rich-to-subsidise-unemployment/
3.2% youth unemployment, vs. 50% in Spain and Greece, 22% in the eurozone and EU. Dual track education, without a big prestige difference between practical apprenticeship and secondary education. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/What_future_for_the_younger_generation.html?cid=32584024
This would be why I call the basic income unnecessary: try for full employment first, and they seem good at that already.

No official minimum wage, though collective bargaining agreements have a similar effect. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_news/Weighing_up_the_consequences_of_a_minimum_wage.html?cid=35467568


Swiss human capital investments are pretty high. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/07/switzerland_0_n_4038031.html
Though one thing in that is misleading: government health care spending may be low, but overall they have the second more expensive system in the world, after the US. It's basically Obamacare with non-profit insurers and probably no per-state exchanges. So high spending, via mandatory premiums, largely affordable through egalitarian wages I guess.

Swiss prostitution history http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+sex+trade+in+Switzerland%3A+prostitution+has+been+documented+since...-a0171887336
and Zurich's "drive-in" prostitution http://www.modernghana.com/news/485077/1/controlling-prostitution-can-ghana-learn-from-swit.html
Legal age was raised from 16 to 18 last month, which tells us that prostitution has a legal age, and also that it was 16... http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/09/10/switzerland-ups-legal-prostitution-age-from-16-to-18/

Universal male conscription got put to a vote, and passed http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/world/europe/swiss-vote-to-keep-mandatory-army-service.html

Possession of 10 grams of marijuana decrminalized. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/03/switzerland-decriminalizes-marijuana_n_4037400.html

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Damien Sullivan
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